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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Differing results measuring neck relief

Previous 20 Messages  
vomer
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Oct 17th, 2018 11:45 AM   Edit   Profile  

Some thoughts... Are you measuring with the guitar in the same position every time? I.e. flat on the bench or playing position.

When you use the string as a measure is it tight, as if it isn't it will rise a bit where it bendsover each fret. Even if it is tight, it might still be this effect causing the difference.

The notched edge is measuring the board not the frets, which will be a different measurement/height if the frets have ever been skimmed. But I'd usually have expected the opposite result, levelled frets making up for an uneven board. Could you have a high last fret?



Pinetree
Moderator Emeritus
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NW Pennsylvania

Oct 17th, 2018 11:47 AM   Edit   Profile  

Use the notched rule to measure the board, and the feeler gauge for the relief.



littleuch
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Ocala, Florida

I do my own stunts, but never on purpose
Oct 17th, 2018 12:10 PM   Edit   Profile  

"Are you measuring with the guitar in the same position every time? I.e. flat on the bench or playing position."

Either/or, I generally get the same result.

"When you use the string as a measure is it tight"

As in, tuned to pitch? Yes.

"Could you have a high last fret?"

Possibly although my fret rocker reveals nothing.

"Use the notched rule to measure the board, and the feeler gauge for the relief."

I'm not sure if this any different than what I am doing unless I'm missing something in the explanation. I understand measuring the relief on the board may produce different visuals than relief between the bottom of the string and top of a fret. I just threw that variable in there as it seems be yet another result using 3 different methods.



(This message was last edited by littleuch at 02:13 PM, Oct 17th, 2018)

Cal-Woody

USA/California

Why do I keep fixing things that work?
Oct 17th, 2018 12:24 PM   Edit   Profile  

I usually measure from the first fret capoed to the 15th or 17th fret to get my relief set.
It is just a few thousandths being measured and checked the gap between the 7th feet and the bottom of the string.
With the notched straight edge, you are actually checking how flat the fretboard is. When you have your relief set correctly, there will be some gap under the straight edge. To use your feet rocker, the notched straight edge is used to make sure that the fretboard is flat and then can see the variances of your frets with the fret rocker. If you are doing a quick fret level, then use a straight edge on top of the frets to get them as flat as possible, then sand them, followed by a crown and polish job.

DrKev
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Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Oct 17th, 2018 02:31 PM   Edit   Profile  

The strings never touch the board, the strings only care about the fret tops. So only measure the relief on the fret tops. Measuring relief of the board under a notched edge tells us nothing useful as frets can be levelled on a non-level neck. If when measuring the fret tops there is a difference between straight edge and string measurements, then either the string or the straight edge is not straight.

"I usually measure from the first fret capoed to the 15th or 17th fret to get my relief set."

Me too. Doesn't really matter though as long as you know what the apporpiate measurements are for the method you choose.

"Are you measuring with the guitar in the same position every time?"

Yes. Playing position preferred and NEVER on its back with head or neck supported on a rest. Gravity is not a myth.

Mick Reid
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Oct 17th, 2018 05:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

First, I get what you're saying about the notched edge "on" the frets, littleuch.
And I know this was done as a curiosity and not how you would do a set up for reals.

Presumably the outside edge of notched straight edge should be just as "straight" as an un-notched one.

"Playing position preferred and NEVER on its back with head or neck supported on a rest."

I do mine standing the guitar upright on the bench. This way the 8th fret is just about at eye level (for me) and there's no downward stress on the neck.

Just thought I'd throw that out there.


wrnchbndr
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New Jersey

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Oct 18th, 2018 07:56 AM   Edit   Profile  

The notched straight edge is a totally useless tool for setting up a guitar. The level of the fingerboard is completely irrelevant. The tool itself has a purpose but the needs for it are obscure and rare. For the purpose of setting up a guitar, the only relief measurement that matters is the relief of the field of frets.

You might consider using a notched straight edge prior to performing a fret leveling operation but other than that, the tool is totally useless. The notched straight edge and the measurement or observation of relief have no relationship.



Peegoo
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Oct 18th, 2018 08:23 AM   Edit   Profile  

"The strings never touch the board, the strings only care about the fret tops."

THIS. And what wrnchbndr added.

You'll do better to use the notched straight edge on the frets' tops (bump it 1/4" toward the bridge and it rests atop the frets), or just use a plain ol' straight edge.

Fretboard wood that has been planed and sanded to perfection will, over time, develop inconsistencies in the surface because it's a dead tree. Wood moves around as temperature and humidity affect it. Add tension and compression to the mix, and all bets are off as far as maintaining a perfectly flat wood surface goes. Tension and compression also affect non-wood fretboards like phenolic ("Ebonol"), etc.

This is also why frets need to be leveled and polished after installation. Two or three thousandths of an inch difference between two frets' heights can often make the difference between a good-playing guitar and a great-playing guitar.


littleuch
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I do my own stunts, but never on purpose
Oct 18th, 2018 08:32 AM   Edit   Profile  

Ok, I'll work backwards here. I bought the notched straight edge when I decided to try my own fret leveling and bought other tools to accomplish this. I'm aware that listing it's results in a neck relief post probably derailed it a bit. When setting up my guitars I generally start by slotting it first, looking for any abnormalities, then lifting/sliding it over so that it now functions as a straight edge resting on top of the frets (as Geno describes above). Resting this notched straight edge on a variety of known flat surfaces I'm fairly confident it's a functional straight edge. Using it as designed (to measure the fretboard surface) DID on one occasion help me identify a suspected lift on the upper fretboard where there was too much material on the back of the fretboard coming in contact with the pickguard.

So my original query should have been "why the difference in relief when measuring with a straight edge vs using the string". In practice I'll measure relief either from a sitting/playing position or like Mick said, guitar on bench and vertical. I do have a layman's knowledge of gravity :-p

I don't know the actual variances since my feeler gauges disappeared, I typically use a high E guitar string and tweak by feel from there. I do know the straight edge I use shows the neck flatter than the tried and true string method. This is the case on multiple guitars. In the end using the string produces the most satisfactory result so I should probably shelve the straight edge.

Thanks for the replies.

(This message was last edited by littleuch at 10:34 AM, Oct 18th, 2018)

Peegoo
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Oct 18th, 2018 09:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

You're correct; using the string is the best way to go, because that's what's on the guitar when you play it. If a guy hopped onstage with a guitar and a straight edge, I'd leave :o)

The variance between the straight edge and the string on the fret tops is because when you depress a string to a fret (capo at the first fret), the string isn't perfectly and consistently flat like the straight edge.

The reason is steel (the string) doesn't bend in a tight pointy V shape; it flexes, which creates a small radius at the point where it bends. This causes the bottom of the string to be higher than the plane created by the fret tops. The harder you fret a string, the higher it goes. Vomer mentions this above.

This is something that I've been aware of for years, but I've never kicked it around with other techs.

Anyone else noticed this?

I'll draw ya a picture!

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 11:26 AM, Oct 18th, 2018)

Leftee
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Oct 18th, 2018 09:28 AM   Edit   Profile  

I don’t use a capo (don’t even own one). I press the low E to the first fret ON the fret, not behind it. Same with the highest fret.

I don’t measure relief. I trust my eyes. All 4 of them.

I’ve always done this because of that which you portray in your diagram, Geno.

I’ve never thought about it any deeper than that, though. So, great discussion.

Edited to add:

I typically don’t care about the fretboard unless something about it is manifesting itself in the frets that would go beyond leveling said frets.

(This message was last edited by Leftee at 11:33 AM, Oct 18th, 2018)

littleuch
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Ocala, Florida

I do my own stunts, but never on purpose
Oct 18th, 2018 09:50 AM   Edit   Profile  

Interesting. I just "lightly capo'd" one guitar on top of the first fret so as to only make contact as if depressing with a finger. That would free up a hand to actually used a feeler gauge, etc.

Mick Reid
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Oct 18th, 2018 04:30 PM   Edit   Profile  

Wow.
Combine P's, Lefftee's and littleuch's last posts and that's what I've been doing for a while now.

I don't now why other than it made sense to me the first time I did it. And like P, I've never mentioned it here or anywhere.

Interesting indeed.

cue "enlightened choir" voices: Waaaahhhhhhhh!


edit to add: I do use a G7th capo and feeler gauges.

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 06:33 PM, Oct 18th, 2018)

Peegoo
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They warned you

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Oct 18th, 2018 05:46 PM   Edit   Profile  

I use a cheepo Keyser Pro-Am capo (link below) because I can dial the tension very accurately so the pressure distorts the string path as little as possible.

Install the capo and lightly snug the thumbscrew.

Perfect.

Keyser Soze! Keyser Soze!

Leftee
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VA

Oct 18th, 2018 05:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

I may be a bit backwoods, but my guitars play well.
Maybe I otter buy a capo.

(This message was last edited by Leftee at 07:34 AM, Oct 19th, 2018)

littleuch
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Ocala, Florida

I do my own stunts, but never on purpose
Oct 18th, 2018 06:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

I use the same capo, capeetan.

Peegoo
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They warned you

about me in Bible school
Oct 18th, 2018 07:43 PM   Edit   Profile  

Excellent. These are around six bucks.

DrKev
Contributing Member
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Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Oct 19th, 2018 04:48 AM   Edit   Profile  

I use Fender smart capo which goes on only as hard as I feel like squeezing.

Fender Smart Capo

DrKev
Contributing Member
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Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Oct 19th, 2018 05:26 AM   Edit   Profile  

SCIENCE!

I just did a test. I looked to see if could see a difference in readings between...

1) capo directly on the 1st fret
2) capo lightly behind 1st fret
3) capo tightly squeezed behind 1st fret.

The answer is definitely yes, when capo is squeezing tightly behind fret the reading will be a little high, perhaps as much as 0.002" / 0.05 mm. With light pressure capo behind 1st fret is indistinguishable from on the fret but capo/finger directly on fret also damps accidental string vibration and perhaps helps a little.

Directly on fret is how I'll do everything from now on.

FWIW, I capo/fret 1st and 17th and measure at 7th.

I'm glad we had this little chat! Thank you, everybody!


Leftee
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VA

Oct 19th, 2018 05:36 AM   Edit   Profile  

Groovy!

Previous 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Differing results measuring neck relief




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