Neck to Body "Leveling"

Discussion in 'DIY Strat Forum' started by axejock, Oct 19, 2020.

  1. axejock

    axejock Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    I was working on one of my "entry level" Strats today and quickly observed that the neck is NOT level with the body. The neck heal is fine, but the body pocket is deeper at the aft end than it is at the forward end by about .030". This gives the neck a very noticeable upward angle when bolted into place and that makes the strings really high on the upper frets (far more than can be adjusted for with saddle height adjustment). I have heard of this problem for a long time, but this is the first time that I have actually encountered it. I have been told that it is a simple fix by just putting some sort of shim in place a the low spot and then reinstall the neck. But to me, that means that the neck heel will only contact the guitar body at the shim and at the other end of the neck pocket, probably leaving a visible gap between the body and neck when viewed from the lower horn area.
    So, has anybody had this problem and fixed it satisfactorily with a shim, or is there more to it than that? I see that Stew Mac sells tapered wooden shims for this purpose, but they seem like an overkill for a "cheap" guitar". Advice?
     
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  2. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

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    getting the correct neck angle is critical and is the 1st step of a setup. if it needs to be shimmed then shim it. there are tons of great playing and sounding strats out there with even silly things used as shims preventing full contact in the neck pocket...
     
  3. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    Yep, a shim will do the job. It probably won't be visible. A couple layers of sandpaper will do the trick, the grit helps keep them from moving.
     
  4. Believer7713

    Believer7713 The Pink Bunnyman Frankenstein Silver Member

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    Cut a piece of buisness card the same width as the pocket and place it in the heel of the pocket. Bolt the neck on and check the clearence. If still too high then cut and place another piece on top of the first. Normally just one will do the trick though.
     
  5. guitarchaeologist

    guitarchaeologist Papa Americano Silver Member

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    As luck might have it, a standard credit card is 0.03" (0.762 mm). Take an end off of one and insert it at the deeper end of the pocket.


    the standard thickness for a credit card is:
    • 0.03 inches or
    • 0.76 millimeters
    Since mil is one-thousandth of an inch, the credit card thickness is generally 30 mil thick.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
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  6. usul1978

    usul1978 Guitar bricolo

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    Overkill and pricey, but great and accurate are the stewmac's shims.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
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  7. Howard Emerson

    Howard Emerson Strat-Talk Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I probably don't need to do this on my builds, but for whatever reason I make a 'micro-tilt' with a T nut & an old coin. The neck in this shot was an extra wide Tele neck import that was already on another body, drilled in the wrong places, so I filled & redrilled. The large hole in the neck pocket comes like that from the factory, probably for their micro tilt whatever. The guitar, Shelley, now has a very nice Warmoth neck.

    IMG_6941.JPG IMG_6942.JPG IMG_6943.JPG IMG_6940.JPG
     
  8. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    It takes so little. It will not be noticeable, and you will never see it.
     
  9. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Member

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    Have you had the neck off? I'm wondering if there is something in the pocket that's causing the problem, like a glob of paint or something.
     
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  10. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    Use the business card trick. 3/16th wide strip. Done. Many guitars fixed this way even from the factories.

    Some believe wood contains Toan.
    Card stock floats like wood.
    Card stock is made of wood.
    And thus card stock has toan!

    (Card stock even burns like a witch!)



    .
     
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  11. axejock

    axejock Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Yes, the neck is off and I have inspected it and the body pocket carefully. There is no debris or paint globs present. But I carefully measured the neck pocket depth in the body and it really does taper about .030" from the inside end to the outer end, being deeper at the inside end. This, of course, gives the neck an "upward" angle when bolted on. The neck heel itself is perfect.
     
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  12. Howard Emerson

    Howard Emerson Strat-Talk Member Gold Supporting Member

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    You should do some searching of actual Vintage Fender Telecaster & Stratocaster guitar from any year you like. Make sure you include 'Shims in neck pocket'. They did it from the factory as a simple matter of setting up the guitars to send out. Furthermore Leo Fender never intended for the necks to be refretted. He built them to have the old neck thrown away and replaced by a new one. You should read The Birth Of Loud by Ian S. Port. You'll never look at your guitar the same way, and you'll appreciate it far more afterwards!

    Oh, by the way: Go to this link, and scroll waaaaay down to the neck pocket shot showing a factory shim.
    http://www.guitarhq.com/fender.html

    Regards,
    Howard Emerson
     
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  13. axejock

    axejock Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    I found that a plastic credit card is .030" thick, so I cut a piece to use for my shim. My only worry is that the credit card I used was expired and it may not allow sound/notes to "pass" without being renewed!! (lol)
     
  14. 98springer

    98springer Strat-Talk Member

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    On the edge, baby!
    Wailing Declined.
     
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