j. pierce Posted January 18, 2009 Report Share Posted January 18, 2009 I never payed much attention to setup until I started building my own guitars. On all my builds, I've been playing with lower action and less fret buzz than I ever did on a store-bought guitar or bass. I'm sure now that I could dial in one of my old guitars to the specs I play at now, but well, I don't have them anymore! So on my guitars and basses to date, with the carbon fibre or graphite rods in the neck, I've never barely had to touch the rod if at all, and dial my necks in perfectly flat, or just until there's a slightly perceptable relief - I don't remember what feeler gauge could squeak in there when measuring, but there appears to be no relief visually using a slotted rule and the board, or using the strings and the fret tops. Capo at the first and last fret and push down in the middle, and you can just feel that there's a bit of relief. Anyway, the 35" scale five-string bass I'm working on for my brother; it's got quite some relief in the neck. I did a quick fret level before stringing it up the second time, and with the action set medium low, there's annoying buzz in the upper register. I think I actually made it worse with my levelling job - it was done with the neck set perfectly flat, and the strings are adding relief. Or perhaps I was having an off day and just did the absolute worst fret job ever. (There's a reason I won't do fret work on anyone elses instruments!) It's got a dual-action LMI rod in it. It's certainly making a difference, but I don't want to torque it dow any more, I'd say it's at it's limit. There was a little creaky noise when made that last bit of turn. Thing is, I've never had to adjust a rod to where I thought the limit was, so that's got me a little annoyed, I guess this neck isn't as rock solid as I would have liked. So I need to dig out my feeler gauges and take a proper measurement; which I'll do tomorrow, but using a notched straightedge and the board, or a the strings and the frets, I'm reading almost a 1/16th inch of relief. Granted, this is eyeballing it with a not great ruler, so I could be a bit off, but it's visually more than I'm used to dealing with. I'm feeling like this is cause for concern. I can raise the action at the bridge and eliminate the buzzing, but then I'm raising the action higher than I'd like. (Although I'm getting the feeling that the low B is rubbery enough I'm going to want it a little higher than I'm used to with a low E.) Plays like a dream on the low B and E, and the other strings up to around the 12th-15th, depending on how the action is set. I've got a piece of heavy duty angle steel (old rack mounting brackets) about 8 inches long (although I could make a longer one) that I lapped flat on the same piece of lapped stone I use for my plane soles - I'm thinking of trying to sue this to level the frets in the upper register under string tension as I've heard discussed; but I wonder if this neck is in too bad a shape and I need to think about re-leveling the board and refretting, taking into consideration what string tension will do to this neck, or perhaps start with a new neck. So I guess long story short - how much relief do you let happen in a neck before you start to be concerned? And how far would you turn a truss rod from dead center? Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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