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Neck Pocket Blues

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Hi All


Noob Guy.  It's wonderful to be here!


I have an Ibanez RG 421 that I fit with a neck from a different RG.  After a while, I noticed it would move ever so slightly because the pocket is a bit wider than the neck, causing some tuning issues on the treble side, coincidentally where there is a small gap between the heel side and the neck and the body of the guitar,

Anyhow, that gap is my problem.  People misunderstand and tell me I should get those stewmac under neck shims.  Its not a height problem.  It's width problem.

So I tried a regular door shim and cut it down to size.  Its dimensions kinda remind me of a postage stamp.  I popped it in and put the neck in and it was tight and I was happy.  The only thing that concerned me was the composition of the wood.  It was pine and it was concernably soft.

I strung it up and plugged it in and it sounded like ca-ca.

I should mention that I have a new amp.  One day it sound great and other days it sounds meh.

Tonight I will try my other guitars and see where I stand with the amp.  If the amp sounds good (for some reason it usually does on Fridays!)  I know my little soft shim is the culprit and that pine is not the answer.  I may cut 2 Fender tortoise heavies to fit in there.  I had just one in before.  The guitar rocked but didn't seem to stay in tune.


I guess my winded, coffee infused post asks "What would you use for the shim material?"

Thank you and I hope you are having a good day.



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Ideally the best shim material would be the same wood as either the neck or the body. Having said that a side shim shouldn't have a noticeable effect on the tone no matter what you use. I'd look for another culprit. You should be able to bolt the neck on tight enough to keep it from moving without the shim. I would look at that connection first. Check for stripped bolts/screws./screw holes first.


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I'm with @ScottR in the bolt tightness. For clarification (in case you need it) unscrew the neck and if you see any splinters or other unevenness around the screw holes in the neck, make them flat. Obviously check the neck pocket at the same time.

Also, check that the neck screws can be pushed through the holes in the neck pocket! They should only be screwed tight into the neck heel.

As for shimming the sides of the neck pocket... As you already know by experience, softwood is not good so you may want something harder. Try strips of a soda can! If you need more than one, use super glue. They're solid and easy to adjust by applying/reducing layers. However, start by checking the screw holes!

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On 11/15/2019 at 2:54 PM, Bizman62 said:

 Try strips of a soda can!

Ummm.   I don't think thats a good idea.  Why don't I just use razorblades?


The pine wood shim work nicely.  The guitar stays in tune and sounds its best.  The "resonance" control on the amp was up too much, causing a lot of "flub"



Thanks for stopping by.

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15 minutes ago, Blick Fang said:

I don't think thats a good idea.  Why don't I just use razorblades?

Razorblades are sharp and hard, they can't be cut to size with scissors. I got that idea from a trained luthier who raised the brass nut of one of my guitars with a couple of aluminium strips. Later I've seen a Master Luthier recommend that as an option on video as well, for shimming a neck sitting too low.

Anyhow, nice to hear that your pine shim actually sounds good!

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