Neck shimming. Long term issues?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by VintageSG, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 31, 2016
    My CVC needed a neck shim. I just couldn't dial out a zing around the 10th-13th frets. Relief is fine, but the saddles resembled the NASA chase cameras for shuttle launches!.
    I've just shimmed it near the headstock end with a 1mm thick by 5mm wide strip of fairly soft wood, running across the screw holes and reset the saddles to suit. What a difference. Bye-bye zing and zizz!. No nasties up, down or across the neck anywhere now.
    However, it does leave a gap, albeit a small one.
    Is it OK to have that gap long term?, is it any worse that the micro-tilt?. I read on the Internet ( so it must be true ) that over time, the neck settles to the gap and renders it unusable. I can't quite see that, given the thickness of the heel.
    As this has cured the last ill on my CVC, I'm happy for now, but realistically, is there any real risk of long term deformation?
  2. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 22, 2006
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    No worries. I've had shims in three of mine for 10+ years and no sign of any ill effects.
    VintageSG likes this.
  3. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 31, 2016
    Cheers. I do worry over nothing sometimes.
    Ricky D. likes this.
  4. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

    Oct 28, 2015
    If it makes you feel better you could sand a taper into a piece of veneer until it fits tight in that gap. I've done this before and I think it slightly helps the tone, but I could be hypnotizing myself.
    XpensiveWino likes this.
  5. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Tele-Afflicted

    Stewmac sells tapered neck pocket shims. Shipping costs make them a bit too costly in here and probably there's no need, but it's a solution I'd consider.
    Slowisfast and Southpaw Tele like this.
  6. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 22, 2006
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Easy to get carried away. A shim is good enough, cheap and easy
  7. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    Shims are the single best way to improve sustain, resonance, and playability.
    I always look to see if there is one on a quality instrument, if not, PASS.
    How dare they ask over $1000 for an instrument and leave this vital part out!
    ianstrike likes this.
  8. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 31, 2016
    Odd thing is, the zizz only really became really noticeable with the onset of the hot spell in the UK. Prior to that, it had a little fret rattle here and there, but I lived with it.
    A few days ago though, it became more than a little fret rattle, it sounded choked in places. I couldn't work it out. I took the opportunity when restringing it to work up and down the neck with a fret rocker, and nothing. All frets still level.

    I did a little recrowning work on some rather worn frets and went over it again, restrung, and there it was. A dead spot. I figured the relief matters up to around the twelfth, then after that, angle. Hence the shim.

    Seems to have worked. I worry over the littlest of things. My P-Bass has had a neck shim at the bridge end from new, and that has never had an issue, so why worry now?.

    Then this afternoon, all manner of oddness. I'm playing away, playing some gentle stuff to while away the time, do an almighty bend on the D at the 13th and on release, it sounds like an unamplified uke bass on silicone strings.

    Note to self: Don't panic when the overwind/wrap breaks. I was sure, after I found the break that I'd not polished after crowning, but no. Smooth as a babies behind. Why the wrap broke is beyond me, but it gave me a moment.

    As to sustain. Shims rock!. :) The saddles are now rather lower too, which is nice.
  9. IronSchef

    IronSchef Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

    so, the "issue" with a small shim strip is supposed to be this (see next post, image pasting issue):

    I too have a neck I shimmed in exactly this way about 3 years ago, and it is not exhibiting any deformity of the neck heel as shown above.

    With that being said - you could certainly shim with a Stew-Mac shim (a full wedge that fills the entire neck pocket). They are not expensive and easy to use

    Southpaw Tele likes this.
  10. IronSchef

    IronSchef Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

  11. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    I know I've been down this rabbit hole before but can someone explain how a shim does anything other than tilt the neck? Seems like fret buzz would be present no matter what angle the neck is set--action, fret level, and relief being equal.

    I'll take my answer off the air, thanks..
  12. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 31, 2016
    That's the issue, but when I think about my P-Bass, that is a '95 model with a shim in that position from new by Fender. If Fender don't worry, I guess I shouldn't. But I do. Because I are do bee an eejit sometimes.

    After a quick fret dress, another set of strings and the shim, it is a joy to play again. Odd what efffects weather can have ( it's the only thing I can put it down to, the wood changing/drying perhaps in the sustain 30C heat we've had here for a month )
    BBill64 likes this.
  13. Antmax

    Antmax Tele-Meister

    Jun 14, 2018
    Brit in Sacramento
    I expect the neck hump is more prevalent in necks made with softer wood than quality maple.

    I thought it would be fun to make a shim out of one of my wifes Cedar blocks. It was one of those rectangular ones that just happened to be the right width. Took some patience cutting it really thin and sanding it down on a piece of glass and measuring with digital calipers. Worked out great though it cost me more than Stew Mac if you factor in my own time, it felt good to do it myself.
  14. BBill64

    BBill64 Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 19, 2011
    United Kingdom
    There are guitars that came from the factory over half a century ago with shims and I've never heard anyone point to a real-life example of this problem, only theoretical diagrams like in this post.

    I am pro-shim.
  15. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    You are correct, That's all it does, the rest is imagination or hallucination. It's only function is to allow adjusting bridge insert height.

    1mm shim? Wow, that's a real thick shim. If I have one it's usually .010" max.
    macatt and BorderRadio like this.
  16. BryMelvin

    BryMelvin Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 4, 2014
    Arivaca AZ

    considering that your shim has much more surface area than a microtilt neck; it should never be a problem.
  17. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 30, 2008
    The Golden State
    I got the 1° shim for my Jazzmaster and it is worth the cost. I had the .05° one in a Tele and also loved it.
    BorderRadio and RadioFM74 like this.
  18. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013

  19. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    I’m pro full pocket shims for neck pitch greater than 1/2 degree. How would my neck pocket look if I didn’t use this instead of a 3mm slug of aluminum bar? Would it warp if incorrectly torqued? :)

  20. Gary in Boston

    Gary in Boston Friend of Leo's

    Apr 17, 2003
    The graduated Stew Mac's make sense for full neck body contact so even though they might a tad $$$ you have to ask yourself, " I put the shim in once for the life of the guitar so if they cost you say $ 30+ dollars for a set of three then amortize their cost out over a year that's maybe 10 cents a day. Over two years it's 5 cents a day. Over three years and you see where this is going.

    Plus maybe the other two from the set will come in handy down the line.

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