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Neck Relief + Action Questions

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by damagebassist87, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. damagebassist87


    Feb 24, 2007
    I had ordered an essex 4+1 bass neck (the maple w/ black blocks) to replace the neck on my sjb62. Once the neck was installed it was clear that there was some issues with the string height. The strings seem have very high action even though the bridge has been lowered nearly to its lowest setting. Refusing to tamper with it myself, I took it to a technician who told me that the only way I fix this problem is by shimming the neck. The strange thing is that the new neck is identical to the previous neck in terms of heel depth and cut so it seems strange that I would not be able to achieve the same string height I had before changing necks. Is this issue with the new neck something that can be resolved by adjusting the relief or would the shim be the most appropriate solution? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  2. 18eranaRic

    18eranaRic Banned

    Mar 7, 2009
    Malibu, USA
    there's nothing wrong with using a shim, i don't think making up for it in relief is a good idea unless there's a huge scoop to your new neck (totally loose truss when fully strung and to pitch). the truss is more for very fine tuning and to keep the neck straight under the load of the strings. sometimes the truss needs to be adjusted for a string gauge change, or long-term fatigue of the wood. it's ok to shim (after a complete set-up from your tech with the strings you plan on using, and it's still out). IMO
  3. I'm with Ric; nothing wrong with shimming a neck.
  4. Neck shim is the right way to go for sure.
    Heck, I've seen stock basses straight from the manufacturer with shims in the neck pocket.
  5. praisegig

    praisegig Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    Stephenville, TX
    Same here. Just a few thousandth of an inch shim, over the length of the string, will make a difference at the bridge that you can make the necessary adjustments.
  6. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147

    Agreed. It is not the depth, width or curve of the neck butt, but rather the plane of the back of the neck heel in relation to the plane of the fingerboard. A shim is normal, and will not change the tone. In fact, because you will have a better set-up, the tone will likely improve.
  7. Amen!!! I've read posts about optimal material for shimming & decrying the use of a business card but (for me at least) the main point is that an easily-playable bass sounds a LOT better than one with excessively high action.
  8. damagebassist87


    Feb 24, 2007
    Thanks for the help guys!
  9. SHIM it and play it.
  10. damagebassist87


    Feb 24, 2007
    Well I just got a call from the technician and he said that the neck is way too shallow for a shim and that the only option would be to extend the heel which would be too expensive and the bass is just not worth it. So...I guess the original neck will just go back on and I'm out $60. I guess it could be worse.
  11. jschwalls


    Sep 4, 2007
    Savannah GA
    I do all the repair work for a local music store and the other day I had to add a 3/32 shim to a MIA Jazz V.

    I was shocked... the bass was new and the buyer wanted the action playable...

    So my point is, even the "good" basses need help.

  12. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    This doesn't make sense.

    Please ask him to measure the depth of the neck pocket and the thickness of the heel of the neck. Post it here. Someone will help you.
  13. He has to be using the term 'shim' differently than we seem to in here. He HAS to be!!! I can't see ANY tech being that big a rip-off artist.

    Shimming for me;
    1/ completely slacken all strings
    2/ detach neck from body
    3/ cut a piece of business card so it will fit loosely in the bridge-ward end of the neck pocket
    4/ reattach the neck
    5/ tune strings
    6/ set up.

    The only way I see shallowness being an issue in doing that would be that tech's moral shallowness.
  14. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    That's quite an assumption and borders on libel. If I may paraphrase an old friend, "What we write is who we are on the internet."

    It could be that the neck pocket is very shallow. It doesn't seem likely but information is missing from the OP. It could be that the tech isn't very good. Or it could be that the tech is spot on and we are all wet because we lack hard data. Let the OP publish the facts before we leap to any conclusions about the tech or his methods. Same goes for opinions as to what should be done to rectify the situation from a physical or business standpoint.

    Respectfully submitted.
  15. Respectfully read.

    Trying to stick to technical, I'm struggling to visualize a 4 screw neck that can't be shimmed. Worst I can see is that you have to shim between the screws or just nut-ward of them. Thoughts?
  16. Dertygen


    Dec 21, 2008
    A-Town, Colorado
    I am unfamiliar to these two... but maybe... are the neck dimensions the same? I'm thinking like a thin Ibanez neck on a Squire Affinity... new neck too small?

    Just my $.02
  17. damagebassist87


    Feb 24, 2007
    Ok, let me clarify some things:

    1) The tech who first suggested the shim was not same as the one who told me that the neck was too shallow. When I first took it in, the tech there looked it over and told me that relief adjustments were not the problem and that I would likely need to shim it. That's when I originally posted asking for everyone's advice. I took it back and the same tech said he would let the head technician inspect it and call with an estimate. When he did call he notified me that the shim would not be enough. He asked me if I still had the original neck (which I do) and said it would be better to just fix the buzz issues w/ the original neck rather than try to compensate for the new neck's problems. I appreciate everyone looking out for me but I really don't think this guy is trying to scam me. I have used him in the past for other things and I have never had a problem. Basically, he called up urging me not to try and fix the problem with the new neck and instead go back to the old one.
    2) The items in question are these:

    Once again, I appreciate the help. I'm a bit frustrated that I spent the money on the neck and now I have no use for it. I also cannot return it since I had already drilled the holes for the tuners, neck screws, etc. But at least I will be more cautious about buying replacement parts in the future.
  18. I have 2 SX basses and I can tell you that there's plenty of room in the neck pocket for a shim. Unless the neck is seriously bent or damaged, I can't see a problem.

    Maybe you should try it for yourself and see what happens. It's not that difficult, we can walk you through it.
  19. Dertygen


    Dec 21, 2008
    A-Town, Colorado
    I'm thinking now that although the two necks are nearly identical in dimensions, that (I don't see where it's specified for the necks) there is an arch height difference.

    Could someone correct me on this?

    If so... shimming... huh?

    Also, I really don't think he's trying to scam.
  20. Nearly,every Bass I own has a shim in the neck.From cheap to boutique a little neck angle is proper.IME,IMO...

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