Most accurate neck relief

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Kmaz, Dec 5, 2017.


  1. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,600
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2002
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, Marin, Chico, CA
    Exactly - thanks, Mark!

    Thanks, Dana O.
     
  2. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

    Messages:
    23,597
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Location:
    Canada-GTA
    Do not just grab a guitar and take it out to play without checking or knowing that the relief has not drifted.
    Finding out while tuning for the first tune that it is rattling or too hard to play is too late.
     
  3. boyce89976

    boyce89976 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,980
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Location:
    TN
    +1. I've gotten in the habit of doing a quick relief check as soon as I put the guitar on... fret the first & 17th and tap the string at the 7th... as long as there is a little gap, It's good the way I have my guitars set up.
     
  4. zul

    zul Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,878
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    nyc
    I keep an allen key in my gig bag.
    Wood moves; adjustments are micro.
    It takes less than a ny minute, so no biggie.
    Most times not needed; enough times it did.
     
  5. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,600
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2002
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, Marin, Chico, CA
    Exactly - It's just pat of my pre-gig checklist: Make sure the guitar is playable, know what tunes are on the setlist, know who's on the gig, remember to take 2 prophylactic Advil - ha ha!

    Thanks, Dana
     
    boyce89976 likes this.
  6. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,568
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Too much OCD around here! Guitars want to be played, not measured ;).
     
    Ayrton likes this.
  7. bob-i

    bob-i Member

    Messages:
    6,777
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location:
    Central NJ
    Relief is not absolute, it changes. The neck is wood and will bend as you press down on it.

    Try this, lay a guitar down on its back, capo at the 1st and 14th fret. Use feeler gauges to measure relief at the 7th fret. Now pick up the guitar and hold it in playing position and measure again. Finally put a finger in the nut and put a little pressure on it, about the amount of pressure you'd use fretting a chord, measure again.

    Are all 3 measurements the same?
     
  8. tjmicsak

    tjmicsak Member

    Messages:
    5,450
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Location:
    Webster, NY
    Dana is correct, but it all depends on how forgiving you want to be with your guitar at any given time.

    The truss rod is a set length and tension on the wood. If the wood dries and shrinks relative to the set and unchanging truss, it effectively is loosening the truss. The strings can now bow the neck from string tension. When the wood takes on humidity and swells, it is working against that set rod length and tension, effectively tightening the rod relative to the wood. Humidity tightens the truss, dryness loosens it, effectively, without moving any adjustment.
     
  9. Ayrton

    Ayrton Member

    Messages:
    1,196
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
    There is no "wrong" in any of this, just varying degrees of precision. Make music, be happy.
     
    m-m-m likes this.
  10. blondestrat

    blondestrat Member

    Messages:
    39
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2017
    To answer the question 'most accurate way', well, lets say you have the most accurate ruler, or device.
    You still need a steady hand to use it.
    Get to know your guitar and adjust the truss rod until it goes back to feeling right.
    You don't need to be super accurate, but measuring in the playing position helps.
    Now these days I kinda eyeball and feel relief, I can tell if it has almost no relief, around .010", or 'too much' for my taste.
    But if you want to get the hang of it, you want to use a method that enables your hands to be steady.
    We are talking ridiculously small measurements here.
    +1 on adjusting often. Some people never turn the truss rod some people do it all the time, different folks different strokes.
     

Share This Page