I have read that such athoritiypes believe in a flat neck V/S relief...Lookin' to see what others have to say about this subject..My experience...without complicated neck jigs,and with proper working skills, I can make a guitar play incredibly well , according to my customers....My question...If great fret work is done, and you are giving a neck relief,...Does that not cancel out your fret work in the middle of the neck...Because, if there is relief in the neck,,Is there not a piggy in the middle???

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All players think they want a dead flat neck and the strings as lowest that I can set them. Every time I ask what they want and give them flat and they go home and complain that it buzzes and the don't like it. I tell them to bring it back and all I have to do is tweak the truss-rod and give them a small relief which gives them a little more string height and they are happy. You need some string relief to get it to play in tune. It is a long explanation to show you this So cant with out setting down with you and drawing the finger board and string height. I don't think I have convinced you but just believe me.

Hi Ron I set my electric guitars with as close to zero relief as possable - mabt 5-6 thousands -- the distance between the fret and the under side of the strings are as
follows-- first fret .060 and the 17th fret 90 to 100 thousands-
sounds a lil extream but I havent had any complaints so far--
now for acoustics bout the same relief first fret .070 and the 12th fret 100-105
it works for me and I will do the same till I get a complaint
hope this helps be safe
I prefer a neck as straight as possible. Necks with a truss rod are easier to keep straight, those with non adjustable reinforcement will normally have some relief, .006" to as much as .018".
I have no problems playing them either way. With a straight neck I just install a proper heigth saddle to eliminate any buzzing.
Of course, all fret tops must be level.

It is a matter of physics that one usually needs some relief in the fingerboard. I say "usually" because there seems to always be an exception to any rule. Martin guitar Co. specifies .004" - .008" relief at the 7th fret. I find that more aggressive players can benefit from more than that, often .012" or so. This information is for acoustic instruments, I will defer to the wisdom and experience of the electric wizards regarding electric guitars. But in the final analysis physics is physics.
The vibrating string describes an arc. The smallest clearance between the vibrating string and each fret defines the lowest possible action which will not cause buzzing. Variation from that clearance means either higher action than possible, or potential buzzes. A dead flat neck will have one or possibly both of those conditions.

Anything that increases the amplitude of that arc requires more relief- lower tension strings, more aggressive playing, or tuning down. You can compensate by raising the saddle, but by having proper relief instead you ensure the lowest possible action along the entire fretboard. A very soft player, on the other hand, can get by with essentially no relief, because the arc of the vibrating string is so shallow.
You can also raise the action at the nut and that will help with the back buzz, but that sucks just as bad. Greg's got it right. Building in some relief ends up giving the slickest action. Lucky steel string buillders get to use a truss rod, anathema in the classical world.

You may be able to get by, by raising the action at the nut on a classical guitar, but not on a steel string, unless you don't mind really sore fingers and a guitar that's hard to play in the first position.

That was the point of the post. Raising the action at the nut sucks on any guitar. No decent player would stand for it. It would only be the course of last resort for a classical guitar if the owner or builder didn't want to yank the frets, create some belly or relief at least on the bass side, and then refret. Maybe there's a bumper sticker here somewhere? About guitar makers and bellies.... Forget it

Another thought. Raising the action at the nut, only stops buzzing , when the string is played open. Once it is fretted, the nut is out of the picture, it will still buzz when fretted. But, if you raise the saddle, that will eliminate buzzing.


Jim, there can also be a problem of buzzing behind the fret if the nut action is too low. It is called back buzz and that's the source of it and putting relief in the fingerboard is also a solution for back buzz. It can occur even with an action that is high at the saddle but on a flat fingerboard.

Hi Bob, Did I understand you to say that : You hate a high nut , but it can produce some extra bow and so correct bad frets or buzzing ?I had not tripped on that possibility. So the extra pull of a hi nut can add bow ! Cool if you can elaborate on that , Thanks Len .
No, Len, that's not it at all. It's all about the angles between the fretted note and either the nut or the saddle. A higher nut increase the angle, minimizing the risk of buzz between the finger and the nut. A bow in the fingerboard opens that angle just a bit and allows for a lower nut for easier playing close to the nut.



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