Neck relief or not...

JOBBOT

New Member!
Jan 15, 2020
3
Georgia
Just checking in guys to inquire when performing set-up, do you prefer a straight neck or, adjust neck for
a slight amount of relief ? I am going to perform my first fret leveling/crowning/polishing this week...thought I would adjust neck with no relief after new strings ( stretched ) and tuned to pitch. I believe this can be done and have a low action w/out buzz ...thx in advance btw, will be leveling frets with the neck straight...I have looked into the Katana leveling tool and method...to costly
 

STRATA

Strat-Talker
Jun 4, 2009
102
Bradford.UK
Just checking in guys to inquire when performing set-up, do you prefer a straight neck or, adjust neck for
a slight amount of relief ? I am going to perform my first fret leveling/crowning/polishing this week...thought I would adjust neck with no relief after new strings ( stretched ) and tuned to pitch. I believe this can be done and have a low action w/out buzz ...thx in advance btw, will be leveling frets with the neck straight...I have looked into the Katana leveling tool and method...to costly

1]One 'can't' level frets on a curved neck=It must be [made to be] Straight.,only then can levelling proceed!
2]Relief is adjusted to suit etc.After strings[Stabilized after stretching].. are at PITCH!
3]One can only adjust INTONATION accurately with stabilized new strings.If strings have aged etc INACCURATE RESULT etc.!
 

Michael919

Most Honored Senior Member
Dec 22, 2011
5,328
Ottawa, Canada
I don’t measure. I add relief until I have an acceptable amount of buzz, almost none, in the 1st to 7th fret range.

Even with a freshly leveled neck, it’s quite a bit of relief for my plucking style, especially on a Strat.
 

Kestrel

Strat-Talker
Silver Member
Sep 25, 2017
454
Northants England
On my own Guitars I only set to a slight relief but when setting up for clients, some like more relief, it depends on playing technique, heavy strummers, light players, all different.
 

Sugarcane

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 24, 2014
2,126
On the road
I used to prefer a straight neck. But my own playing demands enough relief to assure sustain and get rid of buzz.

You’d be surprised about how much your Strat will sustain and fatten up the individual notes when you use a slightly high action. Most bluesmen out there who play hard use an incredibly high action.
 
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Murphcaster

Senior Stratmaster
Oct 17, 2013
1,135
WV
Like the rest so far, as close to straight as I can get it. I think too much relief makes a guitar feel “stiff,” even with low action.
Really? When dissecting the center of two end points, wouldn't the overall length between a curved/back-bowed neck be shortened, albeit ever so slightly, as opposed to a straight neck which would be lengthened in comparison? In my experience, having a moderate amount of relief results in the feel of the strings being slinkier.
That being said, I like as little relief as possible without buzz.
 

Miotch

Most Honored Senior Member
Jun 28, 2011
5,285
ok
Nothing set in stone, but when I eyeball down my necks after I have them playing the way I like, it appears I like just a tad of relief. I like my action fairly low, but not buzzingly so. I have developed into a light-touch player over the years. Not always, but in general.
 

Ronkirn

Most Honored Senior Member
May 26, 2006
7,020
Jacksonville, FL
it depends on your playing style

My point. . . guys are STILL trying to quantify everything about the guitar... YOU CANNOT SUCCESSFULLY DO THAT!!!

The premise of the thread is: Is neck relief correct or is a dead straight flat neck correct? the answer is yes ... maybe... :p As has been said, a guitar is a study in compromises.. I might add, that's extrapolated though the variables of the different players, their physique, and their playing styles. ...

It is a never ending quagmire, and even that is compounded by the varying environments in which we play our guitars.. SO before "you" can quantify everything about a guitar all ya have to do is stabilize the varying nature of homo sapiens, and create a perfectly uniform, stable environment, That shouldn't present much of a problem.. :D Then you can turn your attention toward the guitar..

Until then, "you're" just gonna hafta learn to live with the uncertainty the complex nature of the guitar's physical interface with everything presents. Sorry OCD guys.. that's the way it is..


r
 

graystone1

Strat-Talk Member
Apr 5, 2010
44
belfast
I used to set my neck dead straight with low action in my younger years, but now I have to have a good bit of relief about 12 to 15" and med action. I find it lets the sound of the guitar and the tone sound more open and surstains more and I like to feel the strings under my fingers when bending If you know what I mean.
 
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Stratomike

Strat-Talker
Mar 17, 2018
237
Vienna
+1 for 'as straight as I can get it without buzzing or dead spots'
This exactly. Unfortunately this means quite some relief for my (Strat) neck, as I am a heavy hitter. No idea how people can play a dead straight neck. If you look at the (sort of) elliptical pattern the strings travel, it seems impossible from a physics point of view...
 

CB91710

No GAS shortage here
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Feb 24, 2019
10,432
SoCal
This exactly. Unfortunately this means quite some relief for my (Strat) neck, as I am a heavy hitter. No idea how people can play a dead straight neck. If you look at the (sort of) elliptical pattern the strings travel, it seems impossible from a physics point of view...
It's a tradeoff between relief and action.
It's easy to forget that increased relief doesn't change the geometry from the higher frets to the bridge... that is determined by the neck angle. Relief changes the geometry from the nut to the higher frets (and bridge).
The neck "dips" in the middle only when held flat on the bench, but when viewed from the guitar itself, increased relief raises the nut and headstock. The neck isn't anchored in the middle... it's anchored at the end.
This can allow for lower 15th fret action while still preventing fret buzz on open strings.
Once you are playing above the 10th fret, maybe the 12th, relief has very little impact.

Likewise, a dead straight neck requires a bit higher action to prevent buzzz... but that can be countered with heavier strings, as the increased tension reduces the string excursion.
Everything about a guitar is interactive, and ultimately, it is up to what the player prefers.

"Do what thou wilt"
 

stratocarlster

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 6, 2012
9,146
Telephone Road
Not knowing any better, I got in the habit of setting up to Fender spec - 0.25mm
As RK says above it can be a very deep rabbit hole so if you haven't got time for the exploration, sticking with spec is a decent compromise.
 


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