How to Shim a Fender Telecaster Neck

Written by matthew anderson
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How to Shim a Fender Telecaster Neck
(Roadside Guitars,

There are times when a Fender Telecaster cannot be properly set up because the neck angle is incorrect. A neck shim can be placed into the neck pocket to adjust the angle. The shim acts as a fulcrum in the neck cavity, causing the neck angle to shift slightly. Where the shim is placed in the cavity alters how the angle is readjusted. It can sometimes take several attempts to properly place a shim.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Small piece of material (wood, plastic, matchbook cover)

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  1. 1

    Examine the distance of the strings over the frets. See if the strings get closer or farther away from the frets as they move closer to the guitar body.

  2. 2

    Remove all of the strings on the guitar.

  3. 3

    Remove the screws directly behind where the neck and body of the guitar connect. Be sure to keep track of the neck plate and any washers removed with the screws.

  4. 4

    Place the shim into the Telecaster neck pocket. If the strings get closer to the frets higher on the neck, place the shim on the edge of the neck pocket near the top of the body. If the strings get farther from the frets higher on the neck, place the shim on the edge of the neck pocket closest to the neck pickup.

  5. 5

    Reattach the neck to the guitar with the shim in place.

  6. 6

    Restring the guitar.

  7. 7

    Recheck the neck angle to see if the strings are properly spaced over the entire neck. If not, try adjusting the bridge height to see if that will fix the problem.

  8. 8

    Repeat the process if the bridge readjustment does not work. If the neck angle change is too great, try adjusting the location of the shim closer to the centre of the neck pocket. If the neck angle change is too small, trying adding an additional shim.

Tips and warnings

  • The shim does not have to be very thick to significantly alter the neck angle. A matchbook cover is a good reference for the size of a neck shim.
  • The pressure of the neck bolted to the guitar body is all that should hold the neck shim in place. Do not glue it in place. This can make further adjustments to the guitar more difficult if the shim needs to be removed or replaced.
  • Since the strings on the guitar might be removed and put on multiple times, do not cut the ends of the strings until after the neck angle is correct.
  • Make sure the neck is tightly bolted in place before restringing the guitar.

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