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Should I use a 2nd shim, or should Warmoth remedy their mistake?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by jscomposer, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. jscomposer


    Nov 25, 2009
    Same thread getting no love in basses section. Then I saw this section. Here goes...

    NOTHING ever goes right the first TWO times. :rolleyes:

    So I'm not out of the woods yet with my 5-string Warmoth build with Hipshot trem. Warmoth didn't angle the neck pocket like they were supposed to, even though I double checked with them when ordering. So I already used 1 shim that I pulled from a Jackson Dinky guitar that doesn't need it because the tune-o-matic bridge can go low enough. Definitely helped, but the 1st string is still a tad high even with the bridge posts screwed all the way down, and the saddle as low as possible. And the only reason the low B and low E are OK is because they're tapered. I know not all bass strings are tapered, so that could be a problem down the line.

    Warmoth claims they did angle the neck pocket... 1/2 a degree. In hindsight, I'm wondering if that was a joke.

    So should I use another shim, or see if Warmoth would angle the pocket properly? I can already see the tiny gap between the heel and the pocket, so I'm paranoid about adding another shim.
  2. I think you better show us some pics so we know what we're working with.
  3. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    If that gap is at the outer edge of the pocket, you are shimming in the wrong direction.
    I'm assuming the gap is there because the shim is at the outer end of the pocket. It
    needs to be at the inner end of the pocket to lower the string height range.

    It's not a full pocket length shim, is it? That will only raise the neck slightly, not change
    the angle.
  4. jscomposer


    Nov 25, 2009
    As you can see, the bridge is as low as it can get, and the low-B and high-G saddles are as low as they go.

    EDIT (for megafiddle): No, I didn't put the shim at the outer edge. Gimme some credit. lol It's exactly where it's supposed to be, towards the bridge, at the very end of the heel. You can see that it makes the correct angle in the 2nd photo.

  5. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Sorry, had to check. It does happen.

    Did you try setting a straightedge on the heel end of the neck so it extended over the
    body? In order to estimate the angle, or see if there's any angle there at all?
  6. jscomposer


    Nov 25, 2009
    Not exactly sure what you mean, but I did lay a ruler on the body surface extending along the neck, and there's definitely an angle now. Should I do the same without the shim? I don't have something to measure the angle with though.
  7. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    That works too, same idea. I was asking because you might want to check to see
    if whether they actually angled it or not before asking them to do it properly.

    If you have to disassemble it anyway to redo the shims, it's probably worth checking
    without the shim.

    I can get some measurement numbers for 1/2 degree shortly.
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    you could pop out the B and G saddle inserts and grind them down a bit from the bottom, as long as the string still made a decent angle over them when re-installed.

    also, it looks like the strings aren't quite "seated", in that i see a little bit of string curving up off the saddles towards the middle; firmly pressing on them right at the witness points (nut and saddle) to straighten that out will get the strings a little closer, maybe making the difference here. it'll also improve intonation.

    (also, this might have gotten more love in the "set up and repair" section.)
  9. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Ok, 1/2 degree will give you 1/16" rise (or fall) over a distance of 7".

    So if the straightedge were on the body, the neck would drop off by 1/16" at a point
    7" from the end of the neck, compared to a point at the end of the neck.

    Alternatively, with the straightedge on the neck, a point on the body 7" from the end
    of the neck would measure 1/16" greater (body to straightedge) than a point on the
    body right at the end of the neck.

    This assumes that the neck fretboard board side and bottom side at the heel are parallel.

    Hope that makes sense.
  10. jscomposer


    Nov 25, 2009
    It's definitely not 1/16" without the shim. I don't think it's even a mm. More like 1/16" with the shim. Looks like I got a phone call to make tomorrow. I mean, even if the neck pocket were angled, there should be at least a little room for bridge height adjustment. It shouldn't have to be cranked all the way down just to get the action somewhat low.

    I knew there was a disconnect on their end. Their bridge routing page says "To be fully functional the neck pocket must be slightly angled or shimed [sic]. Add $20 for this custom work." They never charged me for that even though I called and emailed to double check with them that they're angling the neck pocket. They assured me on the phone that it was being done and that it's included in the free routing for the Hipshot trem. :rollno:

    OK, I made sure they're seated. Same issue. And I did think about filing down the saddles a bit. No way would that be possible without the shim, as it'd severely lessen the break angle. But I think it's doable with the shim. Still, now that I know Warmoth didn't even angle it 1/2 a degree, I'd rather THEY fix it.

    lol @ my persistent sub-forum fail. I guess Warmoth is to luthiery like a microwave is to cooking. [​IMG]
  11. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast

    Jul 16, 2005
    Belfast, UK
    Just shim it again. Everything will be fine.
  12. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Do you have the bridge set so you can raise and lower the pitch, or only lower it?
    If you want to be able to raise the pitch also (for vibrato), you will need a little
    extra action height to allow the bridge plate to drop without the strings going too low.

    That's probably what Warmouth meant by "To be fully functional".

    Is that one of their necks also?
  13. jscomposer


    Nov 25, 2009
    Yeah, it's all Warmoth. And I actually chiseled a recess under the bridge to accommodate pullups even with the posts screwed all the way down.
  14. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Contact Warmoth, they have excellent customer service and they'll help you sort it out...
  15. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Does sound like they simply angled it wrong.

    A shim of about .010" is acceptable if it gets you well centered within adjustment range
    but you are all the way at one limit even with the shim.

    The relief is good?
  16. jscomposer


    Nov 25, 2009
    There's a bit of relief.

    I fashioned a slightly thicker shim out of a wood shim I had made for a Floyd Rose nut from another Warmoth build that went down the toilet (for a similar reason except a lot more severe). The 1st string could still stand to go a bit lower, but I think I can live with it.

    I get the impression that Warmoth is great for Fender copies, but hit-or-miss on anything beyond that.
  17. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    There is a reason that Warmoth sells bass parts, and not completed instruments. A little fitting may be necessary for everything to fit just right. As far as I am concerned this should be expected.
  18. jscomposer


    Nov 25, 2009
    Well sure, but not when I double check with them that they're angling the neck pocket, and then they don't.