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  Neck Relief - how to calculate or plan for?

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PostPosted: 07/10/2019 at 11:32 AM    Post subject: Neck Relief - how to calculate or plan for?


I am in the early planning stages of attempting an all-aluminum bass build, and one of the biggest question marks I have is how to calculate (and build in) neck relief. The instrument I have planned is a fairly standard 34" scale neck, probably echoing Peavey T-40 dimensions in terms of string spacing and width but with a thinner depth profile overall. It will be hollow with an attached aluminum fretboard, held on mechanically in the manner done by Obstructures instruments.

One of the big blind points I have in the whole process is how to build in relief. My initial thought was to build a totally flat fingerboard (radiused, but with no relief lengthwise) and machine the frets themselves for relief, but I'm not sure how well that would work. Additionally, what I don't really know is how much deflection to expect from the string tension. Perhaps this would build in the relief I would expect? I will be doing this work on a CNC and designing the neck in Fusion 360 so I can definitely add relief... whether it's needed or not is the question.

I've heard that many aluminum neck guitars like the EGCs and Travis Beans were built with no neck relief, I'm just not sure I can get away with that on a bass. Any advice would be appreciated!

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PostPosted: 08/10/2019 at 03:16 AM    Post subject: RE:Neck Relief - how to calculate or plan for?

Hey, I was initially worried about this as I have been playing around with my own design for a couple of years now (not a bass though) My design uses a double channel for lightness and a synthetic wood fingerboard, I have a bunch of cnc prototypes and to be honest I took the "suck it and see" approach re neck relief based on the fact that my body weight didn't deflect the neck a great deal. I will string one up and let it sit for a while. I did see a pic of Travis Bean's being pre "relieved" on a hydraulic press which made me think twice about what I was doing! Matt Hall at Obstructures is a brilliant chap and may be the best person to get an answer from as they have just (re) released their bass design.....good luck!

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