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Shim Kit Installation Guide

What is a shim kit and why would I need one?

A shim is a thin section of material used to adjust the neck of a guitar for optimal playability. When a wood guitar undergoes a big change in humidity or temperature, the force of the strings on the neck may cause the neck to warp or shift forward – which can cause a big change in string height (action).  This video shows you how to use our shim kit to adjust the angle and height of your neck in your Journey Instruments guitar in a matter of seconds for optimal playability.   We’ve put together a Video here along with written instructions below.

There are 3 installation options for our shim kits:

one piece shim kit
two piece shim kit
three piece shim kit

Option 1:  A single Shim

Simply insert one full-length shim that will cover the entire base of the neck slot. The single shim will usually cause the string height to reduce by 0.5-0.7mm.


Option 2: Two Shims

Simply insert one small shim in the neck slot, positioned towards the metal connector plate. Then place the full-length shim on top of this one to cover the entire base of the neck slot. The use of 2 shims will usually reduce string height by 1.5 – 2 .0mm.


Option 3: Three Shims

To insert 3 shims into a neck slot, place them in with the smallest shim on the very bottom, then the middle-length shim in the middle, then the full-length shim on top. The use of 3 shims will usually reduce string height by 2.0-3.0mm.


To Glue or Not to Glue?

Should you glue your shims in place? If you travel frequently to places that vary greatly in humidity and temperature, we don’t recommend gluing your shims in place, since this gives you flexibility to add or remove shims according to your environment’s effect on your guitar. If, however, you’re traveling in a fairly consistent environment in terms of temperature and humidity, you can feel free to glue your shims in place. Be sure to apply glue evenly and remove any visible excess on the topmost shim. We recommend using normal luthier’s glue or common wood glue. If you glue your shims in place, you should immediately install the neck as tightly as possible and leave it in place for 24 hours so the glue can dry properly.

Need a quick makeshift shim?

using a business card as a shim

If you’re traveling and can’t get a shim kit to use, you can temporarily cut a 1 cm strip off of a business card and place it in the neck slot towards the metal connector plate as shown here. Simply insert your neck on top of this temporary shim and it will reduce your string height.

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