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What to use as a neck Shim?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Bassgrowl95, Apr 15, 2015.

  1. Bassgrowl95


    Dec 14, 2011
    I just switched to an high mass bridge on my Fender P-bass and since the bridge it both thicker then the original and with larger saddles i need a shim at the body end of the neck pocket to get decent action.

    Never shimmed a neck before, is it anything i need to think off? and what would work well as one? I have heard about using sandpaper, playing cards and such. I only need a pretty thin shim i belive.
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I would swing by the local hardware store and get some thin cut maple, 1/16" or so, as wide as the pocket. Almost maple veneer...
  3. piece of a business card works fine
    Brian D, bench, troy mcclure and 2 others like this.
  4. I use metal shim stock (pack). A variety pack will have different thicknesses. Metal will transfer vibration more efficiently.
  5. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    I used pennies and a nickle to shim up a neck back when. It worked just fine.
    Moosehead1966 likes this.
  6. RattleSnack

    RattleSnack Supporting Member

    Sep 22, 2011
    (Arguably) anything will work - sound gets transfered through neck screws.
    Business card did the trick for me.
    thabassmon likes this.
  7. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    A piece of .062 brass sheet.Cut to fit the neck pocket shape.And holes drilled so the bolts can go through.
    hdracer likes this.
  8. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco/HELIX user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    Card stock(about as thick as a business card) works here.
  9. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    ^ This is true. I have used many things, all worked fine. But my favorite was a cut credit card. Rule of thumb, whatever thickness shim you put in the body side of the neck pocket will increase the height the string needs to be at the bridge by 3X that.
    thabassmon likes this.
  10. Ramleg85


    Apr 21, 2013
    Hartford, CT
    index, business or playing card should be fine.
  11. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
  12. Fat Steve

    Fat Steve The poodle bites, the poodle chews it.

    Barbaric.Eric likes this.
  13. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    But has the down side of the neck joint slipping around easier. I've used both business cards (or card stock) and maple veneer. For small adjustments business cards are quick and dirty but tend to crush under the neck joint tension. But the crushing means they conform to the wood of the joint better and make for a very tight stable neck joint. The veneer doesn't crush like the cards but doesn't grip the surface of the neck joint wood as well either.

    Most anything works. The "traditional" neck shim is supposed to be a bit of matchbook cover from a dive bar.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
    vistacruiser likes this.
  14. Jipley0


    Nov 25, 2013
    Edmonton, Alberta
    I've always had good luck with these.

  15. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I always use a short strip of emery cloth because I have roles of different grits on my work bench. The truth is just about anything will work, vibration transfer is not a concern.
    thabassmon likes this.
  16. Juststanley

    Juststanley Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2014
    business card.... .010
    credit card......... .030
    dime............... .053
    penny.......... .0598
    quarter....... .069
    nickel......... .07677

    How much shim do ya need..??

    I have used the credit card and pennys (1959 wheat...birth year...lol)
    Guiseppe likes this.
  17. I have shimmed a few necks using a section cut off from a plastic rewards card like the ones given out at retail stores.
  18. I recently cut a piece of sandpaper to the dimensions of the pocket, then cut several more pieces decreasing in length each time and then glued them together to make a sort of stair-step/wedge-shaped shim so that there wouldn't be any empty space in there. Worked well!
    vistacruiser, mb94952 and 96tbird like this.
  19. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    hardwood veneer purchased at a craft store. Easy to cut with scissors. Use a hole punch to make holes for screws to pass through. Because it's real wood veneer is sounds better than plastic cards. (I'm kidding) Sometimes you need two layers to do the trick. If you take your time cutting the right shape you might barely even notice it's there. I think if you need more that 2 or 3 layers then something is really off and I'd reconsider why a shim is a good idea in the first place.
  20. guitardr


    Jan 28, 2013
    I routinely use a business card. If it is not thick enough, fold it in half. It's all about finding the right angle so the saddle aren't buried or raised up too high.

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