Dead straight neck reveals fret problems ?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by alanfc, Jun 12, 2006.

  1. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    hi- In a mid-priced guitar, will a dead straight neck reveal imperfections in the the fretwork? That is, not level, a high fret here or there?

    (In my case, a Schecter with very high action and neck perfectly straight on the high/unwound string side. A tiny bit of bow on the heavy string side.. With very high action still, No fretting out on the high strings, but almost a bit of Sitar like tone on fretted notes.)

    THanks
     
  2. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

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    Some necks must have relief in order to sound appealing. The sitar effect is a sure sign the neck needs some relief.
     
  3. Evan Gluck

    Evan Gluck Member

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    Check your saddles, for the sitar sound. It may need fretwork but with high action I would look elsewhere for the sitar sound. Even the nut if cut improperly can affect the fretted note.
    Evan
     
  4. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    OK Thanks -- --
    one thing,
    I looked and listened real close and it looks/sounds like the string is touching the next closest fret whenever I fret a note. For Ex. holding down a D on the G-string...the string is actually touching or alteast vibrating against the 6th fret too. Sounds like its a bit choked off, not real bad but now I'm obsessed. Through an amp its not noticeable. But I'm robbed of sustain I believe.
    I also checked my relief on the high string side and instead of being dead straight like I thought, I could slip a size .010 guitar string under there at the 8th fret. Very close shave, didn't try an .013 string. I don't know if these are clues. I have Graphtech saddles on this tune-o-matic type bridge. They aren't making any loose or buzzing sounds themselves.
    THanks again.
     
  5. stucker

    stucker Member

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    A perfectly straight neck is not a good thing. You generally need some relief - how much depends on your playing style and string choice.

    Neck relief will have the most effect on the lower to middle frets and a small effect on the open strings (especially if your nut is cut on the low side.

    The higher frets (the D on the G string) won't be affected much by relief. So your only options are to raise the action, use thicker gauge strings or use a lighter picking touch.

    There is the possibility of uneven frets and you can use a small straight edge to find out if you have that problem.

    Scott
     
  6. tolstoy

    tolstoy Member

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    Ok, let's take a crack at this.

    A "perfectly straight neck" will almost certainly lead to fret buzz and I'll tell you why. Take a piece of string and pull it tight between your fingers (you can probably use your imagination as actually doing this might require the use of three hands). Now....pluck the string. What do you see? The string will vibrate very widly in the center but just travel a short distance on either end. Your guitar strings act in the exact same way. The move much more in the center of thier length than they do on either end. Because of this you need a little relief to give the string enough room to vibratly freely where it really needs it....right in the middle.

    Now the key to getting it to ring free with minimal buzzing and a good playable action is to optimize the bow of the neck with the angle it maintains in relation to the bridge. I would adjust the truss rod (while the guitar is tuned to pitch) and do 1/4 turn adjustments untill there is just the slightest hint of upbow (also retuning the guitar between each adjustment....if there's a bunch of bow to start, just adjust it till it's close, then start the carefull 1/4 turn/tune/ 1/4 turn adjustment regiment) Now sight down the length of the neck on the bass side looking from the headstock down the neck. Use the strings as a straightedge and compare the run of the strings with the length of the neck. You want to see only a hint of upbow in the neck and the strings should appear to be pretty parallel with the neck starting around the 6 fret the rest of the way towards the bridge. If the strings start to travel towards the neck as it gets closer to the bridge you will still get fret buzz the higher up the neck you play. You need to raise the strings at the bridge untill the strings run pretty parallel to the length of the neck. Once that adjustment is made you should have a nice playable action with minimal fret buzz. I say minimal because there is no guitar in existence that will play like nothing and not buzz a little when you rail on the strings. If that's what you want...start raising the bridge saddles and slapping 11's on there. If I had a dollar for every time someone complained that their guitar was hard to play ,and after I got the guitar adjusted up, immediatly begain to pound the guitar like it owed them money only to complain about a little fret buzz.....I'd never have to do it again.

    Also, if the bridge cannot get physically low enough to compinsate for a bad neck angle you can place a shim under the heal of a bolt on neck guitar. The same problem on a set neck guitar will require a neck reset to fix.

    Hope that helps. Anyone can setup their own guitar (and probably should)! You just can't be scared to try. Just take it easy and keep adjustments small and easy until you get the desired effect. It's all about the bow of the neck and the neck's relation to the bridge. Keep that in mind and think about what needs to be done to correct for problems, and you're all set.

    Tolstoy
     
  7. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    wow thanks-
    you say turn the rod with the strings tight ! ?
    I have been slacking them. Is there a difference - thanks again
     
  8. tolstoy

    tolstoy Member

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    Yeah, adjust the truss rod with the strings tuned to pitch. It's the tension placed by the strings on the neck that causes the neck to bow. If you loosen the strings the neck doesn't bow as much, but as soon as you tune them up.....it bows the neck. To get it right for playing, adjust it while the guitar is in tune.

    Tolstoy
     
  9. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    Wow OK thanks !
     
  10. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    I've done a second adjustment on this with your idea of the string as a straight edge. I drew a crude picture of what the string to neck angles look like. SOrt of rough and exaggerated but you'll get the idea. Also, my bridge is almost all the way to its lowest. I don't want to take this into a shop but just make it a little better. Its a set neck Schecter with a tune-omatic bridge & Tailpiece setup.
    the pic, the top angled line is the strings and the bottom line is the fretboard.:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v498/alanfc/neckstring.jpg

    so I want to make some more turns on the rod gradually , so that this angle closes in more, ideally parallel yes?

    thanks
     
  11. Soapbarstrat

    Soapbarstrat Senior Member

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    If .002" relief at the 6th, 7th, or 8th fret area is considered "dead straight", then I can say I get by just fine with a dead straight neck and low action (typically a couple thou over 1/32" on the high E, 12th fret, and 3/64" on the low E, 12th fret.
    As far as the vibrating string needing max space in its center goes, well, the string action is a lot higher at the body end of the neck, so that's how the string gets more room to vibrate at it's mid-point, I guess.
     
  12. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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