Shims made from red oak veneer, 0.040 inch thick with commercial veneer package and hole-punch tool.

Big_Vig, Jul 23, 2018
    • Big_Vig
      Simply make your own shims that are not tapered. A taper is not needed to correct a saddle adjustment problem. The angle in the pocket is not needed. Raising the neck straight up by 0.040 inch can solve the problems of adjusting the action (string height), accommodating bridge height, and compensation for shallow neck pockets. Shallow pockets relative to the heel dimension of a neck are a problem with many third party neck suppliers, along with clearance for the 22 fret fingerboard overhang over a pick guard. The shim has to be hardwood so as not to deform and to resonate consistent with the wood neck and body of the guitar. Using a flat shim gives full and tight contact between the heel and pocket.

      By use of red oak veneer, you can easily make your own shims with a pair of scissors and a hole- punch. You can stack the 0.040 inch veneer for a 0.080 inch shim height. The 2 inch width of the commercially available veneer is just short of the width of Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster pockets by about 1/16” of an inch, which I don’t have a problem with. It you wanted it full width, just cut two pieces and trim for a full side-by- side width pocket fit.

      Here is a picture of shims cut from the red oak veneer coil with one commercial tapered shim partially covered, the roll of veneer and package, and a hole- punch I use. The veneer can be drilled without splitting by using a power drill running in reverse. The tapered shim cost $10 which is more than the cost of material to make 25 feet worth of shims out of the $6 veneer roll.
    • Rating:
      that there makes a lot of sense!!!
    • Big_Vig
      @tlsmack Thank you. From some of the other comments, I was starting to question the competence level of the site. I have been building, repairing, setting up, and modifying Telecaster clones for over 35 years. Here is one I built and finished this past Saturday. The strings weren't trimmed yet because I had to shim the neck to optimize the action. I used a shim made from red oak veneer material. StewMac wanted $8+$10 shipping and Aperio $12 for one shim. I can make about 100 shims from 25 foot roll of red oak veneer costing $6. Hahaha!
    • Big_Vig
      A trick with a bolt-on neck to optimize properly sized neck-to-body contact after shimming. Install shim, tighten neck bolts, tune the strings, and then just crack the neck bolts a 1/4 turn each. The string tension will force the neck back in the pocket. Then tighten the bolts and tune again. You neck will be very tight in the pocket for maximum sustain.

      For loose fitting necks and for anyone really obsessed with achieving maximum neck-to-body contact, here is what I have applied to a few solid body guitars. Maximum neck-to-body pull down can be applied to the guitar by following the above procedure. Then drilling two shallow angled holes through the back of the guitar into the back of the heel of the neck. Then loosen the bolts again, but by 1/2 turn. and screwing 2 1/2 or 3 inch deck screws (depending on the drill hole position and angle) into the neck pulling it down and back in the pocket. Then tighten the loosened neck screws and tune the strings to pitch. The angled drill holes should be drilled larger at the entry point to be able to bury the angled screw heads and the holes filled with wood filler, which can be colored over. It is easier to drill the angled holes starting with a small diameter drill.
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