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!

    22 vote(s)
    11.6%
  2. No shims here...blasphemous!

    31 vote(s)
    16.4%
  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)
    65.6%
  1. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    When a guitar "tickles your ribs", is means energy is being dissipated that could be used to excite the pickups and send impulses to the amp that find their way, hopefully, to and through the speaker. In a nutshell, your solid body guitar is leaking. If you guitar was a car traveling at highway speed, you'd have to turn the car stereo to ten to hear it at 80 mph.

    IMO you don't want energy being re-directed in such a fashion. You don't want "resonance" either. You want rigidity, so long as the guitar has a somewhat slinky or relaxed feel to it that doesn't cause fatigue. Rigidity is your best chance that the pickup will have a solid something to send to the amp. The less droning, muffled sound, muddy sound, the better. The "work" of a solid body electric guitar is only what comes out of the speaker. Everything else is loss.
     
  2. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    So yeah, I need to fill my acoustic guitar with epoxy I guess. It does the same thing.... :rolleyes:

    Now that I'm smarter I'm writing to the national preservation committee asking them to fill that dang Liberty Bell with concrete so it wont vibrate, I'm sure it'll sound a lot better now.

    I need to fill my DR cab with something to keep it from vibrating, should I use concrete and sand or just plain concrete?
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
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  3. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    That sounds like a "back" shim.

    But there are guys here who, when they need different length saddle screws, would rather install a shim. Which blows my mind.

    +

    Some folks say shims are "tone killers". Often, this is hyperbole. Honestly, I'm the Drill Sgt. and if you used a shim when you didn't really need to, you didn't make your bed, and your shoes aren't half shined. I don't mean to offend anyone so that they ignore me or anything, but shims are just "sloppy". That's why I dislike them so much.
     
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  4. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I mostly agree, and avoid them if possible. I use the Stew Mac ones when I need them. They’re angled and fit the full neck pocket, so they’re less sloppy than most. I still get a nice tight neck fit and better action when needed.
     
  5. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    As long as we're picking the fly crap out of the pepper on this subject:
    What would be really nice would be if the studs were sold in more length increments. That would help a lot. The other issue is threads are different on some models. I have two packs of new studs here I've had for a decade and never been able to use.
    You can grind pins to length, but it's not as easy as it seems:
    - It's very hard to hold on to those little studs and work on them.
    -If you need like a 1/16" or more off, grinding/filing is too much. I have actually used bolt cutters in a vise to cut off excess before filing.
    -A filed bottom may not sit firmly/flat on the plate, thus reducing good contact... AND, the angle changes depending on how high the bridge segments are!
    -A nice conical or spherical bottom would be best , but those tiny studs are very hard to hold on to.
    - The "bend radius" of the tremelo from the pivot point to the string when bending changes with bridge segment height. This changes how "fast" or "slow " the trem effect is. Some may like the bridge segments high for rapid intense tremelo. Some may like it low for the opposite.
    -Which will be more of a problem.... studs that dont contact the bridge plate intimately or a shim in the neck? Who knows.

    There's a lot more going on here than just "shall I shim or grind?"
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    I shimmed my Tele to improve the action, and it's much, much better, now.
     
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  7. telecastasaurus

    telecastasaurus TDPRI Member

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    Never use shims, level the neck pocket. I made a sanding block the same shape as the butt end of a neck. sandblock1.jpg sandblock2.jpg
     
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  8. Muku

    Muku Tele-Meister

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    This what drives me coo-kue... Why isn't the pocket angled?
    Why not get the best bolt on neck to body joint possible.
    The neck affects the tone and sustain, like 20 or more other design aspects.

    I can see that a stock (flat) heel pocket is easier to make flat. But why not put a few degrees of angle on it?

    I am guessing that Tom Anderson, Suhr and other boutique heel joint designers do.
     
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  9. kirby02

    kirby02 TDPRI Member

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    I have used shims on every bolt-on neck I have owned unless the instrument had a factory Micro-tilt installed.
     
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  10. adnydrum

    adnydrum NEW MEMBER!

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    It’s not something you do without a reason for changing the guitar’s geometry. Mine needed it when I changed the dreaded 6-saddle bridge for a vintage one. Wilkinson with compensated saddles; excellent tone now - transformed my stock 2001 Mexican guitar into a really fantastic instrument
     
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  11. Brocephus

    Brocephus TDPRI Member

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    A couple months ago I got a deal on an older Squier strat (an early Affinity YN7 w/ standard thickness body and nut width), but I've had to drastically lower the saddles to get the action right, and now the saddle screws are little spikes sticking way up out of the saddles (and into my hand).
    Is this an ideal candidate for a shim job, or would replacing the bridge with a new MIM Fender bridge have any effect ?
     
  12. Kriticaster

    Kriticaster Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I had to shim the neck on my partscaster, because I bought a dirt-cheap neck from China and it was needed... I haven't needed to on any other guitar, but then I haven't known much about this stuff until recently...
     
  13. Big_Vig

    Big_Vig TDPRI Member

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    If necessary, of course. Why do you think Fender added the neck micro tilt adjustment? I have posted on TDPRI how to make your own shims out of oak veneer sold in Home Depot, Lowes, and lumber yards. And you don't need to buy tapered shims, that is just a gimmick. The oak venner is hard and about 0.040" thick.
     
  14. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    When you cut through the part of the body finish at the pocket, especially on something like a MIM that's not a Road Worn, you could end up flaking off portions of the finish next to the pocket.

    I kinda like this idea, except I like to swap necks back and forth between guitars and this mod means if the body still worked great with a couple other necks, you won't be using them probably, after this mod.
     
  15. Tim Hicks

    Tim Hicks TDPRI Member

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    I do if necessary but I try to use a shim made from my diminishing stock of very old Rosewood veneer as it is nice and dense. This was the advice I got from luthier John Diggins (Jaydee) 20 years ago. Using paper or card will surely affect the resonance.

    For example, a while back I bought a cheap used Squier Strat to experiment with lipstick pickups. It looked like it had never been set up right from new but it was very cheap. When I took the neck off to correct the angle, I discovered the overly thick shim was a bit of abrasive emery cloth..... I replaced it with veneer and the sound and sustain was much better.
     
  16. Terrytown

    Terrytown TDPRI Member

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    My sunburst 62 reissue Tele came from the Fender Factory with a small shim prox 1 inch wide and 3/8 inch deep not sure of the gauge. This was discovered when brought to Luthier, Dennis Burch, Eugene, Oregon for further setup and personal adjustments. It played perfectly for a year or so until I needed a premature fret dressing. We had to shim it a little more because the truss rod is totally out of release and developed fret buzzing. Worked for a while but not a permanent solution. This tele has a limited life warranty and I'm hoping to get the neck replaced by a Fender Service Center. I regret having to give this neck up because it played so perfectly and fretted like a dream. The sound was awesome and I giving that up hurts my heart but I am no longer able to play this Telecaster. You spend so many hours holding these Teles they become an extension of yourself.

    Terrytown
     
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  17. GuitarPlayerFL

    GuitarPlayerFL TDPRI Member

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    Almost always. I recently did a reverse shim for my '90 American Standard....trying to get the action better, but more importantly, to reduce the stiffness as I would *prefer* to use .010 gauge. It should allow me to lower the string saddles and the string break angle over them. I put the shim at the pocket end closest to the headstock.

    Unfortunately, it did nothing for the stiffness. My .010 gauge Fender Pure Nickel strings felt like 11 1/2. I put on .009s and now it's playable.

    The only time I've never had to use a shim was when I bought 2 Warmoth, Modern Construction necks for my Strats. They blow away anything that has come out of a Fender factory. No shim and I was able to have great action. Tempted to get one for my Telecaster.
     
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  18. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Only when it's like my sister Kate...

     
  19. Tommyd55

    Tommyd55 Tele-Holic

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    The purpose of a neck shim is to change the angle of the neck in relation to the body. A tapered shim does exactly that. I fail to see a gimmick in that.
     
  20. Tele-phone man

    Tele-phone man Tele-Afflicted

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    if your action is still too high after lowering your saddles as far as you can, then you do not need an angled shim; you need a flat shim to raise the neck in the neck pocket.
    OTOH, if your problem is the reverse ( as mine has been) and you have to raise the saddles too high to achieve appropriate action, then you can either sand down the neck pocket (not recommended; almost impossible to do and keep the pocket perfectly flat) sand down the back of the neck (also very difficult to do right and thus not recommended) or you can simply change the geometry with a small shim at the front edge of the neck pocket. It was super easy, completely fixed the saddle height issue, and had absolutely no affect in the tone or sustain. None. All of you guys who are making blanket statements of how this kind of shim will ruin tone and sustain are basing that opinion on the logically sensible, but factually questionable, idea that the resulting air gap in the neck pocket must have a negative affect in the tone and sustain. Yes, it makes sense, but it isn’t necessarily true. It was absolutely untrue in both guitars of mine that required the shim.
    Just because something makes sense does not mean it is necessarily true.
     
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