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Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by palethorn, Jan 11, 2021 at 4:20 PM.
Thanks for the replies. I edited my original post. The shim is actually 0.4-0.5mm thick. I haven't noticed any changes in tone, guitar plays better now, got the action where I want it. Neck is straight. Intonation, believe it or not, is perfect. I'll let it sit for a while until I find some time to make a better shim. The gap in the pocket will probably bother me so I'll end up fixing it sooner rather than later.
In case you later replace the current shim again with something different like a stewmac shim, please report back if you notice a change in tone.
If you do your own or have a friend do a full neck pocket length graduated wood shim, or even your local repairman that says he can do it...
Be Meticulous! in making sure the measurements on the graduated rise are the same on the high E and low E sides!!
(The advantage of laser cut like Taylor uses an I assume stew-mac uses too, ensures equal height on both sides).
I love the "truth" in this rendering.
Clearly, the fasteners are doing all the work, of connecting the neck to the body.
It reminds me of old UK cars, where the front suspension was a dog's breakfast of shims, to make mismatched or under-engineered parts work on a piecemeal basis - until the vehicle hit a pothole.
Looks like an accident waiting to happen. I guess you could do this, so when the guitar player grabs his guitar by the headstock and smashes the guitar body on the hard surface of the stage (with cameras rolling) the body breaks away every single time.
I guess we're in a world where the Customer orders us to keep Neck 23 with Body YH, no excuses. I would turn the situation around and suggest, maybe we have the wrong neck with the wrong body? What ever happened to necks and bodies, precision custom fitted to one another?
You get what you pay for. Their angled shims are designed to save you TIME that you would spend fabricating your own. In a busy shop or a kitchen table without proper tools, I would consider them a bargain. I can try three different neck angles in a matter of seconds, and go with the one that works best. How long would it take me to fashion 3 different angled shims? If you know the angle you need, have the necessary materials and tools lying around, and have the spare time, it would be silly to purchase S/M shims. And they would be the first to say that. But if you don't have the tools, workspace, skills, or time, they are a good alternative to making your own hardwood shims.
Part of the seemingly high prices on S/M supplies is their customer care. Look at the amount of FREE education available on their videos and tips. Ever use their site for knowledge? That stuff costs money. And they stand behind all of their merchandise. I can't begin to tell you how much stuff they have PROMPTLY replaced for free or simply allowed me to keep if I didn't want a replacement. This level of customer service costs money. Philadelphia Luthier Tools is also a good source for supplies.
I have no association with S/M, but I have spent probably thousands there over the years. I have two inbound orders as we speak!
stew mac makes a couple now that cover the whole pocket- not necessary but they are nice-used one recently on a tele and it worked perfectly
And consider the lateral forces wiggling that neck back and forth pivoting on the shim and screws. Yes, it just screams strength and stability...
Yeah, shimming is just to avoid grinding tiny bridge height screws which you cant hardly even hang on to! I bought new screws once and have never been able to use them. There seem to be 2 or maybe even 3 thread sizes/pitches and those never seem to fit what I have, or the length doesn't!
The world needs a package of 25 multi lengths for users! Not to mention having nice round smooth ball ends would be great so that crude filed screws don't gouge up your bridge plate.!
Of course reality is, the shims I use look nothing like my crude drawing. They are two layers of .005" plastic. Maybe one is .010"
I think it's better than the Fender Tilt method, which has a crew in the body pushing the neck heel up with maybe one small contact from the screw tip! .. talk about crude!
What many dont seem to realize is that the shims necessary are usually in the .010-.015 thickness range. Try tapering a wood shim from .010 to 0 (that's two printing papers thickness)
Sure you could use a thicker shim, but now you have screw length issues again!
I buy 'em on Ammyzon - usually 3 different lengths and two thread sizes depending on SAE or Metric. Also chrome vs. black.
Ain't this the truth.
They saved me a ton of time when setting up my B16 Bigsby.
I tried three different shims/combinations in a short space of time and I now have one of the best playing guitars I've ever owned.
More details here:
The image is exaggerated for clarity. Obviously sticking a whole bunch of junk in the neck pocket will lead to problems.
I would never personally, nor encourage others to attempt to correct a neck issue that extreme with shims.
We're talking changing angles by thousandths of an inch. The thickness of two or three pieces of notebook paper. Does a shim create the tiniest air gap in there? Sure. Are the neck attachment screws ever so slightly misaligned? Probably. But I defy anyone who thinks they can detect a difference in the tone or structural integrity of any instrument that has it's neck shimmed compared to one that doesn't.
The electric guitar is an admirable, yet inherently primitive piece of engineering. It amuses me how some people want to treat them as if they were part of the Space Shuttle.
Any neck I have bothered to shim was much more of an angle change. The thicker the shim, the more it approaches the illustration - unless you use a tapered shim. I don't mind using tapered shims. Has been working for me for quite a while. I sleep better at night.
Keep in mind that you need not change the neck angle when you shim. You can also use a flat shim.
You only need an angled shim when the neck is actually "folding" into the body – i.e. when you have "negative" neck angle.
If your neck angle is fine, and you just need some more saddle height, then just use a straight shim.
An advantage of a flat shim is that you don't need to calculate or use trial and error to get the right shim thickness. You just make the shim the thickness by which you would like to raise your saddles. It's very straightforward.
With an angled shim the difference in height between the front and the back of the shim translates in about 3 - 3.5 times increase of decrease in saddle height. You can easily draw it out. It is just the number of times that the length of the shim fits between the top edge of the body and the bridge saddles.
Oh, that is very easy to hear. On a Tele, the higher the saddles, the more harsh the tone. The lower the saddles, the rounder the tone.
StewMac sell properly cut and angled shims. They’re a life-saver and whilst pricey for what they are ($6 each) they’re hassle free and guaranteed to be fairly accurate
This is a very good point... No reason not to use a full pocket shim in a lot of cases and healthier for the neck. It seems to me the trend for tiny ones tucked into the pocket are likely because in most cases you won't see it and because fender used tiny ones.
One exception might be with Jag/Jazzmaster setups where part of the shimming is getting a decent break angle over the bridge. Angling the neck back a bit will increase that more than if kept straight? But then you could argue a thicker full-pocket shim and raising the bridge a touch more would have the same effect!
I only use powered screwdrivers to take things apart personally. Everything goes together with manual tools.
That's what I've used since the 1970s.