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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member P.Walker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    943

    Some thoughts about Truss Rods/Necks and optimum amount of relief.

    Hello all,

    I'm back in the Les Paul game with a lightly used 2007 R7. Got rid of everything else I never used. Just the R7 and a brand new EJ strat. I figure if I can't get it done with those two, I only have myself to blame.

    So back on topic, I've been wondering about truss rods, neck wood strength, relief, and stability.

    Here's a couple of pictures of Les Pauls (reissues, originals, etc.) *Apologies to original owners of these photos as I only intend to use them for discussion purposes, but if needed, I will take them down.



    This is mine:


    I know the setup specs of my guitar, so here goes:
    Neck: dead straight (measured with a straightedge and gauge), maybe .001"
    Action at 12th: 4/64th on both sides
    String Gauge: .010-.046

    For my playing style, and what I believe and know to be the most ideal setup for a flat radius fretboard guitar like a Les Paul, assuming perfect frets and level fretboard, this gives me best playability, tone, and intonation. I was once a "more relief" guy, but after reading from many highly regarded techs and pro players and how so many of them advocated and used dead straight-or close necks, I tried it for myself, and I've seen the light. For reference: http://www.bryankimsey.com/setup/neck_relief_1.htm

    When I straightened the neck, I didn't feel too much resistance, so I guess I'm not in trouble. But...

    1. Considering my setup specs, does the thread stick too far past the nut? (I can't really rely on the reference pictures, because I don't know their setup specs). Is the thread poking through the nut indicative of how hard the rod is working beyond normal tolerances?

    2. How do I "check" that I still have room beyond what I have right now? In case I go up to heavier strings and flatwounds, I'd like to have peace of mind that I can straighten the neck further.

    3. Would an appropriate test be to loosen the nut entirely and measure the relief with just the neck sans truss rod holding the strings? What would be an acceptable measurement in such case?

    4. Update: A slight variant on scenario 3. I removed all the strings and loosened the truss rod nut so that I could check the straightness of the neck. The straightedge that I have isn't notched so I'm measuring the distance between the straightedge and the top of the 8th fret. It is at 0.50mm ~ .0197" so the neck is slightly forward bowed in its natural state. I've read from a few builders that some intentionally build a slight forward bow into the neck so that they reduce chance of backbow but not so much that it can't be straightened out by the truss rod. Is this normal?

    I once had a bad experience with an ES-335 that had a severely bowed neck (too much relief that couldn't be adjusted by the truss) that I had it heat-treated, but it still kept on shifting so I got concerned and don't use it anymore. This R7 neck doesn't move at all, which I assume is a good thing.
    I guess all of this sounds borderline insane, but I guess that's why we're here right?...
    I also realize that this might be more appropriate for the tech section, but I thought it would get more coverage here. Apologies if I did wrong.

    Thanks all,
    Peter
    Last edited by P.Walker; 04-08-16 at 03:17 AM.

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member Maxmc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Melbourne Australia
    Posts
    552

    Re: Some thoughts about Truss Rods/Necks and optimum amount of relief.

    Yes, I have found the all but dead straight neck works a treat not just on my Les Paul but also on my PRS.

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member J.D.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    9,486

    Re: Some thoughts about Truss Rods/Necks and optimum amount of relief.

    It is not uncommon for the threads to stick out past the top of the nut, but if you get to a point where you need additional adjustment you will need to remove the nut, add a washer, then replace the nut. Just don't force it. You will easily know when you are out of adjustment as the truss rod nut should not need any more than relatively light hand torque to add tension

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member Fried okra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Hill Country, Mississippi
    Posts
    3,035

    Re: Some thoughts about Truss Rods/Necks and optimum amount of relief.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.D. View Post
    It is not uncommon for the threads to stick out past the top of the nut, but if you get to a point where you need additional adjustment you will need to remove the nut, add a washer, then replace the nut. Just don't force it. You will easily know when you are out of adjustment as the truss rod nut should not need any more than relatively light hand torque to add tension
    +1. Did it several years ago.
    Last edited by Fried okra; Today at 00:00. Reason: No reason, just felt like making it look like I edited it.



    "I just try to keep my fingers between the binding". Tom Wittrock

    I’m fond of well loved guitars, you know, well played. You can keep all the mint ones, give me one that has bled for its master." - Fried Okra

  5. #5

    Re: Some thoughts about Truss Rods/Necks and optimum amount of relief.

    Quote Originally Posted by P.Walker View Post
    Hello all,



    I once had a bad experience with an ES-335 that had a severely bowed neck (too much relief that couldn't be adjusted by the truss) that I had it heat-treated, but it still kept on shifting so I got concerned and don't use it anymore. This R7 neck doesn't move at all, which I assume is a good thing.
    I guess all of this sounds borderline insane, but I guess that's why we're here right?...
    I also realize that this might be more appropriate for the tech section, but I thought it would get more coverage here. Apologies if I did wrong.

    Thanks all,
    Peter

    .005" of relief from 3d fret to 8th fret. Works just fine for all my custom shop guitars, LPs, archtops. Same with my GB-10 and PRS CU24.

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