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What's the best way to shim a neck?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Jeff in TX, Jul 5, 2002.

  1. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    I have a Warmoth P/J with a jazz neck. I used an ABM bridge which has a high profile. I want to get the strings closer to the neck and the bridge is set as low as it will go.

    What are my options, and how do I do it?

  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I used a business card.... worked great!

    Now trade me your 6 string for my 5 string :D
  3. bwbass


    May 6, 2002
    Well, I hate using paper for a shim... although of course I've done it. My old 4-string washtub bass had a penny for a neck shim!

    Wood or maybe a piece of brass is better, right at the end of the pocket where the neck heel hits the body. You'll be looking for a veneer around .015 thick for starters. You don't need much to change your action quite a bit because the neck is so long.
  4. Best, most available and proper sized material for shim stock is right in your kitchen garbage can...an old Coke can. You can cut it with scissors (not yer momma's!!) and it works great. I would make sure to cut the shim as wide as the neck pocket and about ½" - ¾" thick. You can even trim it perfectly to fit the contours of the pocket itself.

    Works every time.
  5. I've used thin strips of plastic, a cut up coke can, layers of duct tape, thin balsa wood, whatever is thin enough that I can get my hands on.
  6. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    A piece of interior wood paneling, veneer of course, soaked in warm water for about ten minutes will delaminate. The top layer of wood is a good thickness for shim stock. Place it between the pages of a magazine to dry and it will dry flat. Just cut it to size with a sharp knife or scissors. Not your mothers, though. :)

    A matchbook cover or a business card seems to work just as well as a wood shim though.

  7. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I did it with a large thin-gauge guitar pick.

    What else are picks good for, anyways:pLOL
  8. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    It just dawned on me that the original question was "what's the best way to shim a kneck?'.

    We've covered the full range of what to shim it with but not how to shim it.

    I'll try to explain how I shim a neck and comments are welcome.

    1-Determine which way neck needs to be shimmed.

    If the bridge is too low to make the action lower with the adjustment screws in the saddles, shim the neck pocket at the very end of the neck. The closed end of the neck pocket.

    If the bridge is too high , more than about 1/8" of the screw out through the bottom of the saddle, shim the pocket at the open end of the pocket.

    2-Crank down the tension on all the strings. Remove the screws holding the neck to the body. No need to remove the strings but a capo on the first fret will keep the strings under control.

    Use shims of your material of choice. As Hambone said, make the shims about 1/2" to 5/8" wide. Make them as long as the neck pocket is wide.

    Be prepared to take the neck off two or three times
    as you tweek it in by using the right number of shims. Don't use a drill for a screw driver. Its too rough on the threads in the body. Hand tighten ONLY. When you are starting the screws into the body, use a light touch for the first three or turns. The idea is to make the screw go back into the same threads that it came from. If the screw has to cut new threads each time the wood will become "screw sick".

    3- Lay the shim(s) in the neck pocket either right at the back of the neck pocket or right at the edge of the open end of the pocket. Always make sure that the screw doesn't go through the shim and that the shim is outside the screw pattern. I always start with three shims but I expect to take the neck back off at least once to fine tune the adjustment.

    That's really all that there is to it. Just work carefully and have the patience to do it right.

    I'd like to mention something that's just a bit off the topic but I believe that it needs to be said.

    When advice is offered by me or anyone else, it's to be understood that you are somewhat mechanically inclined.

    If you don't know what an allen wrench is, you probably will be better off to pay someone else to do it and let you watch. Bob Villa can work one 27 different ways. :)

    Sorry for being so long winded.

    eqvolvorama likes this.
  9. I have been playing since 1964 and I've never had the need to shim a neck...until now. I was hoping that it was something I could do myself since I have been doing my own truss-rod, action and intonation adjustments for years. Thanks for a great, easy to understand explanation. This is a piece of cake!
  10. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    Thanks much to everyone who replied. You were very helpful and my Warmoth is now properly shimmed!

    Thanks again,
  11. It worked perfectly. Thanks!!

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