Do you shim your necks?

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Do you shim your necks?

Postby Haustnótt » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:49 am

I put a thin maple shim in the neck pocket of my VMJM today, giving me a half-degree neck tilt. I wasn't sure if I needed one, but the high E string felt a little loose in the groove of my Staytrem bridge, so I thought I'd give it a try. I bought a readymade one from Stewart-MacDonald: http://www.stewmac.com/Materials_and_Supplies/Bodies_and_Necks_and_Wood/Electric_Guitar_Bodies_and_Necks_and_Wood/Electric_Guitar_Necks/StewMac_Bolt-on_Neck_Shims.html

Lo and behold! This transformed the instrument from good to downright fantastic. The increased angle over the bridge really made a huge difference. The sustain is now at least as good as on my Telecasters, and the dynamic register feels huge. Phrasing feels so much more natural and eloquent now. The tone changed a bit too, there is slightly more crispness and firmness in the midrange. This is of course also because the distance to the pickups increased a little.

I cannot recommend this very small and easy modification enough. The shim perfectly fit the neck pocket, and the holes perfectly aligned with the screws. The whole operation took a couple of minutes. I did not expect this to have any effect at all, and it turned out to be the most effective mod I have done on this great and ridiculously cheap guitar.
Last edited by Haustnótt on Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do you shim your necks?

Postby mordecainyc » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:40 pm

Cool. I was seriously considering buying a bunch of Stewmac shims, and your post put me over the edge.
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Re: Do you shim your necks?

Postby Larry Mal » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:03 pm

Can you correct the link? I put shims on pretty much all my Fenders and would be happy to actually buy a good one for once.
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Re: Do you shim your necks?

Postby Haustnótt » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:22 pm

Larry Mal wrote:Can you correct the link?


Ah, sorry about that. http://www.stewmac.com/Materials_and_Supplies/Bodies_and_Necks_and_Wood/Electric_Guitar_Bodies_and_Necks_and_Wood/Electric_Guitar_Necks/StewMac_Bolt-on_Neck_Shims.html

I put shims on pretty much all my Fenders and would be happy to actually buy a good one for once.


I considered making angled shims like these myself, but it really is very time-consuming and difficult to get something like this right with regular woodworking tools. The Stewmac shims are so much better than the half a guitar pick-approach.
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Re: Do you shim your necks?

Postby Larry Mal » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:35 pm

I think that's just the most wonderful thing.
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Re: Do you shim your necks?

Postby 0xeneye » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:54 pm

I made an angled shim out of a small piece of a fir shingle that you can find all over the Pacific Northwest. Done. (Helped a great deal)
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Re: Do you shim your necks?

Postby Haustnótt » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:56 pm

mordecainyc wrote:Cool. I was seriously considering buying a bunch of Stewmac shims, and your post put me over the edge.


I'm very happy to have contributed to the bettering of several offsets.
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Re: Do you shim your necks?

Postby Haustnótt » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:57 pm

0xeneye wrote:I made an angled shim out of a small piece of a fir shingle that you can find all over the Pacific Northwest. Done. (Helped a great deal)


Great. You're probably a better and more patient woodworker than I am.
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Re: Do you shim your necks?

Postby NoiseNoiseNoise » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:58 pm

my Squier VI needed a shim because the action was unplayable without it. Thinking my Squier Showmaster V3 may need one, too. :/
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Re: Do you shim your necks?

Postby Haustnótt » Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:11 am

FeentheOyster wrote:It's been crucial in making my jazzmaster usable


I agree. I am not a heavy handed player at all, but even with the medium gauge strings I use (Pyramid round core 11–48) and the Staytrem, the increase in sustain and stability is so profound with the neck tilted half a degree backwards that I find it strange that Fender hasn't addressed this issue. In the early sixties, Fender guitars were shipped with 13–56 strings. Their tension were probably enough to make the offsets work in stock form, but who uses such gauges on a 25.5'' instrument today?

My hypothetical signature Jazzmaster would come with a neck or neck pocket cut for a half-degree slant, and a Staytrem. These two alterations make all problems with offsets vanish, and unleash their true potential.
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Re: Do you shim your necks?

Postby itstooloudMike » Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:50 am

I've also been shimming Fender necks for years, and it's one of the things I love about bolt-on necks. The Stew-Mac shims look nice, but at $14.00 for two shims, they seem kind of expensive for what they do. I'll probably continue using business card stock and match-pack covers.
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Re: Do you shim your necks?

Postby Larry Mal » Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:58 am

I didn't even notice that it was for two shims. Odd that it's both angles rather than two of one, I'm pretty sure that I'd want the 1 degree shim in almost all cases, but who knows. I do have a few Telecaster type guitars and they might benefit from a half degree angle instead.

Very cool that Stew-Mac is making these, I've used all kinds of things of my own make and never really been happy with any of them.

Really, Jazzmasters and Jaguars just keep getting better served by third party guitar parts makers all the time, and while this doesn't seem like all that big of a deal, it'll be something that I recommend to people interested in the guitars as a quick and easy way to get the setup done.
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Re: Do you shim your necks?

Postby e44crowe » Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:34 am

Good info. Thanks for the shim link.
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Re: Do you shim your necks?

Postby Larry Mal » Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:53 am

I sent them an email asking if it would be possible to have two of the same kind of shims per order rather than one of each. I'll let you all know the reply. I have a couple of Telecaster projects coming up and might as well put in the good shims while I am taking the rest of them apart.

Take 'em apart, put 'em together, take 'em apart, put 'em back together... that's what I do these days.
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Re: Do you shim your necks?

Postby Axolotl » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:14 am

^^^ looking forward to hear what they say. I would def get a few 1' degrees but I don't think I have much use for the 5' ones.
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