Got my Telecaster shimmed, not happy with the result.

BadgerDave

Double Platinum Member
Messages
630
Seems like the easiest solution would be to get an allen wrench of the correct size and give each saddle height screw a 1/4 turn clockwise.

If that solves the problem you're done. If the action is still too low try another quarter turn.

You might also try lowering your bridge pickup. It's possible the strings are rattling against the blades.

If none of this gets you closer, take it to a competent tech, mention the shim, and describe what you would like the guitar to feel like when properly adjusted.
 

Kmaz

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,851
I've found this can be mitigated with the "back off the neck screws 1/4 - 1/2 turn then re-tighten" neck seating technique which uses string tension to pull the neck solidly into the body.
Is this so? I never considered. Might be worth trying again for my shim attempt that didn't take?
 
Messages
23,950
If you have a vice, other tools and some patience.
Not super-easy otherwise....
Bolt Depot is a source I've used in the past. McMaster Carr, Grainger, some olde tyme local hardware stores (getting rare). The problem is the average guitar player needs no more than 10 screws and the fair prices are when you buy 1,000. They get killed on the shipping, so....

A virginal, out of the box fastener, with no tool marks on it, is always more sought after than a modified fastener. One of the consolations of having a ridiculous slew of guitars is, I can actually use most of the odd length screws I have bought over the last 20 years.
 
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Messages
23,950
i've worked on alotta fenders. strats and tele's, i never use a shim and if there is one i remove it. What you need to do is lower the saddles and tighten the truss rod. You may need to work the nut and dremel the saddle screws but you can get there.
Right.

Sometimes folks try to push a neck and a loaded body into union with one another when they're a lousy fit, one to the other. And you cannot convince some people that they cannot want what they want. IF one uses thought as to which neck goes with which body, then what you say is true 100% of the time.
 

scott

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,886
Just take a ruler and measure from the last fret to the bottom of the string. If it’s under 1/16” it’s too low for most factory guitars. Raise the strings by turning the saddle screw a little bit at a time. Make all the strings the same height. Then set the intonation and cut off the excess bolt. Once you get good at it you can dial your setup in better than any tech can.
 

renoman_89502

Member
Messages
565
That's usually a misaligned neck. You just have to loosened the screws and pull the neck in the right direction. The other possibility is the fret ends have been filed too much.
I believe that the frets were filled to much and as I recall the guitar was not worth the price of a fret job. I used to buy and flip gear on CL like crazy back then and that tele was one of my acquisitions, Easy come , easy go
 
Messages
390
I picked it up two weeks ago and after a ten second romp I threw it down in disgust and haven't touched it since, haha. I have others so I'm not without a tool but this guitar is my daily, my unshakeable rock.
The strings are rattling off the frets, and the intonation screws (the long ones) now rise slightly above the level of the strings. I tried the guitar briefly in his shop while we were chatting, it seemed fine. Once at home, it didn't. I'm not going to bring it back to him.
I still require the shim he installed, so what's my best course of 'action'- raise the saddles or adjust the neck?
Thanks for any input.
The thing about neck pocket shims, is that anything much more than a sheet of paper in thickness will make VERY significant changes to several integral break points.. Too severe a shift in the degree of angle at just one of these points (the point of contact where the string meets saddle or the nut string slot etc..) can cause a a multitude of problems. For example if the shim has raised the neck high enough to change the proper break point/downward slope to the tuner the guitar will buzz awful, notes won’t sound in certain positions, the intonation will be off, open strings won’t vibrate correctly and will “warble” sounding out of tune..
*Intonation set screws can easily be replaced with ones with a shorter length for about a dollar and change.

I could go on but the bottom line is you need to be sure of;
1) The dimensions and also the composition of the shim (I cannot count the number of plastic credit cards I’ve found in a customers neck pocket)
2) The amount of truss rod tension-neck relief, The distance between the bottom of the strings and the crown of the frets, confirmation the neck is set at the midline and matches the body alignment & fb radius matches the radius of the bridge saddle heights, And this needs to be confirmed with good measurements with a steel ruler at least.. Not absolutely essential but feeler gauges/level/radius gauge etc. can be a huge help and I recommend a good allen wrench for your saddles and truss rod with a strong sharp head, so you don’t damage or strip anything. Good luck!! ;)
 
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00JETT

Member
Messages
565
I had an old tele that I used some of those compensated saddles with the flat bottoms to give a bit more screw range. Thinner saddles Seemed much easier than trying to muck with the whole geometry of the guitar. Maybe I’m over simplifying what I see in the pics on here. :dunno
 

johnsav

Member
Messages
1,510
I had an old tele that I used some of those compensated saddles with the flat bottoms to give a bit more screw range. Thinner saddles Seemed much easier than trying to muck with the whole geometry of the guitar. Maybe I’m over simplifying what I see in the pics on here. :dunno
Do you recall the name, OOJETT?
That might actually solve the whole problem. For now at least.
 

Muttlyboy

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,142
As far as the action height is concerned, don't raise your action by adding relief (unless that neck is dead flat, or slightly back bowed)

Raise you action at the saddles (about 1/8" from top of last fret to the bottom of each string at the last fret...fret all the strings at the 1st fret with a capo) That's a good base action height. Adjust higher or lower a quarter turn at a time as needed.

If those long intonation screws are still poking up too high, cut them down.
 
Messages
613
I can only speak from my own experiments. I recently bought a pack of 3 bass neck shims from StewMac (0.25, 0.5 and 1 degree). 1 degree is a HUGE difference - without the shim, the height setting screws poked out. With the shim, I could not get them high enough to eliminate rattle and buzz. So I switched to the 0.5 degree and could then easily set the action to be comfortable without the screws protruding.

As a result the solution would be to change the shim to one with a smaller degree/angle.

Good luck
Stephan
 

Muttlyboy

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,142
I can only speak from my own experiments. I recently bought a pack of 3 bass neck shims from StewMac (0.25, 0.5 and 1 degree). 1 degree is a HUGE difference - without the shim, the height setting screws poked out. With the shim, I could not get them high enough to eliminate rattle and buzz. So I switched to the 0.5 degree and could then easily set the action to be comfortable without the screws protruding.

As a result the solution would be to change the shim to one with a smaller degree/angle.

Good luck
Stephan
I also bought the 3-pack of stew mac shims. Kind of pricey, but it make for a nice solid "pro-type" job.
The .25 degree shim did the trick for me with a Strat-o-Partscaster.
 

johnsav

Member
Messages
1,510
I also bought the 3-pack of stew mac shims. Kind of pricey, but it make for a nice solid "pro-type" job.
The .25 degree shim did the trick for me with a Strat-o-Partscaster.
Here in Canada those StewMac shims are very expensive.
The luthier scraped his own shim in a video on line, which was why I went to him. He was also fairly local.
 

John Hurtt

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
18,977
I'm not clear on one thing. If I understood the OP correctly this is a long time guitar that played fine but suddenly needed to be shimmed? If this guitar was setup properly, and had a history of playing well all that should be required was adjusting the truss rod. People get in trouble when they start wrenching on saddles before seeing what their neck relief is. And...you can't guess or "look down the neck"....you need to measure it properly. Capo the 1st fret, hold down the string at the 17th fret and measure at the eighth fret. Fender calls out for:

Neck Radius
  • 7.25"
  • 9.5"-12"
  • 15"-17"
Relief
  • .012” (0.3 mm)
  • .010” (0.25 mm)
  • .008” (0.2 mm)
If you do anything before you make sure that your truss rod is set properly you are creating issues for yourself.
 
Messages
1,004
I picked it up two weeks ago and after a ten second romp I threw it down in disgust and haven't touched it since, haha. I have others so I'm not without a tool but this guitar is my daily, my unshakeable rock.
The strings are rattling off the frets, and the intonation screws (the long ones) now rise slightly above the level of the strings. I tried the guitar briefly in his shop while we were chatting, it seemed fine. Once at home, it didn't. I'm not going to bring it back to him.
I still require the shim he installed, so what's my best course of 'action'- raise the saddles or adjust the neck?
Thanks for any input.
I felt the same way when I put a mastery on my JM. Sometimes things that sound like 'improvements' on paper just ruin the feel that we love about a guitar.
 

Muttlyboy

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,142
I'm not clear on one thing. If I understood the OP correctly this is a long time guitar that played fine but suddenly needed to be shimmed? If this guitar was setup properly, and had a history of playing well all that should be required was adjusting the truss rod. People get in trouble when they start wrenching on saddles before seeing what their neck relief is. And...you can't guess or "look down the neck"....you need to measure it properly. Capo the 1st fret, hold down the string at the 17th fret and measure at the eighth fret. Fender calls out for:

Neck Radius
  • 7.25"
  • 9.5"-12"
  • 15"-17"
Relief
  • .012” (0.3 mm)
  • .010” (0.25 mm)
  • .008” (0.2 mm)
If you do anything before you make sure that your truss rod is set properly you are creating issues for yourself.
I just did my first Level-crown-polish job a few weeks ago...

Several of the experienced Guitar Techs here at TGP recommended tighter neck relief.
They all explained that Fender recommends too much relief, and I have mine set at .005"with a 7-1/4 radius.

It's working out pretty well. The job came out better than I expected, but that could be dangerous...

Is the job
1)just much easier than it seems? Is it
2)that I have some kind of built-in natural talent?
Or #3)was it Beginner's Luck?
(Based on my experience with most things in life, I'm guessing that it's #3)
 

earthmud

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,111
Something still looks weird. If you look at the pic with the saddles, the low E saddle is cranked back so far it looks to be resting on the bridge plate screw. I have three telecasters, one with the same saddles as you and none are cranked back that far. The farther you crank back those saddles the higher the intonation screw will get. Add a shim on top of it and that further lowers the nut which makes the intonation screws even higher.
If it was my guitar I would take the shim out and start from scratch. Honestly from the pics there looks to be several things that are off. Intonation seems set to far back, action looks really darn low, and bridge pickup looks high.

If it were my guitar I would do it in this order.
Remove shim. Set low E saddle to 25.5 inches from nut to center of saddle barrel. Set relief to Fender specs or flatter, set action at 4/64, lower pickup if needed before setting intonation, and the set intonation. If you learn to do it yourself you will never have to go through this again. It takes some trial and error but you will get it.
 




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