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How To Shim a Bass Neck  E-mail

How To Shim a Bass Neck

How to shim a bass neck. Shimming the bass neck is a simple process, as long as you take your time to decide the best plan. These instructions are not the only way to adjust your bass guitar by applying a shim to the neck pocket. This is only a guide to help you in the process of shimming your bass or guitar to get the action set right!


How To Shim a Bass Neck

Possible choice two: Modify the angle of the neck with respect to the bridge. What that looks like is removing the neck, placing a shim in the neck pocket closest to the bridge, and re-tightening the neck in the neck pocket. If you have a set-neck bass, then this cannot be done. The Fullerton I de-fretted has a bolt-on neck, so this was a viable option in my case.

Considerations: Filing metal is destructive, and not reversible. Shimming the neck, however, is reversible! When working with instruments, I tend to lean toward the reversible approach. That way I can back-step one step and make a different choice assuming there's an alternative!

Another consideration is the possibility that a shim may negatively affect the tone and sustain of your bass. Using tone woods for your shims will help some. Using plastic cards, cardboard and paper shims will likely suck some of the life out of your bass.


I used some left over walnut veneer from the fret-slot filler stock. In order for the neck to rest in the pocket at the correct angle, I had to shape the two veneer pieces to match the heel of the neck/slot. It was important to make the end of the veneer that faced the headstock to be perpendicular (90° angle) to the neck. I think you can see it illustrated in the pictures above.

The two thicknesses at the heel (.046"), tapered to one piece (.023"), tapered to the body provided exactly the angle needed to compensate for the height of the frets being gone! The result is an excellent coupling or seating of the neck in the neck pocket. Result of shim project = Nice tone... oh yeah.


Again, take your time to get this step right, too. It will pay great dividends in your tone and playability!