Neck relief - new Neck

Mr_Martin

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Sep 21, 2009
Posts
1,457
Age
58
Location
Cologne, Germany
I built a partcaster with a Baja Neck and an Alder body.

Question:
The Neck is now (without strings) totaly straight.
Should i leave it like that before attaching the neck to the body?
I think the string tension will bow the neck forward right?

Or have i to adjust the neck before that it bows back because of the string tension.

Sorry for my bad english, i hope you understand my question.
 

Mr_Martin

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Sep 21, 2009
Posts
1,457
Age
58
Location
Cologne, Germany
I would put the neck on now, put strings on it, tune it up so it's under tension, let it rest for a while, then adjust relief if needed. Why adjust the neck now to compensate for an unknown? Once the strings are on, you can see what adjustment is needed if any.

Thank you, i understand but the trusrod adjusment is on the pickup side, so if the relief is bad i have to unmount the neck, adjust and mount it again.
I wanted to avoid it. :)
 

Danb541

Friend of Leo's
Silver Supporter
Joined
Nov 27, 2019
Posts
3,339
Location
Raincaster, Oregon
Thank you, i understand but the trusrod adjusment is on the pickup side, so if the relief is bad i have to unmount the neck, adjust and mount it again.
I wanted to avoid it. :)
Oh, I didn't know that... I guess its up to you. What size strings are you putting on it? If you run really heavy strings maybe adjust it a bit. I'd probably still put it on the way it is. Either way you might have to take it off anyways. It's only 4 crews, not that big of a deal.
 

Mr_Martin

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Sep 21, 2009
Posts
1,457
Age
58
Location
Cologne, Germany
Oh, I didn't know that... I guess its up to you. What size strings are you putting on it? If you run really heavy strings maybe adjust it a bit. I'd probably still put it on the way it is. Either way you might have to take it off anyways. It's only 4 crews, not that big of a deal.

I play Daddario 0.11 - 0.52
 

Nick Fanis

Poster Extraordinaire
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2003
Posts
7,005
Location
Athens-GREECE
I wanted to avoid it.

You can't.
It's the nature of the beast and how you set up a Fender with a heel truss rod adjustment.

It's no big deal though.
Capo all strings at the first fret so they don't fall out of the tuners ,loosen the neck screws remove the neck and adjust.

Having the neck dead straight without string tension is standard practice anyway.

Personally I like almost zero relief anyhow with the string tuned to pitch.

Relief kills playability ,feel and tone/compression in a guitar.
 

StoogeSurfer

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Posts
1,925
Location
USA
I agree with Nick. You want to start with a flat neck and add relief a little at a time only as necessary until it's dialed in. There may be a quicker way to do it, I'm just not aware. And this is why heel adjusters are not the optimum, but what else are you going to do with your time nowadays?
 

gregulator450

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
Posts
2,451
Location
The Dry Side
remove the pickguard, and your tele body may have access to get a truss rod wrench in there. Stew Mac sells this little guy: https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-too...-tools/wrenches/truss-rod-crank-for-tele.html

...that makes adjusting slot-headed heel adjust tele necks a breeze once the pickguard is removed. Best $20 (after stupid shipping costs) I have spent in a while. I get enough vintage style teles in for setups that this paid for itself in the first two hours I had it. I also have a Strat type with a heel adjust, so this tool will never go out of style in my toolbox.
 

ben smith

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jan 16, 2019
Posts
1,416
Location
london
i always have mine pretty dead straight then when the neck is on with 10's things feel just about right. i don't like the idea of keeping the neck on and to just loosen the screws, that sounds dangerous to me.
 

Boreas

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Posts
6,916
Age
66
Location
Adirondack Coast, NY
I built a partcaster with a Baja Neck and an Alder body.

Question:
The Neck is now (without strings) totaly straight.
Should i leave it like that before attaching the neck to the body?
I think the string tension will bow the neck forward right?

Or have i to adjust the neck before that it bows back because of the string tension.

Sorry for my bad english, i hope you understand my question.

I would leave it as-is. The strings will add some relief in the neck, which is preferred. If it adds too much, play it until you need a string change, and
adjust it then.
 

Sea Devil

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Sep 23, 2006
Posts
3,156
Age
59
Location
Brooklyn, NY
It should be dead straight with no string tension, but the truss rod should at least be tightened to the point that it feels snug, maybe to the point that it's as tight as it will get without causing back-bow, before you put it on. Every neck is different, but a typical Tele neck might give you .006 -.011" of relief at the 7th fret (the latter is factory spec) with the nut snug, and .002-.008" relief with the nut tight. I always flex and twist the neck while adjusting a truss rod at the tighter end of its range. It seems to help the neck settle into its new shape and keep the neck from developing any deformities from uneven pressure.

That's not a rule at all. My Hahn 228 has .002" of relief with .010s and the truss rod fully loosened, and only about .006" with .011s.

I think it helps to loosen the nut all the way with no string tension before adjusting it, too. The wood wants to be a certain way, and I think you have to let it get there before you start manipulating it.
 

Ian T

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jan 11, 2013
Posts
1,144
Location
Tampa Bay
I watched one of the Robben Ford lockdown streams, and he told a story of taking his vintage Tele to a luthier for a truss rod adjustment, and to his horror he turned around and sees the luthier had removed the neck. He says that once you remove the neck, it takes months to settle in again.

I had never thought about it like that, but perhaps I'll think twice before removing the neck for a truss rod adjustment if I can reach the heel by removing the pickguard. Usually this can be done.

Just a little food for thought.
 

Sea Devil

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Sep 23, 2006
Posts
3,156
Age
59
Location
Brooklyn, NY
Some necks "settle in" instantly. I'Ve hardly ever seen one take more than a day or two, but anything is possible, I suppose.
 

Sea Devil

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Sep 23, 2006
Posts
3,156
Age
59
Location
Brooklyn, NY
The neck changes when you take the strings off, too. But as I said above, I grab the neck and manipulate it pretty aggressively in multiple directions to accelerate any settling in whenever I make changes..
 

TwangerWannabe

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Posts
648
Location
West Coast
You don't need to take the neck off, just the pickguard. Even if your body doesn't have a route to get at the truss rod, a paint can lid opener should do the trick. I've been using one for years and have been able to adjust the truss rod on most of the Fenders Iv'e owned except for a couple MIJ/CIJ Fenders.

Put the strings on, tune it up, then adjust the relief as necessary with the strings on and tuned to pitch.

FUERMss.jpg
 
Last edited:




Top