14+ Acoustic Guitar Neck Relief
With your free hand use the feeler gauge to measure the gap between the bottom of the string and the top of the eighth fret the fret wire itself not the fingerboard which is.
Acoustic guitar neck relief. It also helps to avoid buzz at the frets in the area where the neck joins the body of the guitar. The term Guitar Neck Relief is the amount of bow that is present in a guitar neck. The neck relief forward curvature of the neck that youre after can now be measured with a feeler gauge as a gap between the string and the cusp of the sixth fret. This set-up guide will give some basic measurable parameters needed to keep your acoustic guitar in optimum playing condition.
Ideally we are adjusting the truss rod to render the neck as flat as possible without creating too much string buzz. The terms used to define neck relief are very puzzling. Adding relief increasing the amount of bow to the neck increases the space between the strings and the frets allowing them to vibrate freely without buzzing. Holding the guitar in playing position on your lap with the body perfectly perpendicular to the floor use a finger on your right hand for right-handers to fret the low-E string up the neck at the fret where the neck joins the body.
Neck relief on an acoustic guitar is crucial for not just great tone but for great playability too much more so than on an electric guitar. This dip makes the upper frets more easily playable. Relief in a Guitar Neck. At least a minor amount.
If your guitar has relief in the neck there will be tons of distance around the seventh fret. We term these conditions backward bow and forward bow. Next we hold down the 3rd string at the 12th fret and check the gap at the 6th fret with a feeler gauge. This will create a straight line between the two points which you can measure with feeler gauges.
When we are setting up a new guitar at our shop neck relief is the first measurement taken and the first adjustment we make. Since every guitar neck saddle height nut height neck angle fret and top condition may be slightly different using some average measurements can give any guitar a basic comfortable feel. To measure the relief the first step is placing a capo at the 1st fret to eliminate the nut from consideration. You want a certain amount of forward bow in your guitar neck.
What most guitar manufacturers and luthiers recommend as a rule of thumb is a 010 gap between the string and the sixth fret. Photograph by Dave Hunter. For example if you play hard-strummed chords mostly in the first position you may find a little extra neck relief keeps unwanted buzz away. Download my 20 Top DIY Guitar Maintenance Tools.
String gauge playing style neck and top stiffness can vary from one guitar to the next and as a result so can ideal neck relief. Common problems associated with but not exclusive to neck relief are. Put a capo on your guitars neck at the first fret. It can be a forward or backward bow.
If your neck has a bow the distance around the seventh fret will be much smaller. On average acoustic guitars like 810 thousandths of an inch of relief although you may prefer more or less depending on your playing style. Only two tools are needed to check neck relief a capo and a feeler gauge. This little intentional warp is known as relief.
Neck of a traditional guitar is not straight and is in fact little warped around the sixth fret. It is important to understand that there is no single measurement that will be correct for all acoustic guitars.
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