Alternative to neck shim?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by K-man, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. K-man

    K-man Member

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    I assembled a Warmoth strat a while back. Right now I have a Wilkinson tremelo that is set up to float 1/8" above the body. I'd like to get a Callaham bridge, but when I first assembled the guitar I had the tremelo flush with the body, and the neck was too high and the strings touched the frets up high near the body. I couldn't raise the saddles high enough to get the action I wanted. I know I can add a shim at the front of the neck pocket, but I'd prefer not to.

    Do I have any other alternatives? I was thinking of sanding the heel of the neck. Is that a bad idea? Will I have to refinish the area I sand to prevent moisture from getting in the neck?
     
  2. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

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    Sanding the heel of the neck is the best alternative to shims. It also maintains a strong tone through maintaining maximum contact between neck/body. It should be performed by someone experienced, as if done wrong would require finishing repair, or a new neck....lol.
     
  3. Clorenzo

    Clorenzo Member

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    I had exactly the same problem with a Tobias Deluxe 5 bass where I replaced the original bridge with an ABM where, even at the maximum height the saddles would allow, I didn't get enough space between strings and higher frets. I just sanded the heel using a block of wood and adhesive sanding paper (http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Finishing_supplies/Abrasives,_polishes,_buffers/3M_Stikit_Gold_Film_Self-adhesive_Abrasives.html) to make sure I left a true flat surface. It worked beautifully and haven't had a problem since. Sand a bit, try it, sand again, and so on, even a little bit of sanding can have a significant effect on neck angle.

    I wouldn't worry about moisture in such a small area of the neck, especially since it's going to be covered by the neck pocket. It'd be a different thing if the whole neck was to be exposed. In any case, for peace of mind, you could use some brush-on varnish or even some wood glue thinned with water, since that area will be hidden anyway, so aesthetics aren't an issue. In that case I'd sand first, varnish second and then sand lightly again, to make sure the surface is dead flat.
     
  4. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

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    Cosmetics and sealing the wood, yes.
     
  5. K-man

    K-man Member

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    The heel extends out past the body of the guitar (at least with my neck). Did you just sand the part of the heel that is in contact with the pocket?
     
  6. tonezoneonline

    tonezoneonline Member

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    If your going to sand the heel the correct way to do it would be on a stationary disk sander.This way it will be uniform.
     
  7. Clorenzo

    Clorenzo Member

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    Yes, I put some masking tape on the exposed part to protect it and as a guide.
     
  8. LReese

    LReese Member

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    I know this is getting back to the shim, but why not a full length tapered shim out of whatever the body material is? That would solve the maximum contact problem.

    I'd prefer not to mod either the neck or body, but the original message says this is a Warmoth - assuming also a Warmoth body. If the mod is the way to go, I'd slightly deepen the neck pocket on the body. I'm not a luthier though and some of the people that have already replied I think are .

    Just throwing out a couple of other ideas... Please provide feedback...
     
  9. K-man

    K-man Member

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    Yes, the body is Warmoth also. I was thinking of sanding the neck pocket, but it would be difficult to get in there and sand it uniformly.
     
  10. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

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    Nothing wrong with using a wood veneer scrap. In the old days, my Dad used business cards folded to appropriate thickness....lol. Wood is cool, I have seen plastic shims from the factory (stuck into lacquer). I prefer none (my best sounding Strats have always been "full contact" non-shimmed.
     
  11. K-man

    K-man Member

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    Thanks for your help everyone. I'll have to really think about whether to shim it or go through the hassle of sanding and refinsihing it.
     
  12. kimock

    kimock Member

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    If the neck pocket is tight and the neck/body geometry is right, shim the whole bridge up. Might be possible to shim the area under the saddles as well. either/or, I'd try that before irreversibly throwing away mass and altering the neck. Yes, I am one of those " Cut it twice and it's still too short!" guys.... good luck!
     
  13. ChrisB

    ChrisB Member

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    Would longer saddle screws not allow you to raise the saddles higher?
     
  14. BBQLS1

    BBQLS1 Member

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    Sell your neck and buy the corrected one from warmoth?
     

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