New USA Fender Needs A Neck Shim?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dxb, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. dxb


    Dec 25, 2016
    I just picked up a new American Standard Dimension Bass V. This is my first USA Fender and I like it for the most part. There are a few issues like inconsistent spacing on the nut slots, loose knobs and a jack plate that doesn't sit flush against the body- which are frankly disappointing on something that retails for $1500- but I can live with them because I got it on sale for a really good price.

    A more serious issue is that while lowering the somewhat-high action, the bridge saddles bottomed out well before I got the string height where it needed to be. The neck looks straight and the truss rod is properly adjusted with a very slight upward bow, but the high-mass bridge just won't adjust down very far. Am I missing something or is the only option a neck shim?

    If so, is that a normal thing to have to do on a new American Standard? And what's the best material to use? One concern is that the outer edge of the neck pocket curves at an angle because of the 5-bolt design, so I worry that might cause the neck to twist if it gets tilted by a shim.
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  2. The shim won't twist your neck, and the rest of it is not unheard of for Fender at any price.
  3. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    Lompoc, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    There might already be a shim in there. Might need to go a bit thicker.
  4. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    That seems very odd that a brand new bass would need a neck shim. With that many issues, I would take it back and have it replaced. But, if you like it and can live with the neck shim, and the other issues, than you can do your own shim job. There are a lot of videos tutorials.

    But really, I would get that one replaced. If the bass has that many problems brand new, I wonder what else will come to light in the future. For a new $1500 I would expect it to be set up and ready to play.
  5. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA

    The nut slot spacing is hard to understand given the way they are cut. The jack plate is easy to understand given the plate is a standard part and fits different body curvatures differently often requiring a little bending.
    dxb likes this.
  6. dxb


    Dec 25, 2016
    Yeah, I would've already exchanged it but its a discontinued model that isn't available any more and I got a pretty big discount on it. It was brand new though so I could still get a refund if I decide to go that route. That's why I'm trying to see if these issues are common or if I got a lemon. I can replace the nut pretty easily and the warped jack plate is just a cosmetic thing, but the idea of shimming the neck is uncharted territory for me.
    Badwater likes this.
  7. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    Well if you got it for a good price, other than the neck issue everything should work out. Neck shim is a way to angle the neck back on the fulcrum which is your neck joint. Adding some height to the rear area between the neck and the body will solve the problem. How much to angle depends on how high you want your saddles. There are some tutorials on the YouTube to guide you. Here's one that's simple and to the point

    It's a guitar, but the same concept crosses over to bass.
    dxb likes this.
  8. fretno

    fretno Supporting Member

    May 10, 2009
    Los Angeles
    It's not at all uncommon for a bolt on to need a shim. It's not because a manufacturer failed and made a poor build. It is a personal setup preference. To fine tune the setup that instrument requires a shim. It's standard practice
  9. dxb


    Dec 25, 2016
    Interesting, so Fender guitars can come from the factory already shimmed?
  10. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    make sure the neck relief is right before you take the neck off to shim it

    by that I mean that getting the relief right might solve your problem & preclude needing a shim
    TrustRod, ThuzzleFump, DavC and 4 others like this.
  11. Lowness

    Lowness Inactive

    Mar 13, 2015
    Healdsburg, CA
    It's those crap badass style bridges - poor ability to go low; have one on my Steve Harris p.

    I am not buying a dimension until they ditch these bridges.
    electracoyote, pacojas, Gabbs and 2 others like this.
  12. dxb


    Dec 25, 2016
    True, vintage style saddles would probably go lower, but I also have a Squier Dimension bass and there's no issue with the high-mass bridge on that. The action is perfect the saddles still have room to go lower. Seems like it depends on the shape of the neck pocket and how deep it is.
    AlexanderB likes this.
  13. I have a shim on my 2011 am standard jazz v. It's a great playing bass, I just like the action a little closer that how it came stock. After putting the shim in, she plays like a dream. You shouldn't have any issues. I've shimmed quite a few necks before.

    Stew Mac makes some wooden wedge plates that are a little pricey, but probably are the best for the job. I've always used wet/dry sandpaper in the past, but if I might picks up some of those someday just to mess with. I'm not sure if they are made for your bass though.
    tbplayer59, mcnach and dxb like this.
  14. Buy a Squier LOL.
  15. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    Yup. Search eBay, you can get vintage, factory original neck shims. Sometimes they got lazy and just used cardboard, sandpaper....Whatever they had around to get the neck angle right.
    dxb likes this.
  16. Lowness

    Lowness Inactive

    Mar 13, 2015
    Healdsburg, CA
    It depends on many different things - the bridge is one item that is not optimal.

    I'd get rid of the dimension budge and do the same as per the pbasses.
  17. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Did you see/play this bass before you bought it?
    ajkula66 and Bodeanly like this.
  18. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I wonder if he means the nut slots are on center instead of equal distance between each string. That's normal for Fender.
  19. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    This was exactly my experience with these basses. I tried a dozen different ones on my quest to acquire one; the common complaint was the saddles running out of travel- unacceptable at that price point. I gave up on them. Too bad because I loved the necks on the fivers
  20. BAG


    May 5, 2014
    New Zealand
    With the design of the American Standard Dimension Bass V neck attachment, rather than a normal shim in the front of the neck pocket to tilt the neck, I'd probably go with a full size shim to lift the neck. I too would be worried about issues in the future. It's not like it would simply be tilting the neck like with a rectangular neck pocket. I'm happy to be corrected by those with much more knowledge than me.
    dxb likes this.
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