I pieced together an electric guitar from a DIY kit, after two months I still have a problem with the neck and the truss-rod, when I measure the neck straightness by pressing the first and last fret on the low E string for example, the string touches almost all the first frets, like 5-6, there is no space under the string and first four frets are buzzing; I have loosened the truss rod to his limit, it's a bit better but looks like it can't make it, apparently the neck still needs more relief; is the lower back part of the neck maybe too thick?

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I was thinking if I sand the lower back part of the neck that touches the guitar body to make it thinner can the neck have some relief? Or maybe it's faulty(back bow)?


1 Answer 1


If the neck needs relief, then that's what it needs - & I agree. Tough to really tell from the low rez photos [which I've had in photoshop to examine in best detail I can] but I'd agree relief is too shallow from what I can see.

Can't get a better line than this - Photoshop is a bit of a blunt instrument at times, on low res photos…

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There's nothing you can do from the neck joint. The action above the octave is massive [or perhaps I should spell that 'masseeev'] and neither shimming it nor shaving it is going to fix the relief.
Because it's so high, then you'll likely need to shim it, if you've no more room on the action at the bridge. But just that will not fix the relief. tbh, it does look like it's canted forwards a bit at the joint, but not as much as the action is out.

A luthier might be even tempted to steam press the neck over a day or so to pull some shape into it. Assuming you don't have that kind of equipment available, then your choices are a bit limited & much slower.
You could put higher gauge strings on it & see if they'll pull it forward, or you could sit a weight in the centre to do the same. The trouble with this is a) you have to be a bit gentle with it & b) it will take ages - weeks not days - & it will always spring back a bit afterwards.

I might be tempted really to see a luthier about it & not try to DIY it.

  • I'll try to put higher gauge strings for a while but what if I make the neck thinner about 1 millimeter (for instance) near the body pocket? Can be a good thing to get more relief? Thank you for the advice in any case.
    – Giac1
    Jun 25, 2023 at 22:19
  • 1
    Why would you want to shave it if the action's already too high & in another comment you said it's as low as it will go. It needs shimming; but that's a different issue to the relief. To get the relief, you have to bend the neck; there's no other way. You have two distinct problems here.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 26, 2023 at 7:35
  • Ok so if I sand the neck I only make it all worse, I should put a shim in the lower side of body pocket - that means having a lower action above the octave but more buzzing in the first frets if I can't bend the neck, because it will be more inclined backwards; looks like there is no quick fix for this.
    – Giac1
    Jun 26, 2023 at 17:23
  • No, there's no quick fix. You have to shim it to raise & also tilt back, then fix the relief.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 27, 2023 at 6:30
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    There is a way to find if the angle of the neck is correct by using a ruler or straight edge placed upon the fretboard.
    – ejbpesca
    Jun 29, 2023 at 17:44

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