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Thread: Neck relief

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    Default Neck relief

    I know that most people like their axe to be as flat as it can be with very little relief. I happen to like more relief on the neck bend.

    Is it wrong of me if i like a bit more neck relief than what most people suggest? Would i ruin the fretboard?

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    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: Neck relief

    Relief is variable - tends to follow action.

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    Default Re: Neck relief

    Quote Originally Posted by budubum92 View Post
    I know that most people like their axe to be as flat as it can be with very little relief. I happen to like more relief on the neck bend.

    Is it wrong of me if i like a bit more neck relief than what most people suggest? Would i ruin the fretboard?
    Honestly, relief will dictate your intonation and overall tone along with how it feels.

    I agree on the action part. Because they work in conjunction. I like a neck that’s .9-.10 on the relief (pretty standard) then allow my action to handle the rest.

    More relief will make intonation more challenging


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    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neck relief

    Neck relief is a personal preference. There is no right or wrong. There is no "standard". It will cause no damage to your fretboard. It will have no/little affect on intonation and certainly has NO affect on tone whatsoever.

    Having said that, if you have very high action (lots of neck relief or concave bend in your neck) it can cause the strings to go slightly sharp as you push them to the fretboard.

    I personally prefer a near straight neck having essentially NO relief. I don't pound away at my strings like a drowning person trying to stay above water. The harder you pick>the greater is the string vibration/amplitude>the more fret buzz you'll have>the more relief you'll need. You can get that relief by adjusting the truss rod and/or the bridge height.

    If you play like Springsteen, you'll need a high nut, a bridge that is 1/4" higher than factory speck, 1/2" string relief, and 15 gauge strings to prevent fret buzz.
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neck relief

    I always have a little relief. I don't like the way a guitar plays with a dead-straight neck.
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    Default Re: Neck relief

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarDoc View Post
    Neck relief is a personal preference. There is no right or wrong. There is no "standard". It will cause no damage to your fretboard. It will have no/little affect on intonation and certainly has NO affect on tone whatsoever.
    I have to disagree with you a little on an individual guitar basis, yeah over a broad spectrum no effect, but on several of my guitars the thing comes alive with resonance with the right # on relief. They sing louder and seem to be snappier playing, my ear hears it as sounding better. Now it might be a psuedo tone effect because they feel so different to both hands but I play and sound better on an "alive" guitar. Both of my LP's go from nice to amazing with the right amount and one is .008 and the other is a loose .012/tight .013

    It's enough difference in feel that I wouldn't have bought them if they had been out of the sweet spot in the store.

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    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neck relief

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    I always have a little relief. I don't like the way a guitar plays with a dead-straight neck.
    I totally respect that. It IS a personal preference.
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neck relief

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundermtn View Post
    I have to disagree with you a little on an individual guitar basis, yeah over a broad spectrum no effect, but on several of my guitars the thing comes alive with resonance with the right # on relief. They sing louder and seem to be snappier playing, my ear hears it as sounding better. Now it might be a psuedo tone effect because they feel so different to both hands but I play and sound better on an "alive" guitar. Both of my LP's go from nice to amazing with the right amount and one is .008 and the other is a loose .012/tight .013

    It's enough difference in feel that I wouldn't have bought them if they had been out of the sweet spot in the store.
    You certainly have the right to disagree all you want. But, in fact, you really aren't disagreeing at all. You are actually supporting what I said about it being personal preference according to your playing style/technique. If your guitar..."comes alive with resonance with the right # on relief", that means your strings were hitting just enough on the frets with a lower relief to not get a full amplitude of vibration. Maybe not enough to get an audible fret buzz, but enough to dampen their vibration. Or that your strings were too close to the pickups, and the magnetic field was damping their vibration.
    Last edited by GuitarDoc; 05-13-2019 at 09:40 AM.
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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    Mojo's Minions JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neck relief

    Dan Erlewine claims having the neck as straight as possible yields the best possible tone. I agree with GuitarDoc that there’s a proper setting for each guitar. I’ve recently started using a feeler gauge to start them all at .010”. My 8 string ended up at .012”, due to the .074” F#. My PRS in standard with 10-52 is flatter. I also like higher action.

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    Toneologist Thundermtn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neck relief

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarDoc View Post
    You certainly have the right to disagree all you want. But, in fact, you really aren't disagreeing at all. You are actually supporting what I said about it being personal preference according to your playing style/technique. If your guitar..."comes alive with resonance with the right # on relief", that means your strings were hitting just enough on the frets with a lower relief to not get a full amplitude of vibration. Maybe not enough to get an audible fret buzz, but enough to dampen their vibration. Or that your strings were too close to the pickups, and the magnetic field was damping their vibration.
    If I wanted to get the guitar vibrating more intensely knowing where the thing wants to open up, what things should I try with tail piece and bridge height (abr-1) to increase this "alive" feeling? Pickups and pole pieces are really close to perfect for the way I want them to sound. The neck bucker is real low, the bridge is pretty close to spec from the info I've read to be Gibson spec, A2 and A3 magnets.

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    Default Re: Neck relief

    The relief I am talking about might be less than .015"...very small. I am a really light player, but any less than that, I can't get it to stop buzzing.
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    Default Re: Neck relief

    Springsteen really play that high of an action. No i dont have that i believe.

    A luthier friend i had years ago said to me to check my trussod. I said why? Whats wrong with it. Said it was to bend.

    Now thinking about it 10 years later and wondered if i ever play my guitars the wrong way with high action and a bit more releif.


    Just got a guitar with a neckthru and its the straightest neck iv ever had and lowest action with absolute no buzz on the high strings.
    Playing that and sliding up/down make my fingers caught up on the fret wires itself. Bending and my fingertips gets caught up by the rosewood fretboard.

    So i put a bit more releif. /something about 0.5 mm when checking on the 12th fretwire when i depress the 1st and last 24th fret at thesame time.

    Seems to be good now compare as it was before.

  13. #13
    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neck relief

    I was exaggerating about Springsteen to make a point.

    Sounds like you need a fret end dressing to smooth off those fret ends. I have had to do that with just about every guitar that I bought (about 40), no matter what the price was. It's interesting that the worst offenders were the cheapest guitars (less than $130) and the most expensive (over $2000...especially Gibsons). Guitars in the $500-1200 range were the best and required only minor work.
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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    Default Re: Neck relief

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarDoc View Post
    I was exaggerating about Springsteen to make a point.

    Sounds like you need a fret end dressing to smooth off those fret ends. I have had to do that with just about every guitar that I bought (about 40), no matter what the price was. It's interesting that the worst offenders were the cheapest guitars (less than $130) and the most expensive (over $2000...especially Gibsons). Guitars in the $500-1200 range were the best and required only minor work.

    Ok so what has fret end dressing have to do with the action and neck bow releif? My frets are perfectly fine. They are almost new, no wear and its compound radius of 12-16. Maybe its the compound radius. Its the first compound that iv ever owned.

    I usually have 12 or 13,75 radius.

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    Mojo's Minions JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neck relief

    Quote Originally Posted by budubum92 View Post
    So i put a bit more releif. /something about 0.5 mm when checking on the 12th fretwire when i depress the 1st and last 24th fret at thesame time.
    Put a capo on the first fret, hold down the fret where the neck joins the body, then measure at the 7th or 8th fret, which should be the lowest point of the curve. This is where everybody is measuring when we're talking about .010" or .012" or whatever.

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    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neck relief

    I must have misunderstood what you meant by..."Playing that and sliding up/down make my fingers caught up on the fret wires itself." I thought you were referring to the sharp edges of the fret ends.
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

  17. #17
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: Neck relief

    Quote Originally Posted by budubum92 View Post

    So i put a bit more releif. /something about 0.5 mm when checking on the 12th fretwire when i depress the 1st and last 24th fret at thesame time.
    0.5mm relief is a huge, huge, huge amount. I set up (my) guitars to have approx. 0.15mm to 0.25mm. That's 0.006-0.010 inch. yes, that little. the moment you can slide a pick between the 7th or 8th fret and the string (with a capo on first fret, holding down the string at the 15th), your neck is way too hollow.

    and yes, a neck too straight or too hollow can actually damage the trussrod, have frets pop out, or even pop through the fretboard. I've had it happen before. Not a pretty sight.

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    Default Re: Neck relief

    Quote Originally Posted by orpheo View Post
    0.5mm relief is a huge, huge, huge amount. I set up (my) guitars to have approx. 0.15mm to 0.25mm. That's 0.006-0.010 inch. yes, that little. the moment you can slide a pick between the 7th or 8th fret and the string (with a capo on first fret, holding down the string at the 15th), your neck is way too hollow.

    and yes, a neck too straight or too hollow can actually damage the trussrod, have frets pop out, or even pop through the fretboard. I've had it happen before. Not a pretty sight.
    I think im on the safe side.

    No i cant fit anything under 7th or 9th or 12th fret when the first and the last frets are depressed. I think its the action on the bridge the that is a bit high.

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    Default Re: Neck relief

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarDoc View Post
    I must have misunderstood what you meant by..."Playing that and sliding up/down make my fingers caught up on the fret wires itself." I thought you were referring to the sharp edges of the fret ends.

    The way it feels is like when you play the neck with no strings thats how i feel with the action too low. My finger tips nags on the fretwires when doing slides or nags on the ffetboard wood when bending.

  20. #20
    Ultimate Tone Member InbredJunk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neck relief

    Your a bit heavy on the left hand man. Only thing that helps keep your fingers from slapping every fret on your way up the neck is thicker strings. Or let loose with the death grip and stroke that neck gently.

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