Think I need a shim if I switch to lighter gauge strings?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by maplenecked, Feb 18, 2018.


  1. maplenecked

    maplenecked

    Dec 1, 2017
    Honolulu
    IMG_9993.JPG IMG_4070.JPG

    Have been thinking about switching this bass to lighter gauge strings... This setup plays really nicely but it looks like I won't be able to go any lower. Do basses a year old generally need a shim so soon? Dec2016 Fender American Professional Jazz, thanks!
     
  2. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    how is your neck relief? ibanez had a bunch of their lower level SR300s ship out with strings all but touching the necks because they pretty much left out neck relief. i played or saw more than 10 of them in person, and you couldn't really play them until a store tech added relief. btw, is your neck angle normal?

    i have moved to a lighter gauge (usually from 12's to 10s or 11s) on at least 25 basses, probably more, and i've never needed to shim, although sometimes a very light saddle or neck relief adjustments are needed. but my strings were never that close to the body unless my husband adjusted them that way - i have one bass i keep with action that low deliberately.

    hopefully some more experienced folks will pop up here soon.
     
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  3. maplenecked

    maplenecked

    Dec 1, 2017
    Honolulu
    Neck relief set at .012"
     
  4. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    A shim changes the neck-to-body angle. That angle won't change when you switch to lighter strings. Your relief might change, but that's the domain of the truss rod.
     
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  5. maplenecked

    maplenecked

    Dec 1, 2017
    Honolulu

    Please reference the pictures in the OP that show the low height of the bridge saddles.
     
  6. If everything else with the setup is correct and you still want the strings closer to the frets then, yes, a shim would typically be the next step.
     
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    Saddles are low but not on the deck. Break angle is good. Nothing wrong with that.
     
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  8. maplenecked

    maplenecked

    Dec 1, 2017
    Honolulu

    I anticipate hitting the deck when changing to the lighter gauge strings
     
  9. maplenecked

    maplenecked

    Dec 1, 2017
    Honolulu
    And trying to achieve the same string height of course
     
  10. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    Why would you need to lower them with lighter gauge strings?
     
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  11. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    Because he doesn't understand how setup works.
     
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  12. maplenecked

    maplenecked

    Dec 1, 2017
    Honolulu

    Ok, if it makes my question a little easier to understand, remove the “lighter gauge” element from it and replace it with “lower action”, if you look at the pics in the OP, there is very little room to lower the bridge saddles further. So, I am thinking the next step is to shim.

    Sorry I have given you the impression I don’t know how setup works and thanks for your useful response to my thread.
     
  13. maplenecked

    maplenecked

    Dec 1, 2017
    Honolulu

    Ok, so looking at my OP (again), if I wanted to lower the action on a new set of strings, looking at the picture of my bridge, I have almost no room to go down. So, ok, for the third time now, the next step would be to shim right? And, again, from the OP, is this unusual for a bass barely a year old?
     
  14. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    OK, the problem is that you weren't clear about wanting lower action. You said "This setup plays really nicely but it looks like I won't be able to go any lower." You didn't say you wanted to go lower yet, and the "really nice" part suggested that were satisfied with the way it was.

    So, yes, to go lower a shim might be the answer if all else is properly set up.
     
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  15. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    With the bridge saddles that close to bottoming out, I would probably shim the neck just to provide some set-up flexibility going forward.
     
  16. maplenecked

    maplenecked

    Dec 1, 2017
    Honolulu
    I have the heigh at just around 6/64”, would like to swap to lighter gauge strings, and get the action down to around 5/64”. It plays really nicely the way it is currently setup at 6/64” with .012” neck relief. I’m am a little annoyed that a shim is necessary on such a newish bass to achieve that string height.
     
  17. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    Need for a shim is not a result of instrument age. Some brand new instruments come from the factory with shims installed. Don't worry about it.
     
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  18. Paulabass

    Paulabass

    Sep 18, 2017
    Turnaround is right, but I would shim. I hate having the screws coming out of the top of the saddles.
    That's just me.
     
  19. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    OP dissected and answered in BOLD for clarity.

    Have been thinking about switching this bass to lighter gauge strings... This setup plays really nicely but it looks like I won't be able to go any lower.

    Not much lower to be sure, a shim will help. Bows a good time to do it Cut a narrow strip of business card and put it in the bridge end of the neck. Nothing to do with lighter strings though.

    Do basses a year old generally need a shim so soon?

    Age has nothing to do with it. Seems to me it should have had a shim before leaving the Fender worx.

    Dec2016 Fender American Professional Jazz, thanks!
     
    JLS likes this.
  20. JLS

    JLS

    Sep 12, 2008
    eureka, ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    And, again, from the OP, is this unusual for a bass barely a year old?

    Nope.
     
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