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Neck Shims

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by telefunk, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. telefunk

    telefunk Tele-Meister

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    Hi, what's the best way to use shims in the neck pocket ? The bridge saddles are down as far as they go and I need to shim the neck to allow a lower action. Should I put a narrow shim at the (bridge) end of the pocket to tilt the neck back, or shim the whole pocket to raise the height of the neck ? Thanks in advance.:?:
     
  2. thepassivevoice

    thepassivevoice Tele-Meister

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    I'm no expert, but to lower the strings, I put a narrow shim at end of the pocket closest to the bridge so the neck tilts "away" from the bridge. That has worked fine and remained stable.
     
  3. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I let the shims fall in the garbage can.

    They seem to do the most good down there, out of the way. ;)

    Unless one of these real pricey ones I haven't pulled the neck on has a shim, I ain't got any in this whole passel of guitars. Their use is highly overrrated, IMO.
     
  4. CatfishStudios

    CatfishStudios Banned

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    Ditto ... My Strat was shimmed, just a small strip on the bridge side of the neck...just shy of the neck length.... Ive had to de-shim(?) it to get the setup I was after.
     
  5. Rick J

    Rick J Tele-Holic

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    Boris, what do you do to correct a neck angle if you don't use shims? I've always used shims if necessary, seem to work fine. If the strings are too high off the board with the saddles all the way down, a small shim about half an inch wide, maybe of thin card or wood veneer, right at the body end of the neck pocket will usually correct the problem, and Telefunk, thats would I would suggest you try.

    Something about the thickness of a business card, - a credit card is probably going to be too thick. As to whether to shim the whole pocket to raise the neck uniformly, or to shim one or the other to raise or lower the angle, - you could try both, - my personal preference is a small shim, to change the angle rather than overall height, but it sure aint written in stone, and will surely vary from guitar to guitar.

    Try it, it can't do any harm, - you can always take it out.

    Rick J
     
  6. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    If the saddles are all the way down, make sure the truss rod is correctly adjusted before shimming. What guitar are you talking about here?
     
  7. mellecaster

    mellecaster Former Member

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    WOW !...you must have one Awesome assortment of different Saddle height screws...or have been Blessed by someone ??.......:rolleyes:
     
  8. telefunk

    telefunk Tele-Meister

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    Its a partscaster - MiM 50's RI body and MiM neck. Tok RickJ's advice and put a thin shim at the body end of the pocket and everythinks fine now. Thanks guys.
     
  9. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    Shimming the neck, with the resulting change in the angle of “attack” at the body as the neck meets it is a much misunderstood concept.

    Most often incorporated for simply adjusting the action, or playability of the guitar, it is in reality a useful adjustment for altering the “voice” of the guitar.

    This was one of the reasons for the creation of the Micro Tilt function by Leo; it allowed a simple method to modify the angle of the neck’s address relative to the body without a complete disassembly. Thus an audible comparison could be made relatively quickly.

    As the angle is increased, the angle at which the strings cross the bridge saddles is also increased. This increases the downward pressure on the saddles, through the saddle adjusting screws, through the bridge and into the wood. Now, more pressure here does not necessarily mean better tone, it is simply one of the many subtle adjustments that can be made to alter the tone. Sometimes less pressure is better, and of course, all the other parameters must be taken into consideration.

    There are those with far more impressive credentials than I (like I have any) that suggest that an angle of .8, that is 8/10th of a degree is optimum. However, as with virtually all adjustments on a guitar, there is a “sweet spot” where it all comes together sonically.

    With the never ending “quest for tone” everyone seems to be engaged in, I put this into the “fray” just so ya know, it’s not necessarily WHAT you bolt on your guitar, but more times than not, how it’s bolted together that makes the most noticible change in the guitar’s voice.

    Those of you that are just plain disgusted with the sound of your guitar, and contemplating buying bridges, pickups, pots, capacitors etc, etc. try this... take it apart, replace the junky “made in some obscure province in a 3rd world country” screws with some good stuff, and put it back together paying attention to what you’re doing, and be amazed at what 2 bux worth of screws and a little care can do.

    Ron Kirn
     
  10. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    So well said.

    Having bought multiples of some of these models, I'm really surprised by how much difference there can be in the way the pieces are put together, from one example to the next.

    I love taking them apart and putting them together, doing it with care like this one guitar really matters, and upgrading the fasteners is such an easy and rewarding natural step to take.
     
  11. surfoverb

    surfoverb Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm suprised to find out Teles sometimes need shims...My Jaguar had four mainly because of the way the brideg+mute lifts the entire bridge assembly...On that guitar I never noticed any lack of sustain but then again I wasn't looking for sustain but rather a quick drum like response...Some people find shims to be evil and others benign, I think if they work (that is correct an improper string/bridge angle)then leave them in.
     
  12. dougk

    dougk Tele-Holic

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    Hey Ron,

    I've thought about this before. Some of my strats use a small shim (I basically cut the end of a buisness card off). I find the action is the way I like it and the tone is just fine with me.

    But I have thought about it from purely an action POV programming my CNC's start and stop depths to put anywhere from 1/100th to 1* of angle built into the pocket. I did a bolt on neck + TOM angled pocket this way and its a snap from the programming POV.

    Or am I just over complicating things for the sake of it? :lol:
     
  13. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    the business card is easier, and reversable....

    rk
     
  14. mellecaster

    mellecaster Former Member

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    Boris...I quite agree, and along those lines the below is a cut & paste that I use on some of my E-Bay Auctions, where I attempt to explain what I mean by doing more or less what you and Ron are speaking of....but so far it has been somewhat in vain, because I still get the "Where's it Made" question most often ? (oh well)

    I would like to take this opportunity, to explain about what I refer to as "Recrafting".....as opposed to the more commonly used term, Rebuilt.
    Rebuilt to me, assumes you are replacing or repairing, worn used parts, and the like, to return the object in question, to a usable condition.
    To further define Recrafting, I'll start by saying that in my past, I was involved in the Automotive, and Harley-Davidson Trade....an analogy we used in those Trades, was "Blue Printing"....where you take an Engine...and disassemble to the most Basic parts....and build it with all the care and Precision, that a Factory is just not able to do, w/ an Assembly line process.
    This can also pertain to the "Recrafting" of a Guitar....where you take a perfectly fine (in most cases) Factory made Guitar....disassemble it to the basic components...and then Re-craft it to exacting Specifications, with time and care and experience...that is just not possible in a Factory Setting...an example would be, removing and cleaning all the buffing compound residue, that Fender leaves in the Body cavities...not a Huge deal, but something that should be done, but they don't have time for, in a Factory situation...coating all wood screws w/ paraffin before inserting, using hand...NOT Power Tools for careful assembly....and to sum up, just taking the utmost in care, and creating a Guitar for someone, that you can be Proud of...and Stake your Reputation on....This is not anything New really...Guitar Techs have been doing it for years, for Professional Players...but I feel it needs explaining, to illustrate the Major difference between what I do...and the typical E-Bay "Partscaster"....To be Honest, If you are a Born "Tinkerer"..than my Guitars might not be for you...but if you are more interested in Playing the Guitar, than working on one, and looking for a Great Ready to Play...fully Set-up Professional Grade Instrument...that fills the Very Large price Gap, between a $450 E-Bay Guitar that needs work...and a $2,500 Custom Shop Fender....then "Recrafted" might just be.... right up your Alley
     
  15. Trimac20

    Trimac20 Tele-Meister

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    On my CIJ 72 Custom I noticed the neck is exactly 3.5mm above the body at the pocket, while on every other Tele I've measured it has been 5.5mm - I think I'll elect to shim the whole pocket instead of using the micro-tilt.
     
  16. ThermionicScott

    ThermionicScott Poster Extraordinaire

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    Interesting post. I had always figured necks were just shimmed to compensate for production tolerances, since neck pocket depths, neck thicknesses, and so on could all vary. That it was done to intentionally "revoice" the guitar is a new one to me...

    - Scott
     
  17. astrozombie

    astrozombie TDPRI Member

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    necrothread!

    i just posted to state that my 78 mustang had to be shimmed, the tone didnt suffer.
     
  18. Tikijake

    Tikijake TDPRI Member

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    since you dont use shims how to you go about fixing your guitar if the strings are way to high off the fretboard?
     
  19. PJ55

    PJ55 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I've had to shim only one project that used a MIJ body and an AM Std neck. The two pieces just didn't seat right together. A business card about 3/4" tall, with two holes punched in it for the screws to pass through, at the base of the pocket, had a huge impact on the set-up. Can't say I've ever needed to shim anything since. But, it did correct the problem. I always felt that since Fender used to make neck shims and sell them in the 70s and then added the micro-tilt feature, having to use one wasn't all that uncommon. If I'd had the problem with a new guitar, I'm sure I'd have taken a different approach. But on a project guitar, it was OK with me.
     
  20. GigsbyBoyUK

    GigsbyBoyUK Friend of Leo's

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    I know that some of my guitars have shims but I couldn't tell you which ones without looking. There's definitely no noticeable difference in tone. Shim away!
     
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