Can't get enough neck relief by loosening truss rod....

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by boneyguy, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. sothoth

    sothoth Tele-Holic Double Platinum Supporter

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    This and the previous post about getting the neck dead flat are important points. Neck relief is good to a point but I think when you are first working with getting your setup just perfect, there is a tendency to want solve the buzzing problem by relieving more than you really need to. I know because I struggled with that for a lot longer than I'd like to admit.

    Often the buzzing is from the frets having high spots, the fingerboard having high spots or dips, or the heel sitting up a tad high when there's too much relief. That's a flaw with the truss rod design a la fender... the heel doesn't relieve along with the rest of it.

    I had to calibrate my expectations and talk to a few pros before I learned that you can't really get it perfect all the time without heroic efforts that may not be worth it.

    What I have read in books and heard from the pros is to start by making the neck dead flat, adjust to your desired action and radius (assuming you have a bridge with saddle height adjustment) and intonate (at least roughly) and then make minor tweaks (like neck relief) to get the buzzing out. While opinions vary on the ideal approach I think adding a lot of neck relief to resolve buzzing helps to a point but may not be the answer to your problem. It may make it worse in some cases.

    Also make sure your nut is adjusted properly. Too high and too low are both problems and impact the action and contribute to how much relief you need.

    If you can't make it all go away, try thicker strings. If it still doesn't work, just think of it as additional harmonic variety. And if you can only hear it when you play unamplified (and if it's not Uber painful when unamplified), it's probably not worth a lot of trouble.
     
  2. Freewheelin_Bob

    Freewheelin_Bob TDPRI Member

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    Hello good sir,

    I was wondering what your measurements were when you were setting up the neck? String height at the 17th, relief at the 7th, nut action and radius of the neck. I'm always interested in those numbers. Also, Here is a link I go back to time and time again.
    http://www.bryankimsey.com/setup/neck_relief_1.htm
     
  3. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    To be honest I never take measurements.....I've never really understood the practicality of it. Playing is a 'feel' thing....if the frets are level and the basic physical structure of the guitar allows for proper action then I don't see the use in numbers.....I adjust to where it feels good and it sounds good without excessive buzzing etc. If I can't dial that in by feel then I'll measure the level of the frets etc.

    I'm willing to have my mind changed about this however....I'm open to learning!!
     
  4. Freewheelin_Bob

    Freewheelin_Bob TDPRI Member

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    Hello good sir,

    I'd say definitely give it a try! You never know 'till you've tried.

    Cheers
     
  5. sothoth

    sothoth Tele-Holic Double Platinum Supporter

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    I never take measurements, either. I hold the guitar on its side and look down the neck line. Start with neck dead flat, add a tiny relief if needed.

    And when I say flat I mean flat when it's strung up with your favorite strings.

    Measurements are great if you have an accurate tool. I found that it was hard to be reproducible, but that is just me. Keep in mind that the relief will look greater on the side of the neck with the fatter strings. When you calibrate your eyes, always keep that in mind.
     
  6. user34603

    user34603 Tele-Meister

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    ...I ran into this with a '88 Cort Strat all-maple neck (1-piece from Korea). With the truss rod slacked and no nut tension at all.... still no detectable relief to suit me. So I tuned 1/2 step beyond standard pitch and put a capo on fret 4. If that does not do it in a few days, I'll try setting it in sunlight all afternoon that way. No rattles as played, but I do have a hybrid string set on .... .009-.046 Ernie Ball set. So I want a touch of relief and the same strings and no fret filing.
     
  7. opticnerv

    opticnerv TDPRI Member

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    Could the issue be at the bridge itself? Is it a trem or hardtail? If trem, is it pulling forward thus lowering the action that way? And did you TRIPLE check the radius of the saddles? Someone mentioned the nut. Is it possibly over-cut causing the strings to sit too low at 1st fret? Good luck. I have a 2007 Squier Strat by Fender I picked up (mint) for $35 earlier this year. Its neck also refuses have relief. Frets are great. Needs a new bridge - or at least saddle. Already replaced pups and other electronics.
     
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