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Old August 22nd, 2008, 03:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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setting up a compound radius neck

I am having issues with the setup on my strat . the neck (warmoth) is a 10-16 I believe , what advice do you guys have for how to set the bridge saddle height? appreciate it.

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Old August 22nd, 2008, 10:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Since the compound radius is, in reality, a cone rather than a cylinder, you'll need to carry that shape to the bridge. You'll need to estimate the diameter at the bridge. I would just set the action equally at the 17th fret and adjust until you have it buzz-free (or as close to buzz-free as you like).
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 11:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Since the compound radius is, in reality, a cone rather than a cylinder, you'll need to carry that shape to the bridge. You'll need to estimate the diameter at the bridge. I would just set the action equally at the 17th fret and adjust until you have it buzz-free (or as close to buzz-free as you like).
Exactly....forget all the /64" stuff, and everyones favorite specs...set it..play it, set it again till it suits You...let it settle in for a few days, and check it again. And don't forget that sometimes a Neck shim may be required to get it right where you want it, for correct saddle height.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 11:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The issues??? Are you having problems intonating the E 6h? if so... lower the neck and middle pickup... you got Stratitus...


OH.. setting up a compound radius is no different than a conventional radius neck.

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Old August 22nd, 2008, 01:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I like to refer to these as conical radius necks. Compound suggests ellipsoid; these necks aren't ellipsoid.

The saddle height array is gonna be around say a 19 inch radius. The difference in saddle heights is the most obvious difference from a vintage radius setup. There should be some "fall away" there (seems apparent on all the vintage modern Warmoth necks I have and it should keep the upper register frets out of your way) so basically follow your instincts; as long as the neck is installed properly and the nut isn't too aggressive, it should set up pretty easy. Easier than a 7.25, I would say.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 03:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I am having issues with the setup on my strat . the neck (warmoth) is a 10-16 I believe , what advice do you guys have for how to set the bridge saddle height? appreciate it.
I wanted to just say that I like your User Pic. An SY fan playing a Tele shows that these guitars are not only for the Traditionalist!

Sorry for the off topic... ::Ehem:: Good question, I was wondering the same thing.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 05:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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i am having a same problem can anyone help me?....

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Old December 10th, 2009, 09:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Compound radius blues..

I have 3 USAG necks, two of which have a 7.5 to 9.5 compound radius and one with a 10 inch radius. Intuitively I would have thought that the guitars with the compound radius (CR) should have flatter looking saddles than the one with the single 10 inch radius. However this is not so and the guitars with the CR seem to require the G and especially the D saddle heights to be higher relative to the others than on the guitar with the 10 inch radius neck. I had a similar situation with the two Warmoth compound radius necks that I owned for a short time. The D string always seemed ready to buzz, even when raised up quite high. All of these necks were professionally set up and the frets dressed with the PLEK machine. Go figure!
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Old December 11th, 2009, 10:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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The D string always seemed ready to buzz, even when raised up quite high.
That may be a nut issue. Try sticking some foil under the D at the nut and see if the buzz decreases. If it does, you may need to fill it with a touch of bone dust.

Also, make sure you wind that D string down to the bottom of the tuning peg to insure a good break angle from the back of the nut.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 11:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I have 2 Warmoth compound 10-16 radius necks on a Strat & Tele. As long as the nut is not cut too deep, I have had good results setting the string heights at around 4/64th at the 17th fret. Then I check the radius at the saddle and set it with a 12" radius string gauge. So far no problems. Not sure why the 12" radius gauge works but it has for me. I'm no expert.. but maybe I was just lucky?
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Old December 11th, 2009, 01:55 PM   #11 (permalink)
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A compound radius neck presents no more problems than any other neck does. THe brdige radius should reflect the radius of the neck at the end of the fretboard. The radius at the nut should reflect the redius of the board at that end. THe radius along the lenghth of the neck resolves itself between these two settings.
REgarding Tony's thought that his radiused necks should set up 'flatter' than his 10" board, the 9.5" radius at the high end of those radiused board is a shorter radius than the 10" board, and this dictates that the set up will be slightly higher if one wants to do bends. A larger radius at the high end of the board allows the set-up to be lower than a shorter radius.
REgarding action....the treble strings should, imho and that of others such as Dan Erlewine, can and should be lower than the action on the bass side. The bass strings vibrate in bigger patterns and therefore need higher action to avoid buzzing. There is also an effect on the tension of the strings. Imho, fretting tension...the feel of the string....should be very close to being equal at any fretting position on the neck. When a guitar is set-up this way, one can use the same pick attack on any position and get basically the same result....that is, if the attack doesn't cause fret buzz in one position, that same attack force will not cause fret buzz at any position on the neck. Another effect of this approach to setting up a guitar is that the fretting hand relaxes due to the commonality of the feel everywhere on the neck.
A 9.5" radius board will usually set-up at the 12th fret at about 7/128"..3.5/64ths for the high E if one is looking for a one step(2 fret) bend. This dictates the set-up for the low E at somewhere a little over 5/64". A 16" radius board will allow a set-up for the high E at somewhere around 2/64" if one wants things very low. This will dictate a setting of 4/64" on the low E....all at the 12th fret.
Flynman's use of a 12" radius at the bridge against the 16" radius board will result in the inside strings being a bit 'stiffer' fretting tension than the outside strings in the upper reaches of the fretboard.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 11:54 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Compound 7.5 - 9.5 vs. straight 10 inch radius guitars.

I see now! Lower but higher..i.e. overall lower, with the inside strings relatively higher on the CR neck guitars, giving a more pronounced curve of the bridge saddles. Now it finally makes sense! Thanks, Wally.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 06:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I see now! Lower but higher..i.e. overall lower, with the inside strings relatively higher on the CR neck guitars, giving a more pronounced curve of the bridge saddles. Now it finally makes sense! Thanks, Wally.

Tony, the 9.5" radius demands a bit higher action across the radius than does the 10" radius....on all strings.

"with the inside strings relatively higher"
THe inside strings on any good set-up will be farther from the frets than the high E while being a bit lower than the Low E.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 06:53 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Those looking for some "formula" that can be applied to setting up the compound, or any radius are waaaaaaay off base.... Rulers, feeler gauges, math and calculators all leave out the most important factor in the equation. How YOU play.

Therefore, I have found the method taught me decades ago, to be fool proof. Lower the string, checking it often to see how the guitar plays.. When you begin hearing a buzz, back off a bit... once you are pretty sure, back the screw off about another 1/2 turn...

Using that simple method, it would not matter what shape your neck was... As long as you or the "client" plays it to check how it feels, you're gonna wind up with the lowest action possible for that given style of playing, and a small "margin" of error to accommodate unknown variables that may arise.

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Old December 14th, 2009, 07:03 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Ron, buzz is not the only aspect of action that comes into play. You forgot to mention bendability. The numbers I posted above take for granted a proper line of neck and the ability to bend the high E 1 step/2 frets. Those figures are very close to correct for the lowest action one can have and still maintain good bendability. If one doesn't bend, then go ahead and set the action for the 'no buzz with a certain pick attack with a certain string gauge' philosophy. You can set the guitar up much lower if the player doesn't bend.
I totally agree with you that personal style is a big part of a set-up....for those who are in touch with their playing. THere can be good reasons for setting up a guitar with higher action than the minimum. Bends like Buddy Guy does demand higher action....you can't bend across that fretboard without high action. I have one personal STrat set-up that way. I have one customer who likes to bend by taking his finger under the string toward which he is bending. High action for his style, for sure.
There is a place for a 'formula', and there is a place for personal playing style demands. I wrod with both. And, I assure you, I am not 'waaaay off base'. (;^)
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Old December 14th, 2009, 08:46 PM   #16 (permalink)
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You forgot to mention bendability.
Nope. . . 'fraid not... that's why I said play the booger.... if the player bends 'em, then playing it would by description, include and allow for bending. Ya can throw all the numbers ya want at it, but if some heavy handed 2.5 step bending wild thang has a go at it, chances are pretty high she's gonna buzz...

Unless something new has happened in the past few decades, the string can only be moved up or down by the saddles, however the picker can make 'em wiggle in any direction relative to the axis established by the string. That initial attack has to be considered in the setup. If it buzzes you gotta put more "air" between the string and the frets, done with the Saddles/Bridge, or by releasing the tension applied by the truss rod.

"Minimum action height" is different from "Minimum action height for a specific player."

We are probably describing the same thing, just dooin' it with different words...

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Old December 19th, 2009, 03:48 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Frm my point of view, one should never 'put more air between the string and the fret' by releasing tension on the t-rod. The neck should have a certain amount of relief...no more and no less. The 'range of correctness' concerning relief is a very small range. RAise the saddle as much as needed to allow for a hard-hitting picker and/or a big bender.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 04:14 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I wanted to just say that I like your User Pic. An SY fan playing a Tele shows that these guitars are not only for the Traditionalist!

Sorry for the off topic... ::Ehem:: Good question, I was wondering the same thing.
Not to mention a MMJ fan playing a Tele! I've seen Jim James play a Strat, but I haven't seen anyone in the band play a Tele.
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