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Who loves a little backbow?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Wilbyman, Jul 4, 2005.

  1. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    I recently acquired a bass owned by Jacochops (Matt P) and I loved the setup he did on it. The neck relief seemed dead straight and the playability was off the heezy. I showed it to a friend who has done setups for me in the past... his observation: "it actually has a little backbow". OK, fine. It feels great!

    I tried to set up my Smith with extra low relief, and got it where it seemed to be flat. The playability is similarly great. Again, my friend's observation is "a little backbow." I guess I'm blind...I have a hard time seeing it.

    So, will playing with this minute backbow screw prompt some weird fretwear or anything? Does anybody else enjoy a slightly inverted neck relief?
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I think it may appear to have backbow to him, but if it honestly did i think it would have massive playability issues. The neck is most likely just straight. I enjoy my neck straight. I have very little relief on my musicman sterling. I set it so its straight and tehn i do just a little relief, maybe 1/8 turn loosened, so that it only buzzes on frets 1-5 if i dig in a lot. Then for me, its perfect.
  3. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    That sounds about right. I honestly have a hard time seeing the backbow. It would be a somewhat buzzy setup if you were playing with a hard attack, but I play pretty light and don't have any buzzing going on. It probably is straight, per yours and Joshua's comments. I'm starting to realize how getting "your setup" dialed in makes a huge difference in not only playability, but sound and response as well.
  4. There is a LOT of room for playability in that 1/8 - 1/4 turn of the TR around the point that the neck is straight. I was talking with Gard about a setup on a Roscoe 3006 and he said that although Keith likes them flatter than a plate of pee when they leave the shop, Gard's tastes dictate a 1/8 turn off to give it a hint of relief. I'm sure that small amount is measurable but it might not be visible.

    I leave it to the pro's to tell me when they can feel these small changes and what they want me to do to achieve them. Me? Shoot, a 1/4 turn usually doesn't affect my playing one way or the other :rolleyes:
  5. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    When you get down to that "vicinity of flatness" on the truss rod, is there anyway to tell (other than guessing) when you've got it dead flat? It seems like it's visually pretty difficult to spot changes at the point.
  6. jeffhigh


    May 16, 2005
    You really can't tell by just looking at it.(sighting down the neck) You have to either use a straightedge or use the string as a straightedge. you either have clearance at the centre of the neck(relief) or not.
  7. +1

    Put a capo on the first fret and then depress the first fret that contacts the body (15th or so)...now press down the string around halfway between these two points...If she moves at ALL, then there's relief...simple as that
  8. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    The G&L manual specifies ~.018 between the string and fret at the 7th position with 1 and 12 fretted. I tend to like a little less....
  9. when i got my jazz back from madolin bros.(famous guitar shop OF THE PROS here on staten island,lol) after the put my badass on the neck had the slightest relief on the neck. It was sure purrty to play but there was alot of buzz but it was good buzz(oxymoron?) it didnt come threw the amp. I resently had to ajust the neck because of the humidity change and i cant get it like it was and i dont feel like paying $100 for there setups.
  10. If it didn't come through the amp, then the buzz was on the head side of your fingers, not on the pickup side. Your nut slots may be quite deep.

    100 clams for a setup is a bit steep if all you want is a trussrod adjustment. Why not tweak it yourself?
  11. my nut is OK, not great but ok the E get a rattle when open and like most fenders u can lift the A out of its slot when its tuned normally, im going to switch to brass one day(this is the second nut i have and i come to the conslusion that all fender nuts suck)

    anyway back on topic, i did ajust it myself but i cant get it the way it was. Its still lowand plays like butter but its not super low like they had it.

    and if you think $100 is bad my uncle has a circa 70's ric that needs an neck ajustment and intanation done and they quoted $200 bucks but he never plays, it sits in a close but one day when hes not looking it will be mine :D
  12. Wow, 100 and 200 bucks man? Come to Brooklyn any day of the week and I'll give you some tips on doing your own set ups, you'll never need to pay someone to do it for you again!

    Right now as long as you didn't touch the bridge saddles, tightening the truss rod a hair will most likely bring back that "nice" buzzing.
  13. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I still cant believe that people pay that mucch for setups. Do it yourself, learnnnnnnnnn, itll save you time and money.
  14. they actually gave me the setup for free with the instalation of the bridge. My uncle on the other had doesnt know what a wrench is and on rics the the trust rod system is diffrent from the ones i have done and i dont trust myself trying try(thay are known for being notorious for warping), the intonation i didnt try to fix because it would be a waste of time because the neck wasnt done,but they are a pain in the but bucause u have to take the strings off the saddle ajust and tune and if it aint right you got to do it again and again. If it was my bass it would have been done by me but its not going 2 get done for a while because i dont want to ruin my uncles pride an joy and he dont feel like paying that much.Very sad to see such a nice bass be wasted :crying:
  15. Backbow = playability = uneven frets = diamond file = even frets = flat/lite relief
  16. I'm not sure what to make of that. Uneven frets are equal to both playability and diamond file, which are in turn equal to each other? For that matter, I'm surprised to learn that even and uneven frets are equal to each other.
  17. That's a primary reason he's on one of my "lists" :scowl:
  18. Jeff and PB have the answer to that one.
  19. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    You don't want any back bow. Back bow would be where the head stock is bowed away from the strings. This will make the notes in the middle buzz badly... unless you have high action, and you don't want that either! Back bow is often caused by the truss rod being too tight.

    The ideal setup is either a straight neck, or a little relief, which is actually an up bow.

    I prefer a totally straight neck, and very low action, but this requires a perfectly level and dressed frets, and a finger board with no humps.

    Since I build my own basses, this isn't a problem! :)

    BTW, it's hard to tell how straight the neck is just by looking, and if you don't hold the bass the right way, the neck might actually show some bowing it doesn't have.

    If you don't have buzzing in the middle, you don't have a back bow. Your friend is probably mistaken if he sees a back bow.
  20. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    I am a BIG FAN of the backbow as of 2 weeks ago. Tapping and everything in general plays terriffic. so much less effort needed too... causes less fatigue.

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