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Shimming a neck

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by russpurdy, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. russpurdy


    Apr 16, 2013
    So I have a squier affinity and the saddles are dropped but the action isn't low enough for my taste. I have a small shim in already and more of a shim will give too much of an angle for my liking. Does anyone have experience with using flat shims that fit in the entire neck pocket and act as a "riser"? If so, how did you go about this?
  2. Hi.

    I always use a full shim unless the customer doesn't like that, so I'd just make the front lip a bit thicker, not a knife edge.

    Do install threaded inserts or longer neck screws if You raise the neck in the pocket, otherwise you may strip the threads.

  3. Rich McCoy

    Rich McCoy

    Apr 8, 2013
    You could turn the truss to straighten the neck.
  4. lundborg


    Apr 8, 2008
    Cut a piece of cardboard to fit in the neck pocket. Then get a thin piece of hardwood and cut it using the cardboard as template.
  5. bassdude51

    bassdude51 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Excellent idea! Why didn't I think of this?
  6. russpurdy


    Apr 16, 2013
    Neck is already straight. Thanks for the cardboard tip guys!
  7. eb3mike


    Nov 5, 2010
    I fitted an SX neck to a 1990 P Squire body and had to take a grinder to the bottom of the saddles to get the action I liked.
  8. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    i only shimmed when i had big hi mass bridges, i'm not sure how to do it for other issues
  9. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I agree about a flat shim. I usually make them from thin solid basswood or birch ply both from the hobby shop and use the heel of the neck as a template.
  10. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Well, if the tilt appears unnatural with an end-of-pocket shim, a full-pocket is the way to go. A trial 'n error paper template is your best bet. I have cast-off hardwood veneer samples that work nicely and can be shaped with a common xacto razor.

    I'll assume your saddles are bottomed-out. How much of a "boost" does the neck pocket require? Remember to check and re-set your witness points if you've not already done so...the practice is largely ignored and creates all sorts of problems. It may also drop the strings closer to the "deck" (fingerboard) which, in your case, would be desirable. Mod'ing bridge saddles is also an alternative unless it results in a too-shallow break angle.

  11. Cal Webway

    Cal Webway

    Jan 10, 2014
    I use graduated feeler gauges from highest area, feathered out to zero.
    full neck pocket covered.

  12. arginator


    Feb 28, 2009
    Upstate NY
    I've never done it, but I've read that business cards work well for this too.
  13. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Or find other`ways to not deal with the problem.
  14. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Instead of a freaking shim?

    What's with some people?
  15. eb3mike


    Nov 5, 2010
    LOL... worked like a charm and it's a friggin squire for goodness sakes and now its a well playing squire. I've never been a fan of adding a shim between a neck and a body. Always seemed like a weak joint. I have done it... just don't like it.
  16. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I shimmed my Lakland 55-60 neck last night with a business card and it worked like a charm.
  17. That sounds (potentially) like a really good idea !

    I like it.
  18. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I don't know about a Lakland, but for a Squier the "traditional" shim is a machbook cover from a dive bar... :)
  19. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Now that you mention it, I've noticed that since smoking has been banned in bars here, the bars don't seem to have those cool matchbooks anymore.
  20. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    The finer boutique builders will use a section of the dorsal of the Australian Baramundi for shimming.

    Personally, I always thought there was something fishy about that. Though it may help when playing scales. I tried it - got me hooked.