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Neck not bolted on right???

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Mr. Kitty, Mar 16, 2008.


  1. Nelson Guitars

    Nelson Guitars

    Aug 14, 2006
    Novato California
    Custom builder
    That is different from the ones I have seen before, but probably an adjustment screw. Take it apart! Look and see! I have a feeling all will be revealed when you do so. You can't break it unless you do something really stoopid.

    Greg N
     
  2. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    That black area is just where you would find a "neck angle adjustment screw", what Fender called "micro-tilt adjustment"... it's designed to add neck angle in order to lower string action.

    As Greg said above, (at least in the Fender micro-tilt versions), there was a "set screw" that you could adjust that pressed on a metal plate attached to the neck.

    Many bolt-on bodies don't have adjustment points like this so often people would add a shim to the front of the neck pocket (anything from a folded up business card or matchbook cover to sandpaper, and even custom made wood shims that fit the entire neck pocket so there were no gaps). Shimming the neck allows you to place it at a slight (1 or 2 degree) angle, which means that you can have super low action without bottoming out your bridge.

    I have shimmed almost all Fender-style necks that I have owned, because I like my action freaky-low, and this is more difficult to accomplish out of the box with most commercially made bolt-on neck instruments. My shim of choice is generally 3M 80 grit sandpaper folded to 2x or 3x it's thickness, placed right at the front of the neck pocket between the two neck screws closest to the body.

    I've played both types of shimmed neck (screw adjustable or paper/wood shim), and I have never noticed poor tone or a lack of sustain in the necks with the adjustment (or ones with a shim, for that matter). Certainly I have not noticed a significant difference from the same instrument with the neck bolted in without a shim. I just find that they play a little better and have lower action with the shims.
     
  3. Mr. Kitty

    Mr. Kitty

    Mar 14, 2008
    wouldn't shimming raise the neck angle though?

    i want to lower that part of the neck not raise it.

    or am i misunderstanding you?

    and i'll work on taking it apart also...

    would you guys like pictures?
     
  4. Nelson Guitars

    Nelson Guitars

    Aug 14, 2006
    Novato California
    Custom builder
    If you lower the heel end of the neck the action will rise and vice versa. Adjust that screw up and down and you will see what I mean.

    Greg N
     
  5. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    No, I don't think you are misunderstanding. Many players like a *really* low action, so they shim the neck and then raise the bridge (because if they didn't, the strings might be touching the frets)... in your case, I would try raising the bridge first, and if you still get buzz, then decreasing the neck angle (removing the shim, or lowering the neck tilt screw, if you have one)...

    Oh, absolutely... :) We live for pictures.

    What he said!
     
  6. Mr. Kitty

    Mr. Kitty

    Mar 14, 2008
    Okay thanks guys!

    And that gap in the pocket (first picture) i want to lower that correct?

    and this may sound like a stupid question but:
    how do i lower the bridge?

    i know how to do it on gibson style guitars but on the bridge on this bass and on bridges on guitars similar to this i'm lost...

    here's a picture of the bridge:

    jszfw2.
     
  7. Arx

    Arx

    Jan 22, 2008
    Yes, reducing that gap will raise your action (and get the string off the frets).

    Just turn the two small allen screws on the ends of each saddle. counter-clockwise lowers it, clockwise raises it.

    -Nick
     
  8. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    You might try just raising the saddles a little before lowering the neck... a little saddle adjustment can go a LONG way

    That having been said, I want to know what's shimming that neck, if it's a set screw installed at the factory, or an aftermarket shim of some kind ;)
     
  9. Arx

    Arx

    Jan 22, 2008
    Looks to be shimmed a little too far though, especially since he also had the trussrod torqued and still didn't clear.

    Saddle adjustment is easy though, so may as well raise it. Can always lower it back down once the neck is lined up.

    Personally I'd start with the neck unshimmed and see how things look. no point in having the shims put your neck at a screwy angle, and then compensating with the bridges, when you could just put them both in a more normal position and be okay. :)

    It may still need to be shimmed a bit, but probably not that much. When I shimmed one of my basses because the action was too high, I just used a couple little pieces of paper, and you can't even tell the difference. That one looks like a huge gap.
     
  10. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    Torquing the truss rod would make it clear *less*, not more... as the neck straightens, the action lowers, and raising the saddles might be just enough, if he's got the neck straight, or with just a small amount of relief.

    I've shimmed my neck that much on my old P-bass to get a really flat profile with super low action before...
     
  11. Arx

    Arx

    Jan 22, 2008
    You're right, of course. I knew that. I was thinking about it backwards for some reason.
     
  12. Mr. Kitty

    Mr. Kitty

    Mar 14, 2008
    okay i think i understand it now!

    so here's the basic process:

    1. take strings off
    2. unscrew neck
    3. see whatever's shimming it and take it out or re-adjust it
    4. reattatch the neck
    5. put strings back on
    6. test it out, see if it still frets out
    7. if needed then readjust the action

    is that it or am i forgetting something?
    and should i do anything with the truss rod or can i let it be for now?
     
  13. Nelson Guitars

    Nelson Guitars

    Aug 14, 2006
    Novato California
    Custom builder
    Please read my previous post again. Adjusting the truss rod (getting proper relief) is important to get right before adjusting action.

    Greg N
     
  14. Mr. Kitty

    Mr. Kitty

    Mar 14, 2008
    oops sorry! stupid question...

    so the order would be:

    1. take strings off
    2. loosen truss rod
    3. unscrew neck
    4. see whatever's shimming it and take it out or re-adjust it
    5. reattatch the neck
    6. put strings back on
    7. test it out, see if it still frets out
    8. if needed then readjust the action

    or is there an error in that one too?

    thanks for being patient guys! :D
     
  15. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    You missed the step where you take a bunch of pictures ;)

    After bringing everything back together and stringing it up, press the E string down at the first and 18th fret... you should have relief (gap between the frets and the string) about equal to the thickness of a medium Fender celluloid pick (see how I pick these arbitrary figures? ;)) at the 9th fret or so. If you have more than that, the truss rod needs to be tightened. If you have no gap, and your truss rod is loose, then you've got back bow in the neck.

    Other than that, sounds about right.
     
  16. Mr. Kitty

    Mr. Kitty

    Mar 14, 2008
    haha! :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D hahahaha!

    well see i do that through the whole process! :p

    umm okay i gotcha...

    and also just curious, there is not much risk in doing this (unless i do something really stupid as was put earlier) correct? so i can't screw my bass up that easily by doing this?
     
  17. Arx

    Arx

    Jan 22, 2008
    I can't think of much you could do to screw it up. Personally I'd probably loosen the trussrod at least partially before taking the strings off. If it's badly overtightened you probably don't want it left that way with the strings off.
     
  18. Wow, that bass body got a lot of different pieces of ash :hyper:
     
  19. Mr. Kitty

    Mr. Kitty

    Mar 14, 2008
    umm kay i'll look into that arx...
    thanks...

    and how tight should i have the truss rod? pretty loose? or just relatively loose?

    and yes waseok, it is made of many pieces of ash...
    lol not the most expensive bass out there...

    however, i've never seen one completely original and in as good of shape as mine...but they probably exsist :p
     
  20. Arx

    Arx

    Jan 22, 2008
    it's not too critical really. Most people don't bother loosening it when they change strings. I'm just thinking if it's overtensioned to begin with, better safe than sorry.

    -Nick
     

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