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Neck shim advice

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by palethorn, Jan 11, 2021 at 4:20 PM.

  1. palethorn

    palethorn TDPRI Member

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    Hello, I wanted to hear your opinion about neck shim I used to fix high action on a tele. I've cut a piece of an old plastic membership card 1mm thick and maybe 1cm wide, and placed it against the back of a neck pocket and mounted the neck back. It's not really aligned with the corners, and it's not angled. I've read some posts on the internet that it's not a good idea to use plastic shim because it's too hard, especially not the one that doesn't cover the whole neck pocket. Allegedly it can disfigure the neck under the screw tension and make things worse. What's your experience with this?

    EDIT
    I said that the shim was 1mm thick, it's more like 0.4-0.5mm thick. Sorry for the confusion if any.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021 at 1:34 AM
  2. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    It is fine, but you do want to cover the entire width of the neck pocket. You want the edges of the neck supported by the shim.

    Your neck screws should never be tightened hard enough to warp maple. The “kick up” that happens fairly rarely at the end of the board is something that happens when people crank their neck screws way too damned tight

    Angled shims are nice from a craftsmanship point of view, but the real world reality of the situation is that they are not necessary structurally or tonally.
     
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  3. Danb541

    Danb541 Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't see any issues with a plastic shim. If the neck is screwed on so tight that it disfigures, you have the neck screws too tight. This is not a situation where one needs an impact driver.
     
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  4. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Afflicted

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    As a guitar tech I've seen picks, matchbook covers, ticket stubs, playing cards, saxophone reeds, and folded up pages of porno mags shoved in neck pockets. While there is definitely a correct way to shim a neck, the material used is not as critical as many would have you believe. Most of these things seemed to perform their intended function with few issues.

    I like a folded strip of 220 grit sandpaper running the full width of the back of the pocket. It's a good thickness, is readily available, and has just enough bite to not move around in there once the neck is screwed on.
     
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  5. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I use a feeler gauge.

    And you can use graduated sizes to do the whole pocket in fact.

    .
     
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  6. cfreddy813

    cfreddy813 TDPRI Member

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    If the action cannot be improved in any other method, I'd rather sand the heel of the neck with the correct angle to remedy the action permanently. But, as stated - I like the 220 above any other material.
     
  7. palethorn

    palethorn TDPRI Member

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    Thank you for the replies. Here a picture just in case

    20210111_225020.jpg
     
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  8. cfreddy813

    cfreddy813 TDPRI Member

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    Looks great man - you should be good to go
     
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  9. Addnine

    Addnine Tele-Meister

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    Yep. I think there has to be a graduated height of shim. I use graduated stacks, usually three, of brass shim stock, always the full width of the pocket.
     
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  10. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    I use plastic most often, that clear plastic that comes on packaging a lot. It seems to run either .005 or .010 thick. Your 1 mm is thicker than any shim I've ever done. Usually .015 or so will do it so I use a combo of the thin and thick. I use a shim that is ~1/3 the length of the neck pocket.
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    Use real wood cut to a degree and covers the entire pocket, you'll be glad you did.
     
  12. BFcaster

    BFcaster Tele-Meister

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    I agree with @Zepfan. Wood-on-wood=better vibration/reverberation/tone/resonance/etc. IMHO, that is. I see no benefit to having a gap (air) in-between the main contacts points of a guitar that help define tone. I've had shims of plastic, and beveled shims of wood. I prefer the no-gap, because then I'll never wonder "would it sound better if I had a tight fit?". This is my opinion of course.
     
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  13. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    I've used anything from strips of business cards to premade full pocket shims from StewMac. The StewMac shims are expensive, but that is what I have been happiest with. This most recent time I used one, I actually needed a reverse shim, which meant I had to reposition the precut holes in it, but it worked like a charm.
     
  14. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    If you don't mind making your own, You can also get 0.022" rectangle maple shim stock from S/M in packs of 10 for 10 bucks. You have to cut them, drill holes, and sand them to an angle if desired. Many people use veneer pieces.
     
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  15. Addnine

    Addnine Tele-Meister

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    Stewmac.

    First-rate stuff, larcenous pricing.
     
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  16. tanplastic

    tanplastic Tele-Meister

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    When my neck was shimmed last year I knew I wanted to avoid any chance of the fretboard ramping up in time, and the bond between body and neck mattered to me.
    StewMac's look great but are expensive especially when ordering from Canada.
    A local repair guy made one perfectly from maple for less than StewMac's. It improved the tone and playability and is just part of the guitar now.
    My advice is to have a proper shim installed and your guitar set up by a pro.
     
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  17. MickM

    MickM Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    [​IMG] These are stock Fender shims from various models. I didn't look but the reverb site might have info about this subject.
     
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  18. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Afflicted

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    I experimented a lot with shim material (wood, steel, paper) and I found it to have a noticable impact on the tone. I kind of dislike all the rubbish that is often used as shim material. And I know that is what Fender also used to do. I will only use the stewmac shims.
     
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  19. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted

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    Apparently I have been doing it wrong!

     
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  20. Geo

    Geo Friend of Leo's

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    Usually .007" to .010" works fine here with generally some type of flat plastic material.
    A friend used trimmed feeler gauge leaves with no issues. Another guy cuts strips from medium
    to heavy sandpaper. In the '70s triangular guitar picks were a popular shim.
     
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