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Jonathan Bee

Neck shim removal

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Hi learned brethren 🙂

neck is pretty straight on my bass but having to have saddles really high so doesn't catch frets above 12th. I've noticed there's a shim under the join of the neck (can see from underside). Any danger in removing it? Any experience with such a thing anyone?

Thanks,

Jonathan

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Is it glued in or not?

is the shim angled or straight?

Either getting an angled shim or sanding it down a little my be enough to drop the heel, and then you can drop the saddles.

take the neck off, it will probably just slide out if not glued.

I must say though, a little rattle above the 12fret is about where it should be for being super low, and personally I don’t mind that as never much past there!

Have you done a proper set up from the start altering not just the rod but the saddles and nut grooves if required?

 

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thanks @Cuzzie Rod and saddles yes, but nut grooves no... they look low if anything anyway. At the moment the action is not so low.. say about 4mm, and I do like to venture above the 12th on occasions!

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8 hours ago, Jonathan Bee said:

thanks @Cuzzie Rod and saddles yes, but nut grooves no... they look low if anything anyway. At the moment the action is not so low.. say about 4mm, and I do like to venture above the 12th on occasions!

Sounds like you are a proper bassist going above the 12th fret, that’s bandit country for me.

And I think I read you right in that the saddles are high and hence have enough travel to drop the action.

Possibly your shim is an angled shim which has not just raised the height of the neck, but also the heel in proportion to the rest of the neck.

I would take the neck off and see if the shim comes out easy, and you can assess whether it is angled or not. if it does try it without and see what the action goes to, you could even see if you can reverse it so the neck height is still raised, but tapers off.

It May be if it’s an angled shim and a shim is needed it just requires a flat one or less severe angle. You can experiment with playing cards to get what you need and then replace with a proper one.

If the shim is glued in then you can sand down the heel portion to allow it to drop, or build up as above to how you like.

If you want ready made Shim’s StewMac website is great and gives all kinds of angles to use.

Hope it helps and makes sense, others may come with ideas if I am talking bunkum 

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Thanks @Cuzzie for your helpful advice. Yes, I'm having to have the saddles pretty darn high to not get buzz above the 12th. I like playing some 10th chords up in that area in the 3 piece funk/fusion project I'm in. For me the bandit country is messing around with the bass itself in terms of shims and truss rods!!!! But can't enjoy the bass with it's present 'kung fu work out' high action!

 

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24 minutes ago, Jonathan Bee said:

Thanks @Cuzzie for your helpful advice. Yes, I'm having to have the saddles pretty darn high to not get buzz above the 12th. I like playing some 10th chords up in that area in the 3 piece funk/fusion project I'm in. For me the bandit country is messing around with the bass itself in terms of shims and truss rods!!!! But can't enjoy the bass with it's present 'kung fu work out' high action!

 

So you are king fu fighting, those licks are fast as lightning 

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A good place to start is by using the Fender setup document. Of course some of the settings are “to taste’ but it is a good starting point. 

Edited by Chienmortbb
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My Sadowsky has a little bit of fall-off built in on the highest frets which really helps. My techs of over 15 years at Feline Guitars routinely do this themselves on their guitars, on refrets and fret levels, and they have done this on most of mine with superb results. 

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Fall away is not really relevant here as 4mm is on the extreme side, so you certainly don’t need fall away to bring that down to even half that. The benefits of fall away on bass are debated fairly often and it’s not as straightforward as “it’s better”. It makes a bit more sense on guitar, but the person doing it has to know what they’re doing, otherwise you can end up with a mess and effectively moving the buzz in the direction of the lower frets...which on a bass are typically used more.

I’d start by lowering your action before thinking about removing the shim. If it won’t go any lower without lots of buzz you may have excessive relief which will cause buzz at higher frets even with higher action. Though really it sounds like it’d be well worth paying for a setup or checking out the Basschatter prepared to fix thread in the repairs section.

 

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11 minutes ago, ahpook said:

What is 'fall away' ?

 

Thank you, I’ve never heard of it either 🙂

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Fall away is something that’s often done during fret levelling - basically the higher frets are uniformly ever so slightly shorter than the lower frets. On guitar it helps get rid of some buzz high up the neck and makes it less susceptible to choking. I like an extremely minor fall away, just a couple of extra strokes with the levelling beam over the frets which extend into the body. If it’s done right you wouldn’t know it’s there. Get carried away and it’ll move the buzz which you would have been getting on the higher frets towards the headstock direction.

Edited by Manton Customs
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I just recently tweaked the setup of an Encore Ltd83. It had too much relief, high action and choked out on the dusty end. The truss rod was rattling too.

I've removed the shim, tightened the truss rod and with no other adjustments it's transformed. Action is good and barely any buzzing. No truss rattle now either.

In conclusion, a shim isn't always helpful. đź‘Ť

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Thanks Folks 🙂

Took the shim out earlier and managed to get the action a little lower, feeling nicer to play now. How I get on with it over the next days will determine whether I take it to a Luthier. I'm still getting used to the different sound of a jazz bass compared to my Ibanez EDB600 I've played for years, but that's a whole other thing!!!!!

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@Manton Customs You definitely know more about these things than I do - all I know is that Feline get my bass and guitar actions to absolute perfection for what I need, and I know they do these on mine in conjunction with a refret or full fret level, crown and dress.

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