Jump to content

Metal Neck Shim?

Recommended Posts

If you've seen my post in the project section (Carvecaster), then you'll understand why I'm asking this one --the neck pocket is too deep for the neck I'm using.

It's not so much the action --that's almost acceptable with the saddles down low. But I don't like my pick bouncing off the pickguard all the time...

So either I'm going to fill and reroute a new neck pocket. Or I'll take the easier way and build a shim in there.

Okay, I'll probably just go easy on myself and go for the shim. If that don't work, I can go the other way...

Now, the difference in neck heel thickness is substantial --the new neck is nearly 5 mmm thinner than the original neck from this guitar.

So it's not going to be your ordinary shim. It's got to be at least 4 mm thick--roughly the thickness of a neck plate, in fact. (Got a couple of those lying around too...)

Which leads to three questions:

Has anyone heard of using a metal shim under the neck? Since it's steel, won't that provide some interesting vibratorial-transferencing properties?

Otherwise, if I go with wood: since it's a pretty thick piece, does it make sense to glue the wood in?

I have plenty of maple here that will work perfectly (roughly 5 mm thick), but I could also prepare a shim from scrap alder to match the body. Which makes more sense to use (in terms of gluing two different wood types together, for example)--or does that not matter?

Your thoughts?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Havn't tried metal shims, but I don't see any reason that it wouldn't work. Why not test both wood and metal shims and tell us the difference in sound!

Edited by SwedishLuthier
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It'd be worth experimenting with different materials,but there's no good reason it shouldn't work for you.

Ulrich Teuffel made his Coco guitars with an aluminum plate between the neck and body:


"The neck and body are connected to an aluminum base by a screw-connection, in order to link the vibration between the two components. Deadspots are thereforen avoided. Additionally, the guitar responds easier because of it and the tone is more differentiated."

Teuffel Guitars

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dean Guitars signed Michael Schenker and check out this cool guitar at www.deanguitars.com" and "Check out the guitar Dimebag Darrell started his career on ...this is the same guitar on the cover of Cowboys from Hell ...check out how it looks today http://www.deanguitars.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4912

Okay, I'll bite...what in Sam's Hill does this have to do with a metal shim?

Well, okay, I like Dimebag Joe's avatar... :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

apparently dean believes in spamming the living crap out of guitar forums.this is about the 10th time i have seen it on this forum and it is sickening.it makes me want to never buy a dean guitar to be honest...

i was actually considering one of those usa dimes,but i have no respect for this type of unwanted spamming.

the spammer has had his membership taken away for 2 weeks...maybe an admin should make it permanent on his ip?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is the coolest looking concept for a guitar I've seen in ages! http://www.teuffel.com/instrumente/tesla/index_e.html

Thinking about the metal shim, I would think that it would help sustain similar to a fat finger in the headstock. The whole point is that it would add mass to the guitar, but rather than on the bridge or headstock end of the string, it would reside between the neck and body. I'm not sure if anyone else has ever tried it, well, besides Teuffel there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I can say that the neck plate certainly doesn't seem to have a negative effect on the sound, so that's a good thing...

Teuffel (weird guitars there!) uses 'acoustically neutral' aluminum for some of his parts...don't know where I'd find any of that here...

But it'll be interesting trying out different shim materials.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you tried it out with the neck plate shim in a gig setting to see how you like it? I'd try that before making a permanent one. :D

Nope, I just started putting this guitar together a couple of days ago. I won't start gigging with it until I'm sure it's reliable (especially that it keeps its tuning). I'll be able to give it a pretty good workout in practice first.

In the meantime, I have my MIJ strat for shows, that thing's rock solid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, I need to bring this one up again.

I cut a maple shim for the neck pocket and that works out all right.

But I swear there's a definite difference in sound from the metal plate I had in there. With the metal plate the sound was brighter, crisper, with more attack and and a deeper (more midrange?) bite to it. And it seems to me I had more sustain too.

It's hard to tell though for certain. In any event, it didn't sound bad.

The maple shim didn't sound bad either, but there seems to be a distinct loss of sustain...I'm thinking that metal is better at transferring vibrations than wood is, at least in this situation (as a conduit from one piece of wood to another).

So I want to try to cut a real metal shim this time, one that fits the pocket properly.

I can probably find pieces of steel and aluminum that'll be big enough to fit-- any thoughts on the qualities of aluminum vs steel in terms of transfering vibrations?

Aluminum is obviously much easier to cut. For a steel shim, I'll have to go to the local metal shop.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marksound: my superhero-freak kids want to know: is that the Phantom in your avatar?

I use Graphtech stuff for my nuts, string trees and saddles (the saddles because I break to many strings otherwise)--there's a definite difference in tone...not necessarily always a good difference --I find that their nut takes a bit of the edge off the open string sound a bit , and the saddles definite favor the midrange...but for some guitars, that's a good thing (I'm thinking of my Melody Maker and my tele's bridge).

As for the metal shim --I just spent the last couple of hours shaping a piece of steel (my father-in-law's down the hill, and he's the type that throws NOTHING away....the steel come from the base plate of an old office chair!).

One advantage I can see already for using the metal plate is that the wood shim was not 100 percent level --but the metal is.

Anyway, I had a great time shaping the shim....slipped right into the "flow" --and there's no better part of life than that!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marksound: my superhero-freak kids want to know: is that the Phantom in your avatar?

Aw, come on, man! That's Space Ghost! I guess you don't get Cartoon Network over there in Fraahnce? :D

Seriously, Space Ghost was a 60s-era Saturday cartoon that Cartoon Network reworked into a 15 minute talk show with live action guests. Also, see Cartoon Planet.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Just wanted to follow up this thread now that I've got the guitar put together with the metal shim.

I have to say: it's a great success, it really works...I'd say it definitely adds something to the sound (vs. the maple shim I made and also versus the original neck with no shim at all).

There's definitely more midrange (higher end of the spectrum), the tone has a brighter, crisper, clearer quality to it. The added midrange helps to take away some of that needle-in-the-ear feel of the bridge pickup.

And the sustain...this guitar kicks butt over my other guitars in terms of sustain (of course, there are other mods helping out too, so it's hard to quantify which is doing what).

Oh yeah, and it looks really cool too. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...