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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-07-2016, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
 
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Neck shims

An interesting question perhaps?

I've never used any shim in a bolt on neck because I don't like the idea of there being a small gap at all. A guitar I bought recently (a Fender Strat) does have one which does make it play better.

I did research into neck shims on Ibanez guitars and obviously fell onto the oracle (Ibanezrules.com). Noticed that Rich used a shim in a UV7MC.

None of my Ibanez RGs have a shim in them and they all play fairly well. BUT - would they play better WITH a shim?

Would you guys advise for or against a neck shim?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-07-2016, 10:56 AM
 
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Re: Neck shims

You only need a shim if the trem is too high or too low in the body after you set it up with the action height you like to play with.

If Ibanez would make their neck heels 1-2 mm thicker, you'd never hear about neck shims...,
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-07-2016, 04:34 PM
 
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Re: Neck shims

2 things:

A shim should be used if the tremolo is too low (or high). There is no benefit to putting one in if there isn't a need for it.

If you do a full shim, you won't have any gap. People here have said it's overkill, but I always cut my own shims. I buy sheets of maple veneer, and draw a basic shape on it using the neck heal. I cut outside that line and see if it fits in the pocket. Keep sanding down the edges until it fits absolutely perfectly. Then I take it out, and make a pencil mark across a little over one half of the area. I then sand off the pencil mark, putting much more weight toward the end. When done, I put it in the pocket and attach the neck to see if I sanded enough. If not, repeat the sanding process. It's really that simple.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 01:06 PM
 
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Re: Neck shims

I'm in the camp that considers that overkill. I cut and fold a business card to size, and use it to change the neck angle, rather than raise the overall height of the neck. Works like a charm.

I haven't been playing or working on that many new Ibanez guitars of late, but I did find that in the late 90s/early 2000s that RGs were shipping with a little less neck angle than I thought would have been ideal, and that a shim helped.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 01:18 PM
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Re: Neck shims

Manufacturers, including Ibanez, have always used paper shims. Not good enough for the "luthier" class that like to overthink, overcomplicate, and overcharge for everything, so you get complete wood angled shims, and Eric Johnson couldn't tell the difference in the end.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Neck shims

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich View Post
Manufacturers, including Ibanez, have always used paper shims. Not good enough for the "luthier" class that like to overthink, overcomplicate, and overcharge for everything, so you get complete wood angled shims, and Eric Johnson couldn't tell the difference in the end.
Excuse my ignorance though - but why do they use shims? Especially Ibanez? Just to move that bridge up a bit higher? I've been exploring the art of set-ups more and more recently heh. Been finding the tech section of Ibanezrules invaluable!

I had never thought about it with my guitars as some have great action without buzz. For a while now I've gone for a 1.5mm action on the 24th fret with a straighter neck. With three guitars I use a lot - A J-custom RG1880 [lo pro], an RG1550 [edge pro] and a rosewood RG550 [edge]. The J-custom by far plays and sounds the best, but the little square that you line up the knife-edge isn't visible looking straight-on from the side. The RG1550 is alright and that square is very visable. And the RG550 feels like a dog and the square is very visible. All three have had either a recent refret or level.
How would you identify you 'need' to raise the neck angle? All of them do sometimes feel as though the trem is deep in the body, but then I play with a light left and right hand anyway.

I did end up taking them apart recently - and found none had any shims in them (yeah, had never looked there in all the years!). More a learning experience than anything!

Last edited by Chud; 08-11-2016 at 06:57 PM.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Neck shims

Or - another point! Is the lo-pro in these photos considered deep in the body and may benefit from a neck shim? It's not an uncomfortable playing experience by any means, but I love to try to experiement eeking out miniscule improvements heh.





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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 09:14 PM
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Re: Neck shims

^ first raise the studs/trem to properly level the trem to 90-degrees on the knife edge.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 11:59 PM
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Re: Neck shims

Your bass side action does not look low at all.

The old guitars had a flat neck pocket. They started building an angle into the neck pocket to eliminate the shim, except on some guitars the rout wasn't perfect or if setup demands you need one, ie. extreme pullup range.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Neck shims

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Originally Posted by jemsite View Post
^ first raise the studs/trem to properly level the trem to 90-degrees on the knife edge.
By that you mean, take it down below your action and then take it back up and level the knife edge? The bass side knife edge looks out but treble looks mostly fine. Fine balancing on the claw I guess.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Neck shims

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich View Post
Your bass side action does not look low at all.
Yeah I would have thought it'd be fine


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich View Post
The old guitars had a flat neck pocket. They started building an angle into the neck pocket to eliminate the shim, except on some guitars the rout wasn't perfect or if setup demands you need one, ie. extreme pullup range.
Oh now that is interesting! Would a late 90s RG1880 or a 90s RG550 have that angle in the pocket?
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 09:47 AM
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Re: Neck shims

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Originally Posted by Chud View Post
By that you mean, take it down below your action and then take it back up and level the knife edge? The bass side knife edge looks out but treble looks mostly fine. Fine balancing on the claw I guess.
Yes. When you set the knife edge angle properly it will really lower the action on this axe. So then just raise the studs to set the action to where you want it.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Neck shims

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Originally Posted by jemsite View Post
Yes. When you set the knife edge angle properly it will really lower the action on this axe. So then just raise the studs to set the action to where you want it.
Hmm I've honestly never heard of that strategy. How come you would take the trem studs down, level the knife edge and then raise it to where you want? Would not just setting the action where you want and then setting the knife edge there be the thing to do?
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 10:12 AM
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Re: Neck shims

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Originally Posted by Chud View Post

Oh now that is interesting! Would a late 90s RG1880 or a 90s RG550 have that angle in the pocket?
All you have to do is look at the fretboard line against the neck pocket.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chud View Post
Would not just setting the action where you want and then setting the knife edge there be the thing to do?
This is the only way you want to do it, although changing the angle will change the action. Changing the action also changes the angle slightly.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 10:17 AM
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Re: Neck shims

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Originally Posted by Chud View Post
Hmm I've honestly never heard of that strategy. How come you would take the trem studs down, level the knife edge and then raise it to where you want? Would not just setting the action where you want and then setting the knife edge there be the thing to do?
Re-read please. What i said is when the knife edges are properly set ON THAT GUITAR the action will lower dramatically. This thread began about shims... the need for a shim is not known until first relief is set, then knife edges are set 90-degrees then stud height set.

then see if shim is needed.
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