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As found out before I started and alluded to earlier, this guitar needs an ample neck shim even though it already has one. I'm not quite sure why and at this point just want to keep working. I use folded paper, these guys that want brass should hang out with Eric Johnson. I used a 5 fold on this one. This is a very think shim and is being combined with the original shim glued in the pocket. A typical neck shim will be a 3 fold single shim, a piece of paper folder twice. It's about as thick as a buisness card which is also excellent for the job.

If you can't get you trem any lower and your action is still high (and you loosened the set screws in the trem posts!) I can almost guarantee you need a neck shim. Most of the guitars I import internationally do not have any neck shim at all. Some do, Almost never is there one missing from a US  guitar. You'll also never get a perfect fourth of pullup range out of any Ibanez with low action without adding a shim.

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Yea, I count 6 folds too, I reconsidered before I put the neck on and cut it to 5, glad I did as the shim was perfect. Here it is in the pocket just where you want it. [Today I tape these in place with Scotch tape [clear office tape to the international crew] to keep it from shifting on reassembly]

Edit: 15 years later I still use a folded paper shim for it's flexibility in getting the perfect neck angle [giving the right amount of pullup without getting the strings too far off the body [and bridge higher than needed], but I will cover the area from the body to 1/8" over the trem side neck screws so that the full screw pressure is on the shim, and placing another shim exactly half the thickness and half the distance between the headstock side neck bolts and the first shim, splitting the distance and giving support in the middle of the neck heel [just to shut up all the whiney "luthier" types that rant about the neck deflecting like a ski slope if you don't fully shim the pocket [like a 1"+ thick slab of wood is going to be deflected as much as the height of the shim by the pressure of the neck screws alone [rubbish LOL]]]. So if you want to be extremely anal about using a neck shim, use 2. [Stew Mac is now selling full pocket angled shims with their explanation that if you don't shim the full pocket humidity can get into the neck pocket! No mention of the neck deflecting though! Humidity? Sure, it's getting into ever part of your guitar, your body under all that thick clear will shrink and expand with humidity [and temperature] [note all the old checked Gibson finishes] and your neck is swelling and shrinking depending on the humidity, exposing fret ends in the Winter and covering them back up in the Summer. Mini rant over [10/16]

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Set the neck into the pocket carefully so you don't disturb the shim and firmly hold it in place. Lift them upright or turn them over as a unit, you're not going to stop squezing them together till the last neck screw is seated. I turn them over. The neck plate still has the 4 screws in it the way I took it off. By dangling the plate over the holes the screws will slip right back where they belong in one stroke, lay the plate on the body and screw it back on. Start with the bridge side screws cause if you don't get this side seated the neck angle will be off. If you screw in a neck side screw first sometimes the bridge end of the neck will catch in the pocket and not seat. These are the tightest you will tighten anything on the guitar, but we're still not talking *grunt* tight. You can crack the clear in the relief contour at the corner of the plate by overtightening. 1/4 to 1/2 turn past snug is plenty. My torque setting on the DeWalt is 14 but I always just screw them till snug with the drill and finish torquing them by hand. This is a picture from removing the plate so it's apears the wrong screw is being tightened last, tough, it's time for a picture and I didn't take one putting it back on! You can also hold the body and neck vertical for reassembly and I do many this way as gravity is taken out of the picture. How I hold a guitar to rescrew the neck is more a factor of how I'm holding it at the time more than having a preference ;)

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Now that the neck is back on we can reinstall the string tree and string her up. I always leave the ball end ON and just feed the string through the hole up to the ball. Your 3 year old stabs himself on the stub string ends of old style stringing and you'd be doing it this way too. I've been doing it almost 20 years. You have to cut the ball off the low B, the windings won't fit through the hole. Thread the string through the hole pointing away from the bridge so you can kink it back tword the bridge around the post. Slip them under the string tree and snip an inch past the saddle block.

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As you can see I get all the strings cut and locked before I start winding them down.

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As good a time as any to adjust all the fine tuners to the same height. Make sure they're screwed in enough to have 2 full turns of adjustment to back out.

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Hold the string taut as you wind it up and remove the slack, only remove the slack! Start at the low B and work your way to the high E. When the slack is gone I remove the additional wedge under the trem and let it rest on the caps alone. If you leave the trem level like this without any string tension to couteract the springs, the knives will slide up the trem posts and the trem will pop off. It happens very rarely but when it happens on a DNA you never risk it again, and why I use the additional rolled paper wedge till there is string tension back on the trem.

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With the strings now closer to the board I can check the neck alignment. Ooops, see how close the low B is to the edge of the neck?

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Loosen the neck screws a half turn and pull the neck in the direction it needs to go, snug the screws and check it again. Sometimes you'll have a neck that you have to actually force into position and hold with a death grip to keep it in line and get the screws tight again. If it's too far still you have a slight amount of adjustment at the nut, put the wedge back under them trem, loosen the nut screws, and slide the nut as far in the direction needed. Hold it while you tighten. This won't give you any more than a quarter mil of correction but sometimes that's all you need. If you need more the next step would be to evenly sand the side of the neck pocket. Just a little here will change the neck angle quite a bit. This one was easy.

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With the trem now resting on the caps I can quickly tune the strings up to a few half steps flat of true. Pull the caps out from under the trem and finish tuning, it should be close enough that this is resonably quick.



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Revised: October 15, 2016.