Poll: How Many of You Shim Your Tele Necks?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by El Tele Lobo, Feb 2, 2020.

Do you shim your neck?

  1. Shim-shimminy shim-shimmy shim-shim shim me!

    23 vote(s)
    12.1%
  2. No shims here...blasphemous!

    31 vote(s)
    16.3%
  3. What's a shim?

    10 vote(s)
    5.3%
  4. I thought this was the 3 Stooges thread...

    2 vote(s)
    1.1%
  5. Only when necessary

    124 vote(s)
    65.3%
  1. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I've shimmed one of my tele necks on a build I did. It improved my string action immensely. I'm thinking of doing it to a couple other teles. How many of you have had to do this? Do you find you have to do it to most of your teles or only rarely? Don't forget to weigh in on the poll.
     
  2. BBill64

    BBill64 Tele-Afflicted

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    you don't shim to adjust action, you shim to change the range of adjustment at the bridge, or to increase break angle over the saddles.

    i like to shim for the break angle and so i can raise the strings over the ashtray without having insanely high action.
     
  3. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    My preference is only when necessary. I suppose I could, in all practicality, add a shim whether I think I need one or not to preempt having to mess with the neck once it's where I like it, but that is a risk I am willing to take as I am quite particular and opinionated about what constitutes a proper neck joint/fit/pocket (which I will keep to myself here because it all works for me & I'm not up for an argument, but will note it involves maximum surface area contact and no air gaps). I am curious to see what others, particularly the professional builders have to offer on the subject.
     
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  4. jackal

    jackal Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I've only had one guitar that needed to be shimmed, I used the stew-mac shim so there would be no gaps.
     
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  5. Vibrolux59

    Vibrolux59 Tele-Meister

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    Only if needed.
     
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  6. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Generally speaking, no.
    My Cabronita has a micro-tilt.
    I may have used it.
     
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  7. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Never had to... :rolleyes:
     
  8. Dan German

    Dan German Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    “Only if necessary” seems like the sensible approach. If it’s not necessary, why do it? If it is necessary, what else are you going to do, throw the guitar away? (If yes to the latter, I will PM you my shipping address.)
     
  9. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Both my Teles have tapered shims. In both cases I needed more neck angle to get the action down, because the bridge saddles couldn’t go any lower.

    Especially in the case of my blue MIM Tele, cleaning the gloppy paint runs out of the neck pocket, flattening it’s bottom, adding a shim, and tightening the whole assembly down solidly turned a barely-playable turd into my #1. Huge benefits in both feel and tone, for zero dollars invested.

    “Only when necessary”. A shim isn’t good or bad in and of itself, but a valuable option in getting the whole neck pocket/bridge/truss rod setup correct.
     
  10. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    Not me Tele, but two of my Strats and my bass were shimmed when I first set them up to suit me..
     
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  11. baiff

    baiff Tele-Holic

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    I have never shimmed a parts tele but I also buy 3 barrel saddles with flat bottoms for better adjustment.
     
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  12. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Shimming should always be a last resort, after a full setup has been attempted, and the action or saddles can't be adjusted properly due to issues of travel.

    If the saddles are bottoming on the bridge before you get the action low enough, then shim the rear of the pocket.

    If the saddles are teetering high on their spindly legs, and you still have fret buzz, and you don't like the stiff feel of the sharp break angle behind the saddles... then shim the front of the pocket.


    Once you shim, you'll need to repeat the complete setup. Truss rod/relief, saddles/action, pickup heights, set intonation. The nut is the exception - it won't need re-addressing just because of a shim.

    Just like you don't use the truss rod to set action, but adjusting it affects the action... same is true of a shim. It's not the way to adjust the saddles, but shimming does bring the saddles back into their normal range of travel on the adjustment screws.
     
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  13. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had to shim my last tele partscasters neck, first time I've needed to, I cut a small amount off the end of a old non stamped credit card and it fit perfectly.
     
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  14. Tommyd55

    Tommyd55 Tele-Holic

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    Out of my 3 guitars 2 are shimmed, my Pcaster tele is not. I use the StewMac tapered shims, usually a .25 or .5
    The guitar in my avatar , a Mex fender Jaguarillo, it made very pronounced difference in comfort and play-ability. Gave me much improved action with an increase in break angle over the Staytrem bridge, and made it able to dial in lower action on the neck with no buzz. Has helped turn it into a very stable guitar which it was not at all as it came from the factory 6 years ago.


    Neck shim.png

    ... IMG_0299.JPG

    IMG_0296.JPG
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2020
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  15. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Seldom on a Tele but usually on a Strat and certainly on a Jazzmaster unless it has an angled pocket.

    I've never ever had to shim the open end of the pocket, only the heel.
    I've also never bought one of those expensive full length shims to eliminate air gaps.
     
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  16. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Most actual Fender Strats and Teles won't need shims. Some weirdness in the level or flatness of heel or pocket may occasionally require it, but it's fairly unusual, in my experience. It may be more common with off-brands, like my Fender-licensed rosewood neck from WD Music. Looks perfect, but no matter which Fender body I bolt it to, it needs a shim.

    Fender offsets are another story. More common than not to need a shim here, unless the pocket is already angled. The different type of bridge brings the strings further off the body, more like an archtop or Les Paul. Just like those models have necks that angle back toward the headstock, so must the Fender neck. I have a AV65 Jazzmaster (Wildwood thin skin), that has the angled pocket built in. Not sure if that was vintage correct, or a WW add-on. I don't know how many offset models have the angled pocket already...

    Same is going to be the case for these type of bridges, Bigsbys, etc, on Teles. It's not the body, it's the bridge height.
     
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  17. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Hah, we cross-posted, with different ideas about Strats :).

    What are you thinking re Strats...?
     
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  18. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    On a correct spec Tele I very seldom see the saddles all the way down with the strings above the board.
    I'd have to guess it was due to a lot of relief dialed in with the truss rod?
    IME that condition ("saddles couldn't go any lower") indicates too much relief, and tightening the truss rod for less relief puts the saddles in a good height range.
     
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  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    My memory says Strats have thicker bridge plates and saddles withe less adjustment range (more the vintage style), so to get the saddles in range the neck usually needs one or two layers of business card.
    Super Strats/ Floyds either get shimmed, have an angled pocket, or have a recessed trem.
    A vintage Strat with the trem floating also needs a shim because the bridge and saddles sit higher.
    It's maybe not so much that a decked Strat trem is higher than a Tele bridge, but once the screws are buried in steel saddles, you're out of range.

    Neck relief and (vintage Strat) saddle height need to be what they need to be, and neck angle sets the action for those two constants.
    This may sound backwards but trying to raise the saddles too high or lower them so the screws all stick out is worse than setting a neck angle that works with the other two settings.

    That's how I approach a vintage style Strat anyhow.
     
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  20. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    What geometry issue was solved with the shim?

     
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