Are guitar necks made so there’s more relief on the low side?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by 8barlouie, Mar 22, 2019.

Tags:
  1. 65 Champ Amp

    65 Champ Amp Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    990
    Joined:
    May 28, 2011
    Location:
    Illinois-Wisconsin line
    I control that by proper nut slot depths.
     
    8barlouie likes this.
  2. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    3,231
    Joined:
    May 9, 2015
    Location:
    Seekonk, MA
    Don’t get me wrong, I like the way it seems to sort out.
     
  3. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    866
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2018
    Location:
    Nawth Alabama
    Yes. I tend to like 'balanced' sets (chosen so that tension is equal across all strings). I do that with classical sets as well.
     
  4. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,988
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    I was always under the impression that the plain strings were more tense than the wound strings...and within each set of plain or wound strings, the higher pitched strings were under more tension that the lower pitched strings.

    I've never noticed this issue. In fact, I find that if a neck is twisted, it often twists toward the wound strings, not toward the plain strings.

    If it is happening, however, it is almost certainly not carved into the neck.
     
  5. ale.istotle

    ale.istotle TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    79
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    As it was explained to me - all things being equal (same string material) the tension is a function of wire diameter and intended pitch. For wound strings the diameter that matters is the inner core. The windings are there for mass to achieve a lower pitch than the bare core would. So a wound G will have a lower tension than an unwound G because it's a thinner string inside the wrap. It's wound to allow it to vibrate similarly to a thicker unwound string.
     
  6. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,893
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2018
    Location:
    In space with Ziggy
    The string theory is great for older necks but as mentioned if you look at brand new necks that have not been fitted to a body the majority of them are aligned this way without ever having seen string tension. Check out a off the shelf replacement neck next time and see for yourself. Every fender licenced or actual new fender neck I have purchased has been this way, brand new Fender, Allparts all never having been strung up because they have never had tuners fitted or holes drilled for mounting. I think it's around 6 necks out of 6 now for me.

    I think it might be due to after inspection the blanks are orientated to warp this way rather than the reverse to reduce the likelihood of a dud neck after completion and being fitted to a guitar under string tension? Just taking a guess.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
    8barlouie likes this.
  7. scelestus

    scelestus TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    72
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2018
    Location:
    Michigan
    I was just thinking that lower tension might lead to more string movement and so a need for more relief.
     
    ale.istotle and 8barlouie like this.
  8. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    3,181
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2018
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    I'm kind of surprised by a lot of things I see on guitars that are supposedly being played.

    Mild back bow, excessive relief, terrible nut height, body hump on les paul types all the time.

    But I'll admit that before I started building and understanding tiny fractions of an inch, etc, I wouldn't have known how to set relief accurately. i'd bet a good builder can do it to within a couple of thousandths of dead nuts book status by eye. But rarely do I get a guitar set up like that.

    A lot of the guitars that I get were supposedly "just set up", too. I'm guessing that whoever sets them up, if they have bad nut height, etc, nothing is done and the customer probably doesn't want to pay to fix that, anyway.
     
    8barlouie likes this.
  9. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    3,231
    Joined:
    May 9, 2015
    Location:
    Seekonk, MA
    That is true. But, the theory was put out there that maybe the bass side has more relief due to the tension. That theory seems to have been refuted, however.
     
  10. Danjabellza

    Danjabellza Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,062
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2014
    Location:
    Pahrump, nv
    Wouldn’t one be able to essentially do that with nut/saddle setup?
     
    ale.istotle likes this.
  11. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    3,231
    Joined:
    May 9, 2015
    Location:
    Seekonk, MA
    Most people have never played a properly setup guitar so they don’t know any different.
     
  12. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    3,231
    Joined:
    May 9, 2015
    Location:
    Seekonk, MA
    Relief takes both nut and saddle out of the equation.
     
    Danjabellza likes this.
  13. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,893
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2018
    Location:
    In space with Ziggy
    If you practice most days on an acoustic you start to not worry about an electrics setup so much. Even those with higher action play like butter compared to what you get accustomed to. I used to like a really low action but I now prefer it a bit higher so it's easier to get my fingers under the strings for bends and I feel some resistance from the strings when playing electric.
    One persons bad setup might be ideal for the next guy.
     
  14. darren7

    darren7 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    518
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto
    Nope. That's a common misconception.

    String tension is determined by scale length, pitch, and string diameter. Some other factors can go into how "stiff" a string feels vs. another. Most string manufacturers try to get string tension more or less equal across all strings. D'Addario does a great job of publishing the string tension of their sets, and if you look at the data, you'll see that string tension varies a little bit up or down across the neck, but all strings are usually in the same ballpark. http://daddario.com/DADProductFamily.Page?ActiveID=3768&familyid=1 (click on the "Family Tension Chart" and be amazed.)

    Relief is not fretboard radius. Relief is not action.

    Relief is a slight curve in the neck or fretboard to help get clean, buzz-free notes to sound across the neck.

    Strings vibrate with greater amplitude near the middle than at the ends. A dead-straight neck with perfectly cut nut and perfectly levelled and crowned frets will still create a little bit of buzz when action is set really low, because the vibrating string will be hitting the top of the frets at its most extreme excursion. By dialling in a tiny little bit of curve to the neck, it approximates the shape of a vibrating string, which helps to keep the strings away from the frets a little more evenly. How much relief is needed depends on a lot of factors, mainly tuning, string gauge, and how hard the player hits the strings. People with a lighter touch can get away with necks that are almost straight. People with a heavy hand might need higher action and a bit more relief.

    Necks can be made totally stiff and straight without a truss rod at all. The first Steinberger guitars and basses had no truss rods, but players complained that they wanted some individual control over neck relief, so later models were made a little less stiff and had adjustable truss rods. So the truss rod's other purpose is to allow for adjustment of neck relief.
     
    8barlouie likes this.
  15. StanleyAccrington

    StanleyAccrington Tele-Meister

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    113
    Joined:
    May 18, 2016
    Location:
    York
    My Tele seems to have more relief on the low E string compared to the high e string. But I suspect that my neck is warped. Shouldn't I be checking relief by using the D string anyway?
     
    8barlouie likes this.
  16. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    3,231
    Joined:
    May 9, 2015
    Location:
    Seekonk, MA
    In a perfect world, the relief should be identical under each string. It looks like we have a chicken and egg type dilemma. Does the bottom string have more relief because of the forces working on the neck? (Which is a happy consequence.) or, does the luthier or tech build in more relief on the bass side to accommodate the extra movement of the bottom strings? Either way, it works for me.
     
  17. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    23,382
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Location:
    Osaka, Japan
    TIL!
     
  18. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    984
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Barbara
    Back to the OP. The answer is no. Truss rods do not work that way. They are installed in the middle of the neck and affect bass and treble sides of the neck equally. Adjusting bass string saddles higher is the way the increased excursion of the bass strings is dealt with. The actual neck relief (curve) is the same on bass and treble sides, so raising the saddles is the way more excursion is handled on the bass side.
     
    rz350 likes this.
  19. rz350

    rz350 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    54
    Posts:
    2,549
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location:
    Waubeka Wisconsin
    No, I've been playing right handed guitars upside down and strung lefty for about 40 years, I do my own setups, make my own nuts, adjust string height, etc, necks are symmetrical... (except for my '82 Stratocaster, that neck did not work lefty....)
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.