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Low action with high saddle height. To shim or not?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Mouldy, Jan 21, 2021.


  1. Mouldy

    Mouldy

    Feb 27, 2010
    Western Australia
    I just bought a Squier Classic Vibe 60s P bass. The setup is interesting in that the action is too low (fret buzz, etc) and the bridge saddles are almost as high as they can be. I notice that most people shim to be able to lower the action further but this is the other way around. Should I shim to tilt the neck? I was thinking of perhaps a 0.5 degree Stewmac shim. Thanks.
     
  2. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    That’s not right. Sounds like the bridge needs to be raised.
    Check to make sure the neck isn’t backbowed
     
  3. Is the neck slightly bowed toward the strings? May just need to loosen the trussrod a bit.

    The need for a shim is usually rare and a good setup should fix it if nothing structural is wrong.
     
  4. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I would try just backing off the Truss Rod first. A little relief will go a long way towards raising the action.
     
  5. MYLOWFREQ

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    Sounds like you need to remove the shim. Shims are for when you need to lower the action but the saddles are bottomed out.
     
    legalbass, lokikallas and Goatrope like this.
  6. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Jun 11, 2011
    NYC
    Shims change the neck angle. The can bring the string path closer to the body (most common) or further from it. That said I agree that checking for a back now would be a good first step.
     
  7. Mouldy

    Mouldy

    Feb 27, 2010
    Western Australia
    Check to make sure the neck isn’t backbowed[/QUOTE]
    Neck isn't back bowed. Saddles can't really go any higher.
     
  8. Mouldy

    Mouldy

    Feb 27, 2010
    Western Australia
    There is no shim. I'm asking if I should put in a shim in the reverse direction to be able to raise action/lower saddles.
     
  9. Mouldy

    Mouldy

    Feb 27, 2010
    Western Australia
    I have done that a bit but could go a bit more.
     
  10. MYLOWFREQ

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    I see.. I've never used a shim that way but I'm thinking in theory it should work unless I'm missing something.. I guess you can try, and in the worst case you can take it out as it's completely reversible.
     
    Mouldy likes this.
  11. You are correct. If the saddles are as high as you can get them and the action is still too low then a shim at the end of the pocket furthest away from the body will help. Make sure your relief is set and that there isn’t already a shim at the body end of the pocket first but it sounds like you’ve done that.

    A shim at the body end of the neck pocket is definitely more common but when mixing and matching parts or for whatever reason occasionally you’ll get a situation like yours and need a shim at the other end. No need to wait for StewMac, a piece of wood veneer or playing card will do fine. If nothing else, you can use that to test things then order the StewMac one later if you feel it’s needed.
     
    Tim Skaggs, dwizum and Mouldy like this.
  12. Mouldy

    Mouldy

    Feb 27, 2010
    Western Australia
    I've relieved the neck a bit further and it is a bit better as far as buzz goes. I do like a low action but I think I'll order a 0.25 degree shim from Stewmac to make it better. We'll see what happens. My benchmark is my 73 Fender jazz that I've had for over 30 years and this is remarkably similar (except of course for the P vs J differences), and is very playable already since buying it new. Thanks everyone for your help.
     
  13. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Angling the neck inward is a terrible idea. It would drive me crazy. I would make a shim to go under the bridge rather than angle the neck in.

    Here’s a thought. First check that the heel is actually tight in the pocket. Loosen a neck bolt to see that the bolts pass through the body holes, not threaded. Meaning the neck bolts pass freely through the body and only grip the neck holes. If the body holes are not free and have threads cut in them, the bolts can’t pull that heel flat in the pocket.

    I’ve never taken the neck off my CV 60p but my epi tbird I took off and when I put it back on the neck was out of whack. Took me a while to realize that the body holes were threaded and once te bolts were tight they couldn’t draw the neck in flat and tight. I have heard of this in TB often in import guitars but am not sure of the cv line, but check it out to be sure.
     
    gg22, Matt Liebenau and Zooberwerx like this.
  14. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Repeated for emphasis. If the neck is not mated correctly to the pocket, you're gonna see all sorts of wonkiness.

    Riis
     
  15. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    What do you feel is terrible about it?
     
    RSBBass likes this.
  16. ixlramp

    ixlramp

    Jan 25, 2005
    UK
    Cheaper, easier, less risky and structurally better to not shim and just buy 8 slightly longer saddle screws, they are probably M3 (3mm diameter), any good hardware seller wil have them.
     
  17. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Inactive

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody notices
    I just shove a couple playing cards in the neck pocket. You only want to hit the front half though, not the heel side. You want to knock the headstock forward just a touch. Then you can re adjust your truss rod, and lower your saddles. Or, simply raise up the bridge in the same way. Trim the cards to fit, and pop a hole through for the ground wire.
     
  18. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Not necessarily a good idea. The intonation screw will start to rise higher than the saddle itself pausing irritation when palm muting. It also puts the saddle height screws at an angle and creates a severe break angle of the string over the saddle on the larger strings.

    upload_2021-1-22_16-28-23.png
     

    Attached Files:

  19. ejaggers

    ejaggers Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2009
    Fort Worth, tx
    I have changed saddle screws on most of my Squiers.
    They were too long and when the action is right, they stick up too far out of the saddles.
    so the ones I bought are about half the size of stock.
    Maybe the ones in your Squier have been changed and are too short.

    Also, I have the opposite problem.
    I put a Gotoh 201 on my Squier P and the action is not low enough with the saddles all the way down.
    I thought about finding smaller saddles (maybe the stock) or shimming the neck.
    The other option is to put the stock bridge back on and selling the 201.
    057912

    s-l500.jpg
    You can buy these on eBay, and @ixlramp is right, they are M3's.

    I wasn't aware of this, good to know.
    I've always gone with shorter screws.
    Stock screws cause me muting problems.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
    Jefenator likes this.
  20. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    When you can simply add a shim under the bridge, as opposed to pitching the neck forward, changing the feel of the instrument/body angle, it seems the wrong choice to me.

    I know people do it all the time but keeping the neck angle flat with the body is a better choice than adding forward angle. In the reverse situation Tilting it back to add saddle height is fine because it doesn’t feel unnatural.

    I just would get a 1/8” brass plate and cut and file it to size and put it under the bridge.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Mar 4, 2021

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