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Should I recess my bridge?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lavmonga, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. lavmonga


    Jul 27, 2007
    New York, NY
    I've got an SX PJ body with a Squier VM neck on it. Just put it together a few weeks ago and for the life of me, I can't get the action low enough. I like crazy low action btw. With the neck just sitting in the pocket, it seemed low, so I started raising the neck, first I used some layered masking tape, didn't seem to get the neck high enough, the saddles were still bottoming out. So I swapped it for a piece of 1/8" pressboard, which was better, but still low and I needed to shim the top of the pocket to fix the angle of the neck a little. Ended up still low, I finally just put both the tape shim and wood shim together, the neck is like 3/8" off of the body, SADDLES STILL BOTTOMING OUT Should I try to recess the bridge an 1/8" or so?

    Bridge is a Schaller Roller; might sit a little higher than a standard bridge?

  2. tabdog


    Feb 9, 2011
    With a body that far out, I would
    re-cut the neck pocket.

  3. I had my luthier do it for me once. It worked really well. I had a body refinished and it was a very thick sparkle finish with a thick poly coat. It threw the neck pocket way off. I don't like using shims, and I certainly don't like having to fill in that much of the pocket with shim material when I do. My luthier had to make a template of the bridge footprint to keep the router "in bounds" so to speak. But I ended up with the neck heel mated tightly to the neck pocket and the bridge mated tightly to the body. Peace of mind, easy set up from that point forward.
  4. bdgotoh

    bdgotoh Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Pacific NW
    Shims are usually set up at an angle for that application, so the neck sits in the pocket at a slight tilt.
  5. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Why not just cut a flat wood shim that's of the right depth to fill the entire neck pocket and raise the neck to the needed height? You can drill it to allow the mounting screws to pass, and then fine-tune with a small shim. It's much easier to get this right than to recess a bridge. Too many unknowns at present.
  6. lavmonga


    Jul 27, 2007
    New York, NY
    I did cut a piece of wood to fill the neck pocket. What I'm saying is that the neck is already so far off of the original pocket, I thought it may be better to cut down on the other end (bridge).
  7. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    No, don't do it!

    First, take out whatever you have in the neck pocket and reinstall the neck.

    Set one saddle at mid height (to give you some adjusting room) measure that height. Now, divide the height of the saddle from the bridge plate by 3 make a shim of that thicknes (I like aluminum foil) and put it ONLY under the neck screws away from the headstock.

    That shim should get you in the ballpark, but if you need more, measure the height of a saddle, put the saddle at the height you want out to be, subtract the first measurement from the second, divide out by 3 and ADD that much shim to the one already in the pocket, and you should be done.
  8. ics1974


    Apr 13, 2012
    Also make sure you don't have way too much releif in the neck otherwise it raises your action.
  9. 4stringsrenough


    May 8, 2012
    I had a problem with a fender jazz bass . I had to put a shim in the neck pocket and it always felt like I was playing at a wrong angle as far as string action . I fix the problem by selling the bass . I have heard this is a problem with some jazz basses
  10. lavmonga


    Jul 27, 2007
    New York, NY
    I'll try this tonight and report back.
  11. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    This is IT!

    I went through the same noobie loop when I converted one of my SX basses to fretless. The new neck seemed about 1/8 too low! What to do? I considered the raising block under the neck, the recessed bridge and then finally came to my senses. That bass neck is VERY long. it takes the tinyest of tilts to give you 1/8" at the bridge.

    A neck shim, and retighten the neck and the bass is completely setup perfectly. And that angle is so small to give that tiny amount at the saddles that anyone who says he can "feel" it is, um, exagerating.

    The shim is the simple effective fix. Now I did worry about the shim somehow interferring with the sonic transfer in the neck pocket, but I have never observed such a difference even though I suppose it is possible. I have several basses that needed neck shims for various reasons.
  12. just put a little strip of a business card in the heal of the neck pocket to angle the neck (shim) - that will take care of it.
  13. lavmonga


    Jul 27, 2007
    New York, NY
    Base of neck pocket shim seems to be working! This is the first time I've had to shim the base of a neck.
  14. glad we could help :)