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Oh, noze! Forgot the feeler gage!

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Rich_S, May 16, 2018.

  1. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's

    Dec 29, 2006
    Potsdam, NY
    I’m traveling for work this week and brought my goldtop PT along to play in the hotel. I also packed my tools because the weather has changed and the neck now has too much relief. Tonight, I pulled the guitar out and prepared to do the setup according to Fender’s standard specs.

    Where’s the feeler gage? Dang, I brought everything but. How should I set the 0.010” of relief?

    (I already know, but I want see if you do.)
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018

  2. Darkness

    Darkness Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    50
    Apr 7, 2016
    Stygian Gulf

  3. jimbo735

    jimbo735 Tele-Holic

    920
    Sep 19, 2011
    Michigan

  4. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013
    NYC
    Install a set of .012's and loosen the truss rod all the way. That should get you close.
     
    BB likes this.

  5. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's

    Dec 29, 2006
    Potsdam, NY
    LOL, LB. OP corrected to read 0.010" of relief.
     
    LutherBurger likes this.

  6. Hobs

    Hobs Tele-Meister

    106
    Sep 16, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Use cutoff end from a .010 string? Folded dollar bill (nominally .0043)?
     

  7. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's

    Dec 29, 2006
    Potsdam, NY
    Hobs FTW. First step was a new set of Slinkies, then I set the neck relief using the cutoff from the high E string as my feeler. It’s a ***** to find if you drop it on the gray hotel room carpet, though.

    Actually, my “real” feeler gages at home are made from guitar strings, epoxied to popsicle sticks. It’s a Dan Erlewine idea (one of his more practical/economical tool recommendations). I have two, 0.010” for my guitars and 0.013” for my son’s P-Bass.
     

  8. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    I generally don't worry about using a feeler gauge. I fret the string at the first fret with my left hand, then hold down the same string at the 14th fret with my right thumb. Now the string is my straightedge and I don't need to travel with one. Tap the string with your right index finger reaching to the middle of the neck and you can get an idea of how much the string moves before it hits the fret - that's your relief. You'll very quickly get a feel for how much is too much and how much isn't enough. I find that if there isn't enough relief the string is so close that it makes a click noise as I press it down (maybe at that point it's touching several frets at the same time, not sure, but there's a difference in the sound).

    Also IMHO the .010 relief that's published in the specs is a bit too much. If I were to use a feeler gauge for baseline measurements (I don't use feeler gauges for every relief adjustment) then I tend to find the relief on my guitars is more in the range of .006 or .007 inch and there aren't any strings that fine.
     
    Nathantele and h4ck.b0x7 like this.

  9. h4ck.b0x7

    h4ck.b0x7 Tele-Holic

    778
    Nov 29, 2011
    United States
    This is the perfect time to learn how to eyeball it.
     

  10. beninma

    beninma Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Age:
    41
    947
    Mar 17, 2017
    Massachusetts
    I am mostly okay with eyeballing it too. Certainly if it's just a weather thing and not something like a string change.

    I go back and forth on whether I like the fender 0.010 spec or less relief.

    I am kind of having better luck (less buzz) with 0.010 + lower saddles at the moment. I can get pretty much the same feel & playability by using less relief and raising the saddles a bit but there's a little less buzz in the middle of the neck with 0.010. I should probably have someone check if there's a high fret in that area.
     

  11. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Meister

    Age:
    30
    386
    Jun 15, 2017
    California
    Paper is about .003". Readily available. 3 pieces = about .010"
    With weather changes...ya wanna adjust by Feel. Adjust 'till the strings feel easier to bend and play.
    That's how you wanna set neck relief anyways, because Every guitar is different. If it buzzes, do a fret level. Unless you wanna do a compromising setup to minimize buzz. I'd rather have a guitar that plays nicely than a compromising setup.
    At least you didn't forget your allen wrench.
     

  12. beagle

    beagle Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 20, 2010
    Yorkshire
    I work by feel, no gauges. There's no need to adjust truss rods here though, they stay where they're put for twenty or more years (unless there are problems with the neck itself).
     

  13. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Tele-Meister

    Age:
    49
    261
    Feb 2, 2018
    St. Louis
    I also don't use my feeler gauges for relief.
     

  14. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Holic

    I also don't use feeler gauges. I've used the string as a ruler holding down the string at the first & last fret.

    I was curious about the feeler gauge measurement about a year ago after doing my own set-ups for many years. Bought a feeler gauge from a local automotive shop and checked the recommended distance suggested by the manufacturer. I was surprised to find my eye-balling the distance was actually less than the suggested distance.

    Concerning truss rod adjustments, with the humidity changes I normally have to tweak the truss rod twice a year.
     

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