Stewmac Neck Shim Angle?

DennyBob521

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My daughter inherited an OLP 6/12 double neck from her uncle. He died at 44 due to alcoholism complications:(

As you may know, OLP made decent quality versions of MusicMan guitars in the mid 2000s. She asked me to clean it up, set it up, etc. I do a decent set-up, I read and reference Dan Erlewine’s book, so while not an expert, I’ve learned a bit. She’s more interested in playing the 12 string neck.

The 12 string neck is at ~3/16” action tuned standard. It’s a bolt on, the neck has only a little relief - not bowed.

I’ve owned a couple of Fender 12 strings and they had great action at pitch, so I’m not interested in the “Tune to D and use a second fret capo.” thinking that’s commonly used on all but high end acoustic 12s.

The saddles are looking good in the middle of their adjustable range. I don’t think they have 1/8” in them, plus I don’t want to max them out.

In the past, I’ve fixed this with a folded business card in the body side of the neck pocket.

I was thinking of getting a StewMac wood shim for consistent contact between the neck and body, but I don’t know a way to determine the right shim angle size to correct the action height.

I appreciate any guidance/experience.
 

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erratick

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If the saddles still have a fair amount of adjustment and this is a "pre-emptive shim", then you don't need much angle.

However the middle one- the half a degree is pretty common. When you have decked most/all of the saddles and it would play poorly and you need a hair more adjustment on the saddles- that's probably good for 1/2 a degree.

If you could adjust the saddles, and some would be decked and others would be fine but you want some movement in the saddles, then the .25 is fine.

I have a bass that almost all the saddles are decked and it needs adjustment still- that will be a 1 degree.

There are probably better ways to measure.
 

That Cal Webway

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Shoot,
you can also use auto feeler gauges in a graduated manner, from lowest to highest in the neck pocket.

.
 

Freeman Keller

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You can calculate the angle or measure it, or you can make your own shim. My goal is to have the fret plane just touch the tops of the saddles at their very lowest adjustmet - that should give you enough adjustment to have acceptable playing action and some adjustment for the future when needed. This might help understand it


Also, setting up a twelve string is no different from a sixer but with an electric you will have twice the string tension if you use the usual 10 - 46 gauges. It is worth considering down tuning but on a double neck you need to do both.
 

Boreas

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Looking at the pix, I would start at 0.5°. It will definitely bring it down, but not too much. If down the road you want to swap it out or add/subtract 0.25°, that will be an option. The other way would be to do what I do - buy both! That will give you the option of 0.75° as well.
 

8barlouie

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I have bought and used the StewMac shims. I love most of their products, but I’m not a fan of the shims. They’re very brittle, and expensive for what they are. They are made of crap balsa wood. Stick with playing cards, you’re better off. As far as the thought that the constant contact from top to bottom of the neck pocket argument: come on, man. It makes zero difference. If I’m being a bit surly, please take it lightly.
 

Boreas

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I have bought and used the StewMac shims. I love most of their products, but I’m not a fan of the shims. They’re very brittle, and expensive for what they are. They are made of crap balsa wood. Stick with playing cards, you’re better off. As far as the thought that the constant contact from top to bottom of the neck pocket argument: come on, man. It makes zero difference. If I’m being a bit surly, please take it lightly.

None of mine have been balsa wood, and have all worked fine. But with everyone complaining their guitar is too heavy, perhaps it is an option now!
 

Zepfan

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I've bought and used the 3 pack shim set. They will break if you try to run a screw through them like some wood does, you have to drill holes through where the screws go. Other than that, they work great and a full pocket shim is better than a piece of cardboard or paper stuffed on one end. A lazy and sh*tty way to fix a guitar.

Get the assortment 3 piece kit, start with the smallest one first, a little degree can go a long way. Try the next if it isn't right and some guitars may need a couple shims to get it right. Use the left overs to fix another guitar later.

I figured out how to cut my own on my mitre saw later with some trial and error. Do that if you don't like the Stewmac prices.
 

DennyBob521

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I got both necks perfect with a business card trimmed to fit the pocket, close to the body. It's amazing how much a thin business card can translate to in lowered action. They're both set perfectly for me, which is a little higher than PRS/Gibson specs, no fret buzz, still really low action.
 

Hibernian

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I just shimmed a tele after I added a fat neck to it and found I could not get the action where I wanted easily. Was thinking through it same way, asking myself what angle etc before ordering from SM but after reading up on various shim experiences of others, I decided to go old school and cut up a piece of aluminum beer can and positioned it at the body end to get the neck where I needed it. I figured it was an experiment and I'd learn from this and then maybe 'do it properly' later but hey presto, the shim worked perfectly, the screws went through it where necessary and the action is lovely. Job done.

Now of course the questions remain -- does the guitar feel and sound good? yes. Do I notice a loss of resonance etc? No. And most importantly, does it matter if you cut up a can of craft beer or Bud? Well, I don't drink Bud so I can't answer that definitively.
 

Boreas

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I just shimmed a tele after I added a fat neck to it and found I could not get the action where I wanted easily. Was thinking through it same way, asking myself what angle etc before ordering from SM but after reading up on various shim experiences of others, I decided to go old school and cut up a piece of aluminum beer can and positioned it at the body end to get the neck where I needed it. I figured it was an experiment and I'd learn from this and then maybe 'do it properly' later but hey presto, the shim worked perfectly, the screws went through it where necessary and the action is lovely. Job done.

Now of course the questions remain -- does the guitar feel and sound good? yes. Do I notice a loss of resonance etc? No. And most importantly, does it matter if you cut up a can of craft beer or Bud? Well, I don't drink Bud so I can't answer that definitively.
Craft beer cans will always sound better. Plus, some are aluminum, others are steel. Need I say more?
 




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