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. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Afflicted

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    I had to shim the neck on my MIJ Custom Telecaster w/Bigsby.

    The neck was at a weird angle from the factory where it was too low at the butt end. I added a Stew-Mac full slot shim and the neck was level with the body and played so much better.
     
  2. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Neither. But I couldn't go any lower without string buzzing. I play 10s, if that makes a difference.
     
  3. kafka

    kafka Tele-Afflicted

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    I've used shims before. Just as often, I've taken them out. My Kramer Pacer had one from the factory. I think that's because of the Floyd. Never on a Telecaster, but that doesn't really say anything about Telecasters in general.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2020
  4. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Holic

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    Only when necessary, although in both cases it probably wasn't actually necessary but more of a preference to get the saddle height exactly where it feels the most comfortable. In one case it was almost paper thickness.
     
  5. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    yeah. Mine are 0.5 - 1 degrees.
     
    Si G X likes this.
  6. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I'm confused. I don't understand how changing the neck angle relative to the plane of the body and saddle would help make a lower action adjustment, if relief, action, string gauge and length remained the same and the saddles were in the middle of their adjustment range.

    Can anyone explain?

    Maybe I'm making assumptions that just aren't true.
     
  7. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

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    I've always used a business card for a shim. No need to buy fancy
    " tapered " shims for such. No need to worry about air gaps or
    loss of " tonal transfer ". Hoggwash!

    Remember, a little goes a long way... :cool:
     
    Tele-phone man likes this.
  8. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

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    100% Equine excrement! There are countless vintage & modern Fenders
    & F-style guitars that exist that have shims. I'd venture a guess that some
    may be the most toneful instruments that you are ever heard. :cool:
     
    jiri_c and Tommyd55 like this.
  9. Tommyd55

    Tommyd55 Tele-Holic

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    Here's some good info on the subject.

    https://hazeguitars.com/how-to-shim-a-bolt-on-neck/
     
  10. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    I shimmed one of my Teles, but not to change the neck angle. I felt the neck was sitting about 1mm lower in the pocket than my other one, and that I was hitting the pick guard with my pick too often. I got a 1mm flat shim from Aperio guitars, and now it's perfect.
     
  11. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Shimming is very common. Fender even puts "tilt" adjustment on their more modern guitars. All my Fenders have a shim, but like .010". ... and surprisingly, the opposite end of the neck pocket that Fender puts the tilt adjustment in! I've never had to use anything near as thick as a credit card.

    -The only time you have to have a shim is if you are out of bridge adjustment, strings too high or strings too low.

    -The reality is usually the shim just helps you to adjust the bridge so the bridge screws don't dig into your hand.

    -I've never met a Fender Strat or Tele that couldn't be adjusted for the right string height without a shim, but the screws may protrude and dig into your hand.

    -You can just as well grind /file the bridge height adjusting screws to the appropriate length. But that is a real PITA.

    -Shimming doesn't seem to effect resonance at all. Both my Strats are shimmed and tickle your ribs unplugged. I almost think it helps!

    -Just put in a bit of that clear hard plastic that comes on packaging (the little window so you can see the item inside). I save it for this use. It seems to come in two thicknesses, .005 and .010. I make a little "taper" with two pieces one overlapping the other. Usually two pieces of .005.
     
  12. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Say you have little to no relief, and lower your saddles to just above where the strings buzz, but your action still isn’t low enough. After shimming, you can slightly increase the relief and still get lower action without buzz.
     
  13. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Couldn't the relief be increased and saddles lowered without the shim? There was still adjustment left in the saddles.

     
  14. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Huh. Interesting...
    I don't think there's much sense to be made of it. Without seeing the guitar to be certain, and respectfully to the OP, I'm pretty sure the guitar was not setup before choosing a shim as the answer. If the frets had been level, and the relief set correctly, and if the saddles didn't reach their end of vertical travel, then there's no reason that good action couldn't be dialed in. If the first steps had been done, and the saddles were either decked or at the top of their range, then a shim would bring the saddles back in their range of travel, relative to the neck.
     
  15. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Increasing the relief only further increases the string height/action. Welcome to my dilemma. Hence, the shim.

    For what it's worth, I'm not fond of them either, but when needed, they work. I used angled ones from Stew Mac.
     
  16. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    There's way too many guitars, T types, using shims. Most don't need them.

    Typically it seems like a determined guy has a neck and a body and they just don't go together well, and so a shim is used to force the two pieces to function together. My approach is different: If neck A and body 14 seem to need a shim to work together, then body 14 gets mated instead to neck D and neck A moves over to body 11. You keep looking for matches that seem "made in heaven" instead of jamming two incompatible parts together and employing shims to remedy the mismating issues. You know, marriages based on love instead of marriage arrangements for business advantage or something.
     
  17. danielpsmart

    danielpsmart TDPRI Member

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    Out of my collection only two have shimmed necks, so very rarely and only when necessary. The first is a pbass that could probably have the shims removed the next time I set it up (might have already happened.. can't remember). The other is a strat that has surface mounted goldfoil pickups. The goldfoils have no height adjustment so shimming the neck was the easiest way to adjust the pickup height.
     
  18. ddewerd

    ddewerd Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I recently took my '63 in for a refret and a Plek, and the ended up getting a shim (I think he used a StewMac).

    I had some work done on it about 30 years ago, and the guy claimed he put a shim in too. Well, what he did looks like he put a piece of a credit card in there. Really crappy job. Here's a pic where you can see the outline of the piece of plastic that was in there (the quarter moon shape).

    20180414_133329.jpg

    Anyways, it now plays great!

    Cheers,
    Doug
     
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  19. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Doctor of Teleocity

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    Only when necessary. I've used as little as folded post-it notes which made a big difference.
     
  20. 39martind18

    39martind18 Tele-Holic

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    I've used shims to help bridge adjustment angle. Since both of my Teles sport Roland GK3 pickups, so the extra bridge height helps clear that pickup while maintaining good low action.
     
    El Tele Lobo likes this.
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