Help shimming a neck.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Axtman, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I have a 70's Gibson G-3 bass that needs a shim placed at the heel area of the neck. The saddles are low and the action is still high. Yes I did check the trussrod and it is fine. What materials should I use to shim the neck? How do I know what thickness to use or is it a trial and error procedure? Thanks.
  2. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    I used 2 slices of business card. Got me down from 3.5 or 4mm to a respectable 1.75mm. I think I could probably go lower if I wanted.
    Paulabass likes this.
  3. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    business cards are the duct tape of modern luthiery.
    groooooove and Pilgrim like this.
  4. alembicguy

    alembicguy I operate the worlds largest heavey equipment Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
  5. akrachanko

    akrachanko Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    Western Pennsylvania
    + 1 for StewMac Neck Shims. I've used them, and they do the job very nicely, and can be bought in a few different angles.
  6. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    Tacky and trashy, or cheap and effective? ;)
  7. Business cards or playing cards work well. If you want to get into the calculations of it, @RobbieK just posted a good video on his YouTube channel.

    alanloomis1980 likes this.
  8. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    Cut a sliver off of the wife's credit card.
    Ronzo, sissy kathy and Slater like this.
  9. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Make sure you get at least part of the chip. ;)
    Ronzo and Bodeanly like this.
  10. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    I find the magnetic strip works best for a shim, but the chip makes for a good makeshift pick.
    Ronzo, sissy kathy and Slater like this.
  11. John6


    Jul 9, 2019
    Central Ohio
    I use drywall sand paper, the screen type, locks the neck and body together.
    bassdude51 likes this.
  12. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    For those that wish to try this; this is a picture of the Cuban flag. Orient the wife's credit card so the chip is where the star is. The two bottom stripes make a good shim and the red field makes a good pick. The Puerto Rican flag can also be used as a guide. I'd say the Ohio flag could be used, but it's a pennant.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
  13. 9mmMike

    9mmMike Would you happen to have a cookie for me? Supporting Member

  14. I meant actually calculating the thickness of the shim not calculus. Guess I could have been more clear.
  15. 9mmMike

    9mmMike Would you happen to have a cookie for me? Supporting Member

    That was meant for the video where he says trigonometry. :)
    Matt Liebenau likes this.

  16. Got it. I misunderstood you thinking you misunderstood me. :laugh:
    9mmMike likes this.
  17. Skybone


    Jun 20, 2016
    If you're changing the strings as well, cut a piece from the string packet & use that.
  18. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    If you want to avoid that frightening math stuff, a rule-of-thumb neck shim ratio is 1:6. That is, if you put a 0.010" thick shim under the end of the heel, it will lower the range of action adjustment by about 0.060".
    Matt Liebenau likes this.
  19. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
  20. JohnArnson


    May 28, 2019
    I raised mine with a full pocket flat shim made of a whole credit card, seem to work well on my Ibanez Mikro.

    Didn't really need less angle, just to be able to adjust the overall string action lower.
  21. Primary

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