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  #1  
Old 01-08-2018, 06:56 PM
hearsedriver hearsedriver is offline
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Default Neck Relief: How Much is Too Much ?

Right now, I have my guitar setup with .015" of relief but, it actually sounds better with little to no buzzing set to .020-.025". I am a hard driving bluegrass player so, .010" or less just doesn't work for me. My 12th fret action is 7/64"-5/64" so, its plenty high. Nut action is medium to high too. So, any reason not to have .020" of relief?
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:26 PM
Wozer Wozer is offline
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while I'm sure many will disagree, I see no issues with what you describe, in fact I've been setting up my guitars that way for ages. this does result in a different intonated saddle, but it does 'solve' the issue of being heavy handed. IMO it really comes down to setting up an instrument for a particular player as opposed to some mathematically perfect scenario where it JUST MUST be that way or else (and yeah, I've dealt with a tech or 2 who were that way)
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:37 PM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
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If you like the way it plays, then it's fine...
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Old 01-08-2018, 09:16 PM
John Arnold John Arnold is offline
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My only issue is the method used to determine that you need that much relief. If you are cranking the truss rod without adjusting saddle height, then you are not determining the ideal relief (which is normally between 0.005" and 0.010").
The only way to get it right is to check for buzzing all along the neck. If the tendency to buzz is the same all the the way up, then the relief is correct. Too much relief will cause more buzzing on the upper frets, while too little relief will cause more buzzing near the nut.
Loosening the rod causes the action to raise. If you loosen the rod enough for 0.020"+ relief AND lower the saddle to the point that buzzing starts, I am pretty sure you will see that the buzzing is more pronounced past the 7th fret. Of course, if you never play up there, then it doesn't matter.
The same applies to nut height. There is no reason to have the nut much higher than the frets, because a capo on the first fret creates a new 'nut' that is fret height. If it doesn't buzz when capoed, then it will not buzz on open strings when the nut is fret height. Anything higher just make the guitar unnecessarily hard to play, unless you only play open strings.
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Old 01-08-2018, 09:31 PM
hearsedriver hearsedriver is offline
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When I adjusted the saddle height, I did it with the neck perfectly flat. (7/64-5/64). With relief set at .010", I get buzzing when capoed at the 3rd-5th frets. If I loosen the truss rod to the point that the buzzing goes away, relief is around .020-.022". My frets are in perfect condition and perfectly level. I agree with Wozer. Im not sure the .010" standard is a one size fits all specification.
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Old 01-08-2018, 09:52 PM
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martingitdave martingitdave is offline
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Default Neck Relief: How Much is Too Much ?

I have my bluegrass dreadnought setup with higher action and more than 0.01” relief. This allows me to get pretty loud. The downside is that it’s a little harder to play up the neck. And, the intonation will suffer slightly. With my other “singer/songwriter” guitar, I keep the relief around 0.01” because it makes it easier to play. I use 13’s on both.
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Old 01-08-2018, 10:12 PM
mirwa mirwa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hearsedriver View Post
Right now, I have my guitar setup with .015" of relief but, it actually sounds better with little to no buzzing set to .020-.025". I am a hard driving bluegrass player so, .010" or less just doesn't work for me. My 12th fret action is 7/64"-5/64" so, its plenty high. Nut action is medium to high too. So, any reason not to have .020" of relief?
It is whatever works for you, no one size fits all here.

I typically set relief at .004" to start with, that is what I like when playing, the relief and action is then adjusted to suit the players style.

If .020" works for you, go for it.

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Old 01-09-2018, 06:10 AM
hearsedriver hearsedriver is offline
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I really appreciate the replies from everyone. I am surprised that I didnt get slammed for even thinking about using more than .010" of relief
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:47 AM
redir redir is offline
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+1 on what John said about Nut height. There is no 'action' at the nut hight like there is at the 12th fret. The 12th fret is sort of the standard for measuring the action that you prefer and it can be low, medium, high or what ever you want. But there is no such thing as 'preferred action' at the nut. It makes no sense to go higher then is necessary at the nut and that is typically as high as the frets in front of it. I make exception for hard hitting players and those who like to slack key and might go a hair higher on the bass strings. The open strings to tend to vibrate in the biggest circles. But again that's still 'as necessary' and not adjusted to preference, if that makes sense.
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Old 01-11-2018, 07:49 AM
Todd Yates Todd Yates is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hearsedriver View Post
When I adjusted the saddle height, I did it with the neck perfectly flat. (7/64-5/64). With relief set at .010", I get buzzing when capoed at the 3rd-5th frets. If I loosen the truss rod to the point that the buzzing goes away, relief is around .020-.022". My frets are in perfect condition and perfectly level. I agree with Wozer. Im not sure the .010" standard is a one size fits all specification.
Go over John Arnold's post again. Your approach to setting the saddle height at near zero relief, then adding relief later is a counterproductive approach. When you go back and add relief without changing anything else, you're adding relief and raising the action height as a result. Set the relief between 0.005" and 0.010", then lower the nut slots to as near fret height as possible, then adjust the saddle. If you have buzzing raise it. If you have no buzzing and the action feels to stiff, lower it until you get buzzing, then go back up a bit. You may use a couple of saddle blanks in the process.

I think you'll find you can eliminate buzzing and have an easier playing guitar if you use that approach. IME the assumption that lots of relief is necessary for hard playing is incorrect. And FWIW, I live right in the middle of Bluegrass country so I'm not unaccustomed to pickers with a heavy right hand.
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  #11  
Old 01-11-2018, 08:28 AM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
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As long as your string heights don't decrease toward the bridge, you'll be OK..
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