#1
Hey! I've built a very nice-sounding frankenstrat but am having an SOB of a time getting the action right.

I've adjusted the truss rod so that the neck is straight.

I've shimmed the neck using two dimes (next to each other, not on top of each other).

I've adjusted the saddle heights until the buzzing i was still getting in the upper register of reg neck mostly went away.

result: it plays, and mostly without any buzzing, but my action is still rather high. I can manage to play, but after gigging with this guitar last night the whole heel of my left hand is swollen and painful. it's just too high for sustained playing.

so, my question is:

is my next move trying to change the neck angle even further? maybe move up from dimes to nickels?

it's a no-name strat body and an old MIM strat neck. i didn't buy a new neck b/c this was my first build and i needed to dave $$ and the frets are OK on this neck, and the feel is at least tolerable. i'm not a huge fan of the strat-type neck (more of a gibson man, really) but i made do.

anyone who's shimmed a bolt-on neck, please advise.

--thanks!
#2
So you have checked that the neck is straight with a long steel rule or straight edge?

What height are the strings above the first fret?

Wondering if your nut is cut too high (very likely).
#3
How high your strings sit isnt always dependent on the neck angle. You can have the saddles jacked up with a high angle on the neck and get low action. And can have the saddles screws out with the neck angle low and get low action. The nut has alot to do with it as does how level the frets are. As its a MIM neck they arent going to put much effort into leveling the frets if at all nor much work into the nut. Good level frets will make a huge difference in how low you can get the action. It only takes 1 high fret to force you to jack the action height up to get rid of buzz or dead frets. And get a proper nut set up for it at the same time.
#4
the whole neck isn't usually fully straight, it usually starts to bend upwards around the 5th fret.
I'd say either your nut is to high, or you've shimed the neck so that its too high off the body.
Also, it could do with a bit of a neck angle?
#5
Every time I run into buzzing, it's fret problems. Is it buzzing all up and down the neck, or is it isolated? If it's buzzing everywhere: if it's the nut, the action will be really high around the 1st-5th frets and the saddles will be too low to compensate. File down the nut. It seems unlikely that the neck angle would be giving you this much trouble. If the neck was straight, the saddles would still be effective for adjusting the string height without too much buzz. My guess is the frets need dressing, but that's just a guess.
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#6
Quote by GravyFish
My guess is the frets need dressing, but that's just a guess.
get your terminology right. i'm certain this is not what you mean.

Leveling = getting the relative height of the frets to line up with each other.
Crowning = putting a rounded profile on the fret, when viewed in cross-section.
Dressing = removing the sharp edges and burrs from the beveled ends of the frets.
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#8
there doesn't seem to be a consensus about the amount of relief there should be in a strat neck. the official fender specs indicate that a small amount of relief is appropriate.

what do all of you think?

i'm a gibson man b y nature, so the whole strat thing is new to me.

i've got it strung with 11s with a wound .024 G borrowed from a set of 12s. I can't, for reasons of technique and sound. go to lighter strings. I play mostly rhythm and need something heavy and big sounding. I tend to hit the strings hard, playing it more like an acoustic. I know, "why not just play an acoustic, then?" I do, on some of my band's material. I have a Martin D15 with a really sweet Fishman ellipse blend pickup/mike system. sounds great, but it ain't an electric.

So, to start off, should I put some relief back in the neck? I checked it with a straight edge, and it's dead straight right now.
#9
Yes it should have a slight dip in the middle of the fretboard as you look down it. If its dead straight then you have to jack up the strings to keep it from buzzing. Putting heavy strings on isnt a problem as SRV used what .13s on a strat with no issues. But you will have to fix to use such heavy strings. They wont go down far enough in the slots if they arent made wider like for a wound .24 where there is usually a plain .17. Getting the truss rod set right and the nut fixed will go a long way to fixing your problem.
#10
well,

i checked the nut, and it's ok. the strings, including the wound 3rd, sit correc tly. it's a graph tech, and i sanded down the underside to the right height before i put it on.

so i know the problem isn't THERE.

but, i guess i oughtta put a li'l relief back into the neck and take the shims out and see how it is with the saddles lowered.
#11
Quote by artie fisk
well,

i checked the nut, and it's ok. the strings, including the wound 3rd, sit correc tly. it's a graph tech, and i sanded down the underside to the right height before i put it on.

so i know the problem isn't THERE.

but, i guess i oughtta put a li'l relief back into the neck and take the shims out and see how it is with the saddles lowered.



But what is the right height? Have you checked the height above the first Fret, when Fretting the 3rd?
#12
meh. with all these threads about shimming recently, i suppose ill make a picture tutorial this weekend, since i have an old guitar that needs it.
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#14
Quote by metalwarrior40
meh. with all these threads about shimming recently, i suppose ill make a picture tutorial this weekend, since i have an old guitar that needs it.


What is the purpose of shimming? Stupid question, I understand about required action height, but what would cause the need for shimming?

Is it something that might need to be done, if using a non standard neck for a given body, or what?
#16
sometimes the frets from 12 on have a higher action than the rest, and cant be adusted and fixed through lowering saddles, truss rod, etc.

the only way to fix it is to put a small shim under the neck, allowing a higher neck angle which corrects that problem.

i hope i explained that right

either way, i'll still do a tut this weekend.
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#17
Quote by metalwarrior40
sometimes the frets from 12 on have a higher action than the rest, and cant be adusted and fixed through lowering saddles, truss rod, etc.

the only way to fix it is to put a small shim under the neck, allowing a higher neck angle which corrects that problem.

i hope i explained that right

either way, i'll still do a tut this weekend.


So, does that occur with age, or wear, or lowering of truss strength, that can't be corrected by tightening the truss rod etc?

Is it because it is near the body join?