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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Strat neck Relief

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I was wondering how most people prefer to set their necks, some relief or as close to straight as possible? I know there are views on both ends but I feel like it plays more consistently up and down the neck if it’s dead straight, though it does feel stiffer.

As close to straight as possible for me. That being said, it depends on the guitar. My Hallmark 65 Custom and MIJ Edwards Les Paul copy are pretty close to dead straight (for the sake of full disclosure, IMO, all necks need at least a hint of relief to play right); my two archtop hollowbodies (Gretsch 6116 PTV and a Guild NS 175B) like a hair more, but not much. I like the feel of a straight neck set-up. I hate the feel of necks with alot of relief that have that "valley" in the middle of the fretboard. In my experience, many guitars are set up with too much relief to compensate for super light strings and less than acceptable fret work.

That’s what I was hoping to hear. I have my strat neck set up almost dead straight, pretty much flat on the treble side and a touch of relief happening under the wound strings. I play daddario 11’s but in a month or so I’d like to go to my tech for a fret level and have him set it up for 12’s, just gotta get that left hand strength back up before I go to 12!

Chmason85 wrote:

That’s what I was hoping to hear. I have my strat neck set up almost dead straight, pretty much flat on the treble side and a touch of relief happening under the wound strings. I play daddario 11’s but in a month or so I’d like to go to my tech for a fret level and have him set it up for 12’s, just gotta get that left hand strength back up before I go to 12!

How do you get more relief on the bass side?

If I get fret buzz in the range of frets 2 through 6 on any of the highest three strings I increase relief. If I get no fret buzz there I decrease relief until either buzz occurs or the neck is straight. At the same time I try to minimize string height without going more than a little under 1/16" at fret 12.

With most guitars I need to adjust relief every few months, with changes in weather, presumably humidity. The guitar tells me to adjust relief by either the relief increasing spontaneously or by buzz appearing. Most of the electric guitars that don't need adjustments in relief over the year either have no wood in their necks (I.e., Steinberger USA guitars) or contain two tension rods (i.e., Brian Moore).

The Insanitizers! http://www.insanitizers.com

Last edited: Jan 06, 2021 11:11:30

I took my strat to my tech yesterday, he’s a magician when it comes to setups and repairs, I should have it back tomorrow. I thought it was okay but he said it played like crap lol! He likes to do what I wanted, which is the neck as straight as possible with the lowest possible action. I have him putting on a Daddario 12-54 set and he’s also dressing the frets, especially the fret ends which were a bit sharp from the factory. I’ll report back tomorrow, I can’t wait!

As a side question, anyone have any recommendations for a way to beef up the strat’s bridge sound without changing pickups? Is there a good boost pedal out there that’s not too expensive? I was looking at the MXR micro amp. Fwiw I play through a 68 custom PRRI.

Chmason85 wrote:

I took my strat to my tech yesterday, he’s a magician when it comes to setups and repairs, I should have it back tomorrow. I thought it was okay but he said it played like crap lol! He likes to do what I wanted, which is the neck as straight as possible with the lowest possible action. I have him putting on a Daddario 12-54 set and he’s also dressing the frets, especially the fret ends which were a bit sharp from the factory. I’ll report back tomorrow, I can’t wait!

As a side question, anyone have any recommendations for a way to beef up the strat’s bridge sound without changing pickups? Is there a good boost pedal out there that’s not too expensive? I was looking at the MXR micro amp. Fwiw I play through a 68 custom PRRI.

For the bridge pu, I like adding the little steel plate to the bottom. There are several manufacturers that make them like Fralin and Callaham. I think they're usually around $13 or so. It gives it a slight oomph (think tele pickup but it's not going to take you that far). It's not a night and
difference, but it does thicken it a little. It's cheap, easy and reversible should you want. There tons of pedals you can try, but I figured that I would share this.

cirecc wrote:

Chmason85 wrote:

I took my strat to my tech yesterday, he’s a magician when it comes to setups and repairs, I should have it back tomorrow. I thought it was okay but he said it played like crap lol! He likes to do what I wanted, which is the neck as straight as possible with the lowest possible action. I have him putting on a Daddario 12-54 set and he’s also dressing the frets, especially the fret ends which were a bit sharp from the factory. I’ll report back tomorrow, I can’t wait!

As a side question, anyone have any recommendations for a way to beef up the strat’s bridge sound without changing pickups? Is there a good boost pedal out there that’s not too expensive? I was looking at the MXR micro amp. Fwiw I play through a 68 custom PRRI.

For the bridge pu, I like adding the little steel plate to the bottom. There are several manufacturers that make them like Fralin and Callaham. I think they're usually around $13 or so. It gives it a slight oomph (think tele pickup but it's not going to take you that far). It's not a night and
difference, but it does thicken it a little. It's cheap, easy and reversible should you want. There tons of pedals you can try, but I figured that I would share this.

Thanks for the tip! I’ll check those out. I do have a Dimarzio Area 61 I’m considering putting in the bridge, but I’m gonna try everything else first. I just pulled the trigger yesterday on a JHS Milkman echo/boost pedal, I’m really stoked for that and it’s arriving Monday. The slight boost might do the trick right there.

Just a few thoughts on boost and tone. I am working my way through a recording that has three guitar parts. Two of which have my standard setup and one I had to go from guitar to tank to 63 bandmaster using the bridge pickup. I needed the cleanest sound possible. Typically, my chain includes an always on boost that is very clean but adds a bit of a treble boost. Not much at all, just enough to enhance drip presence. This is all going into the Quilter Pro Block with the gain and limiter set fairly high. This gives me a Randy Holden sound without making enemies in my house and neighborhood.

Recently I was experimenting with boosting that tone for intermittent leads. Over the years I have tried boosting for lead with things such as my EP Boost but always found it cut the drip boost. Recently I put my Soul Food at the head of the chain and set it to full boost, no grit and neutral tone. I have sold all my overdrive pedals recently but the Soul Food will stay.

I have always found that getting that sound with just the bridge pickup, a tank and a clean fender amp to be difficult at lower volumes. I much prefer lower volumes unless I'm working with the band. Then I want it loud loud loud!

The Kahuna Kings

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kahuna-Kings/459752090818447

https://thekahunakings.bandcamp.com/releases

stratdancer wrote:

Just a few thoughts on boost and tone. I am working my way through a recording that has three guitar parts. Two of which have my standard setup and one I had to go from guitar to tank to 63 bandmaster using the bridge pickup. I needed the cleanest sound possible. Typically, my chain includes an always on boost that is very clean but adds a bit of a treble boost. Not much at all, just enough to enhance drip presence. This is all going into the Quilter Pro Block with the gain and limiter set fairly high. This gives me a Randy Holden sound without making enemies in my house and neighborhood.

Recently I was experimenting with boosting that tone for intermittent leads. Over the years I have tried boosting for lead with things such as my EP Boost but always found it cut the drip boost. Recently I put my Soul Food at the head of the chain and set it to full boost, no grit and neutral tone. I have sold all my overdrive pedals recently but the Soul Food will stay.

I have always found that getting that sound with just the bridge pickup, a tank and a clean fender amp to be difficult at lower volumes. I much prefer lower volumes unless I'm working with the band. Then I want it loud loud loud!
I used to have a soul food! I had a different rig at the time and didn’t use it as much so I sold it, however I do still have my EHX Glove, which they claim is like a fulltone OCD. I have to play around with that on the settings you mentioned with your soul food. My intention with the Milkman is to have the boost always on since it seems to be a pretty mild boost. It should come in the mail today so we’ll see. I have a pickup I can throw in the bridge that I love if it doesn’t work out like I want, a Dimarzio Area 61. I really like the Area series pickups.

Don’t know why my response didn’t post, I’ll try again

Chmason85 wrote:

Don’t know why my response didn’t post, I’ll try again

I was able to read your thoughts. Man, we can be tone chasers! But it's so much fun!

The Kahuna Kings

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kahuna-Kings/459752090818447

https://thekahunakings.bandcamp.com/releases

Hahaha

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