Please, PLEASE don't disregard this as a bitching thread, I just wannt show some videos with evidence
And yes, of course it makes a difference if you measure it scientificaly.
But I'm not into that, I'm into practice, and real world applications.
Background to this test:
After recieved the warmoth parts (seen in a recent thread) I got way too high floyd shelves.
A guy on a Swedish forum wanted to help me lower them, but claims that he needs a full guitar to get it right, so I don't have to use shims. He often posts about shims affecting the tone negatively. Problem is, I don't have all parts for all guitars, so I would have waited for several weeks or so before getting to it. But...
I tried to say several times "I know that's your experience, but I only need the shelves lowered 1mm or 1.1mm, if I need a shim, so be it. Not a biggie"
But he kept on going about how the shims will affect the sustain and all that.
So I had to prove my point.
Barrington - It has Gotoh locking nut, and THREE shims.
Warmoth - This has one thin shim, and one shim slanting it on the treble side...
THAT MEANS THERE'S ACTUAL SPACE BETWEEN NUT AND SHELF!
RESULT OF THE TEST:
Shimming does not affect tone in a way that's even noticable.
The Barrington has a little more treble on the open notes, but that's it.
Sustain and tone is about the same on fretted and open notes. Even more so on the Warmoth, almost NO difference between open and fretted notes. And those strings are new, while Barrington strings are old.
Please, understand me right here.
I know there's other disadvantages of having shims under the nut.
One reason being that it's not as stable. I've had this trouble with that exact Warmoth guitar, because it's shimed on one side. It doesn't get solid enough, and can move after a divebomb.
So my solution was to superglue the nut. Not much, just on the sides, so that it doesn't move. And that works well. Now it's solid, not using my superglue at all.
So, what I wanna say is;
Make your shelves just like you want it.
If you want a too high shelf and shave it down to proper action, do it!
If you're like me, who likes to do easy adjustments with shims, do it!
Both works great, even the I am aware of that a non-shimmed nut is the ideal solution.
I suppose the only fair test would be to compare the same guitar with and without shims, not two different ones where one has a shim and one doesn't.