Shim or fall away?

Thumper

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My neck is straight - I measure the relief around .010 to .015”. I’ve rocked the whole fretboard (only frets above 12 needed a little filing) and I think I’m leveled. The action at the 12th is .070. Not very low. I’m still getting a little buzz - all frets above the 5th or so. All strings. That plinky sound like my daughter’s ukelele. I think the upper frets are the cause.
At this point I could file the frets into a fall away, or should I shim under the nut end of the heel?

Or neither? Let me know if I should provide further info.
This is where I would start on this guitar

Adjust the truss rod so the neck is dead flat and position the best long straight edge you have to see where the tops of the frets land in the bridge area. You want the edge of your ruler to be somewhere
in the middle of the vertical adjustment for the saddles.

Something I have run into, is neck pockets that are too deep or too shallow and….

aftermarket neck heels that are too thick or too thin.

Do this first before grinding on the frets,
check to see if the pocket is the correct depth and that the heel thickness of the neck is correct.

Even in the age of CNC’s there is a lot of out of spec stuff out there.
The pocket on a tele should be .625 deep and parallel to the top of the body.
The neck specs are 1” at the center of the radius, so the neck is .375 proud of the body at the back of the pocket.

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bumnote

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This is where I would start on this guitar

Adjust the truss rod so the neck is dead flat and position the best long straight edge you have to see where the tops of the frets land in the bridge area. You want the edge of your ruler to be somewhere
in the middle of the vertical adjustment for the saddles.

Something I have run into, is neck pockets that are too deep or too shallow and….

aftermarket neck heels that are too thick or too thin.

Do this first before grinding on the frets,
check to see if the pocket is the correct depth and that the heel thickness of the neck is correct.

Even in the age of CNC’s there is a lot of out of spec stuff out there.
The pocket on a tele should be .625 deep and parallel to the top of the body.
The neck specs are 1” at the center of the radius, so the neck is .375 proud of the body at the back of the pocket.
 

bumnote

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Could a mod please delete the post I made above.
For whatever reason the keyboard on my iPad won't let me complete an edit in it.
 

drmordo

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Since you asked, I'll chip in, though I am no expert. But I've been setting up my own guitars for 30+ years.

First, some people hate shims. There's kind of an irrational bias that some people have against them. So there will always be someone saying "DO NOT SHIM, IT KILLS YOUR TONE". I'm not accusing anyone in this thread, but I'm saying there is a bias against shimming.

Second, out of probly 20 bolt on neck guitars I have owned, maybe 3-4 of them needed a shim. I don't measure my setups. I just change the strings, tune it, set the truss rod so the neck has a tiny bit of relief, set the saddle height so the action is as low as it can be without buzzing, then set the intonation. On a few of my guitars, I just couldn't get the action set reasonably low; sometimes they buzzed on the higher frets while feeling high towards the nut (I bought a Vintera Road Worn Strat last week that has this), other times the saddles were slammed and the action was still too high.

Whenever I can't get a guitar's action dialed in pretty easily, I start thinking about a shim. On those problem guitars, a shim fixed the problem. FWIW, anytime the saddles are very high or low, that's another indication that a shim is possibly needed, though I would not install one with out first trying to get the guitar set up.

EDIT: I just realized this is an old thread. Did you fix your guitar, Blackie?
 

jaxjaxon

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Try shimming it first see if that works. If you fall away there is no going back from that. Usually a fall away is done from the 14th fret and is to give better bends with out choking out but is also a way to get a little lower action.
 

schmee

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about .070 on the high E is my lowest. Anything below that does not sound true ring to me. So I just dont do it. I have trouble gripping bends down there too. My low E is more like .100
 

birdawesome

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As some others have said, if the setup is within “good” specs otherwise, and you still get buzz up the neck toward the heel joint. I’d go the route of a neck pocket shim. You can get some whole-pocket shims from stewmac that are measure in varying degrees of angles. This is a good and proper shim that I've used myself for this exact same reason. Solved my issue completely. If I can help it, I’d rather not knock down frets unless it’s to get rid of divots or fix a bad fret job.
 




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