My new way to fine tune relief for low action

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by DugT, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Maybe it's also work to further develop an understanding of the geometry involved in playing over the whole neck and how the different types of setup mix advantages with compromises.

    I set up my own guitars how I personally prefer them, but I set up guitars for others in ways that hopefully best suit the specific player and their technique.

    Since I've spent decades developing an understanding of the various types of setup as related to playing style, I don't need to go through a personal process of discovery like @DugT describes.

    Rather, I choose a relief that I think will suit the player after watching them play and asking them some questions to ensure that they don't leave any technique out of their demo, and then set the action, with little or no need to tweak the relief further, unless there are fretboard problems they don't want to fix, which require an amended relief theory. By theory I mean my assumption of what would work on a good neck.

    Many players just want the $40 job, so you gotta work with their budget!
     
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  2. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm gonna try your scheme on one guitar that not quite ringing like I want it to! might be helpful
     
  3. Antmax

    Antmax Tele-Meister

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    Cool technique. I don't go for the lowest action possible because the strings are harder to bend if they slide under your fingers.

    I use the trick an Italian Luther posted on his YouTube channel for a 5 minute setup. Where you capo the 1st fret and slide a credit type card without the embossed numbers bridging the 12th and 13th frets it's flexible so you can masking tape it to the back of the neck and the card confirms to the fret radius.

    Then you just lower the saddles or bridge posts and play the guitar strings adjusting till they buzz and then back off maybe 1/4 turn, remove capo and your done.

    Works for me. I did try lower but then the string slip under my fingers if I bend somewhere between 5 and 9. I'd probably have to have super jumbo frets or scalloped fretboard to go lower.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
  4. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah well, super jumbo frets are the best and all others suck!
    If you don't use super jumbo you'll never make it to Carnegie Hall...
     
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  5. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Meister

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    Then if you want to play slide on it, you gotta hike the action up on it to the point where you wonder why you spent all day getting it low in the first place. Just saying.
     
  6. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Interesting. It never occurred to me that there is an optimum relief that could be found for a particular instrument.
    Granted, my "just a smidge" method isn't exactly scientific.
     
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  7. DugT

    DugT Tele-Holic

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    Has anyone else tried this yet?

    I've been trying to think of a better name for the method. It's real benefit is it balances or centers the relief so that the action is the same up and down the neck. Maybe Relief Optimizer is a good name, (Thanks Charlie Chitlin). Let me know if you have any ideas.

    If the relief is optimized you can have lower action but you don't need the lowest possible action to benefit from centered relief and consistant action.
     
  8. Tommyd55

    Tommyd55 Tele-Meister

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    I find your approach pretty interesting. Thinking about various things I am believe your technique could possibly have positive effects on intonation.
    By having a more "consistent" amount of relief, or a more consistent action height for the length of the neck the intonation could benefit.
    As you press the strings the amount of deflection could possibly be in some instances reduced, or possibly just made more consistent across the entire neck length.
    Sounds like a positive to me. A guitar is a combination of many many small seperate pieces that if they compliment each other well can produce a superior instrument.
    Good out of the box thinking on your part imo.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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  9. tele_savales

    tele_savales Tele-Meister

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    Can you define "perfect" relief for me?
     
  10. DugT

    DugT Tele-Holic

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    Maybe I should have said Ideal Relief instead of Perfect Relief. "So, if the relief is set perfectly, the strings are less likely to buzz anywhere." If the relief is less than ideal, the action has to be higher to keep the strings from buzzing. Most people probably don't need or want the lowest possible action but those who like to hit the strings hard occasionally this way the strings are less likely to buzz when picking hard for more gain/volume/attention/anger relief.
     
  11. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    The perfect relief is no relief at all. Before the internet, guitars were much simpler to operate.
     
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  12. NewKid

    NewKid Tele-Meister

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    Adjusting relief on my Tele with the truss rod screw at the heel is cumbersome and something I try to minimize.

    I tried low action on the edge of buzzing but found that I preferred absolutely no buzzing with just slightly higher action.

    I got carried away with measurements and feeler gauges and constant fine-tuning to get my guitar’s action as low as possible.

    I’m a fingerstyle player so I appreciate low action but I can live with comfortable action.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
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  13. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm right with you, although I've never let that adjustment at the heel trouble me. I set the relief at about .015" and forget about it. I set the action as low as possible with no buzzing, then adjust as necessary to have a uniform curvature over the frets. Always ends up about 1/16" for the high E, 5/64"-3/32" for the low E.
     
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