Opinions on Shimming

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by saaronanderson, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. saaronanderson


    Mar 6, 2012
    I have a neck that I really like that, while it fits the width of the neck pocket, does not have the heel thickness to allow me to get the low action I would like on a recent build. Is it a ridiculous idea to shim it a bit between the neck and neck pocket to raise the fretboard height? or has someone done this successfully and would like to share tips? Does it kill resonance/sustain?
  2. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Not at all. In fact, that is how it's done.

    We could probably use a stickie, preferably with some how-to photos, for this, as well.
  3. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    It seems that shimming is something that is pretty common and is not evil as some people would suggest. Try shimming it...if it works great. If it doesn't, just remove the shim.
  4. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    To some it's a sham, Shim.:)
  5. Cadfael


    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    I wrote an article about shims because there are so many stupid things said about shim.
    In German it's a nice title: "Wie schlimm sind shim?" (how bad are shim?)

    Leo Fender "invented" the mass-built E-bass with removable neck.
    But Fender also had shims as replacement parts in its part list!!!
    There have ever been shims in "the world of Fender" and no one cares as long as nobody knows - because nobody hears!

    I even heard ofexcellent sounding Telecasters with metal washers as shim ...

    If your bass sound good and feels good without a shim, it will sound good and feels good with a shim! A piece of wood veneer might be best. But Fender used a kind of "paperboard" too! I used real paperboard - and it works well!

    There's no need to worry!
    If you hear a differnece, it might not be the shim but your worry! Remember that people sometimes hear what they want/intend to hear!
  6. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    I don't think a piece of wood veneer is a good idea.

    Wood feels hard when somebody knocks you over the head with a 4x2, but a piece so small that it fits the pocket and then putting on the high pressure from the neck screws will make it behave more like jelly. It might also not be 100% stable long-term. There's a lot you can squeeze out of wood if you just push hard enough.

    Better use something hard (metal) or pre-compressed such as single-layer cardboard. And don't make it small so that you don't compress the hell out of small portion of the neck or body side guitar wood.
  7. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Shims work fine, don't worry about it.
  8. saaronanderson


    Mar 6, 2012
    Ok. Thanks guys.! Ill give it a shot and report back !
  9. saaronanderson


    Mar 6, 2012
    Wow. So a few pieces of cereal box later I have a bass with some really nice action. That was too easy. Thank you all!
  10. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
  11. sonic 7

    sonic 7

    Aug 10, 2011
    Queens, N.Y.C.
    I use fine grit drywall sanding screen in the neck pocket of my 78 jazz bass, its abraisive surface on both sides keeps the neck from shifting in the pocket ( big problem on that bass) also a tighter bond than using the micro tilt screw.
  12. tbplayer59


    Jan 20, 2013
    If Fender designed the "tilt a neck", how bad could shims be?
  13. sonic 7

    sonic 7

    Aug 10, 2011
    Queens, N.Y.C.
    Not sure i understand the question, but the micro tilt is a good concept but it was poorly executed on late 70s 3 bolt bass necks. The neck pocket on these basses leaves as much as a 1/16 inch gap all around, even with the tilt screw backed all the way out which leaves the neck bolted in full contact with body it shifts out of position with minimal pressure, its even worse when the tilt screw us utilized.