Issues setting up 7.25" radius fretboard... bends fretting out

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by mjgp3, May 27, 2020.

  1. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    My vintage spec Strats have virtually no neck relief, vintage frets, a low action and don't fret out. You just have to learn to set them up properly.
     
  2. BryMelvin

    BryMelvin Friend of Leo's

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    check relief. Raise action. Play and practice you'll get used to it.
     
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  3. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    take it to a repair shop, they can help you with that.

    Also if you experiment with the neck angle and the truss rod, and the saddle height you might get some improvement. I used to have a tele with the vintage radius, and after fooling with it for.. for quite a period of time, I got it to play acceptably. But a real guitar repairman who is experienced with that stuff, can tweak the frets and make it much better for you.
     
  4. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you only have trouble when bending at the 15th fret but not the 14th or 16th then you might suspect a high fret. As you bend figure out which fret the string is actually fretting out on. Then take a straight edge and see if you can rock it. I.e., it's like a see-saw with the offending high fret being the center of the see-saw and the adjacent frets being the ground that the see-saw ends up resting on. I once had a guitar that actually did have a single high spot on a fret that needed to be fixed. But that's once in something like literally 50 years. So while it's worth inspecting for that possibility it's more likely that a very careful, professional setup will set you straight without any fret work needed. Although if you want as low action as possible then having the frets carefully dressed to create a compound neck effect will certainly help. But I have had 7.25" guitars that were just fine bending all over the neck with what I would consider typical action-- neither low nor high.
     
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  5. guitarmikey

    guitarmikey Tele-Afflicted

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    You may need a fret dress. Check them with a rocker, might be the small side from a credit card... rock it on only three frets and check if it rocks. That means the middle fret is too high so in need for fret dress.
     
  6. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Afflicted

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    For the poster above saying they don't fret out with a straight neck on vintage radius, I imagine there is some misinformation there. Probably more relief than they realize, and perhaps prior crown and polish has resulted in flatter radius, often the case.

    Below are specs straight from Fender. Even the smallest change in relief makes a difference. Look, the recommended spec is .3 mm, and an average thin pick is .6 mm.

    It is simple physics. If you are fretting out, your string needs more space from the frets at that point in the bend. Relief or higher action are the only ways to do this, short of fretwork.

    This is why Fender recommends more relief for 7.25 radius, and less relief as the radius flattens out.

    Get some Feeler gauges and straight edge and set it to .012 to start. I find .015 works better for me, but I like more headroom and don't mind higher action. YMMV.


    https://www.fender.com/articles/how-to/how-to-measure-neck-relief-on-guitar-or-bass

    For Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars, the proper size of this gap varies slightly with fingerboard radius:

    Neck Radius
    • 7.25"
    • 9.5"-12"
    • 15"-17"

    Relief
    • .012” (0.3 mm)
    • .010” (0.25 mm)
    • .008” (0.2 mm)
     
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  7. E5RSY

    E5RSY Doctor of Teleocity

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    Friends don't let friends bend more than a half-step.
     
  8. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Afflicted

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    For posters saying that he may need a fret dress, this is usually obvious as it only chokes out on certain notes. That's not what OP described.

    He may have ski jump but that's also kind of rare on relatively new Tele MIM necks, unless somebody tried to crown and polish when the neck wasn't set straight, though it can happen pretty quick on a poorly adjusted micro tilt 3 bolt system, which doesn't seem to be the case here.

    Add some relief dude! Let us know what happens.
     
  9. Fretting out

    Fretting out Friend of Leo's

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    I heard my name called and had to stop by! ;)
     
  10. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    ^^^ Exactly what I do.
     
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  11. ben smith

    ben smith Tele-Holic

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    frets level? what i don't understand is how my old 60's mustang never fretted out with lowish action with a 7.5"? but i can never seem to find a 7.5" that doesn't choke without the action being too high for my liking. there are so many guitar i love the look of but if i see 7.5" it's a no way for me because i like to shred unfortunately yes i like shredding, you could level just the frets to 9.5" it feels a bit strange but it does work i have done this before. or just sell the neck and buy a new one cause if you like to solo a lot like me you may never get on with it. thats my life story anyway. oh and to add to what others have said yes you do get used to higher action, i really like 12" for low action but higher action is actually easier to play and does sound better
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
  12. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Those Fender specs you're quoting... they're just rough guidelines for newbies. Fender can't know if you play heavy or light, want clarity or super low action, etc. While those specs will 'work' for most players, they result in a mediocre setup, in most cases.

    When I setup my own guitars, or those for anyone seeking fairly low action, without a huge heavy hand, I set relief to .005" max, more often .003". The Fender suggested .012" will result in higher minimum action.

    At .003" relief, and around .055" (3-1/2 64ths) action at the 12th fret (treble side), I can get full step bends on 7.25 without fretting out, as long as the fretwork is perfect.

    Leaving the relief alone, and bumping the action to .062" (4/64), I can get 1.5 steps with perfect frets, and a full step bend without worrying much about perfect frets, or a .015" change to relief due to humidity. And there's more clarity, to boot.
     
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  13. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    If you want very low action and minimum relief , with any radius and even more with a 7 1/4 one ,you need to have your frets perfectly leveled and crowned.
     
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  14. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's

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    Fallaway might be the op’s solution, I’m amazed no one has mentioned it so far.

    I dished out the frets on one of my necks (by playing) down to the 15th. I just ground down 16-21 at a slight angle (21 being lowest), polished them back up, and no more fretting out.
     
  15. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    When I say "pretty straight", I mean by eyeballing down the neck. If I were to actually measure the neck relief accurately it very likely would be within the ranges posted. I can see there's some relief, but not too much. Obviously if someone hasn't done a lot of setups so they have the feel for it, solid specs are useful, just as for pickup heights. I think it's fair to say that even with decent fretwork that setups are actually fairly tricky. If someone is just adjusting the saddle height and not succeeding then most likely they need to explore neck relief and possibly neck angle to get to the promised land.
     
  16. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Tele-Holic

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    I just set up a 7.25" radiused partscaster strat for a customer last night. I set the relief at 0.007" at the 8th fret, and ran the action at 5/64" across the neck. I had originally set the high e at between 3 and 4/64" and followed the radius to a low E at 5/64", but I was getting the dreaded fret buzz at the 15th with a whole step bend. Customer didn't want fret work, so I ran it up to almost 5/64 across the board and he was happy with it (that height got rid of the buzz). I found it to be quite playable myself, although it is noticeably higher action than my SG, which is my main guitar right now. Ended up jamming on the guitar for an hour after finishing the setup last night. It was a joy to play.
     
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  17. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Afflicted

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    Typical shredder setup, works for some. Particularly those who prefer compressed sounds and don't play with a much dynamics on their picking hand. A setup like that allows very little headroom before the frets start smacking the board, and is on the verge of fretting out with whole step bends which robs sustain for those climatic moments in the guitar solo, but again that doesn't matter if you are playing with a lot of compression. It's simple physics, the string vibrates in an ellipse, relief is necessary for the string to vibrate freely. Not to mention it helps the higher frets have a more consistent action to the lower. 3 to 5 thousands of relief is miniscule and when you get to those tolerances, the ability to accurately measure becomes an issue. I live in Florida, with the humidity outdoors and dehumidified indoors, taking my guitar to gigs would require constant adjustments to keep that type of setup. That's isn't even realistic with most guitars which have some slight imperfections in the fretwork just from that nature of wood expanding and contracting inconsistency and fret wear.

    OP, just try playing with your relief, and let us know what works better, .003 to .005 or .012 to .015.
     
  18. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Afflicted

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  19. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Don't be afraid to raise the hi E and the B.
     
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  20. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yes, it does work for some. That was my point.
     
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