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> Neck Finish Too Sticky
methodseeker
post Jun 6 2009, 04:06 AM
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Hi, just joined. I've been playing a bit more than a year, started with a steel-string acoustic, picked up a reissue (2007) 57 strat last Nov as my first electric. I don't yet have a strong sense of preference for guitar features, but one thing I've noticed is that I don't like the heavy lacquer on the strat neck: it feels sticky under my palm and thumb when shifting position. What's the recommended way of dealing with this? Is it okay to just sand the neck down to the wood, or does that risk damage to tone or neck straightness?
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Jesse
post Jun 6 2009, 09:25 AM
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Buying a guitar with a rosewood neck!:D


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ZakkWylde
post Jun 6 2009, 12:54 PM
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Try some polishes or learn to deal with it like all the other guitarists with painted necks...

If you can't stand it at all, let a luthier do the down-sanding


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Muris Varajic
post Jun 6 2009, 02:06 PM
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QUOTE (methodseeker @ Jun 6 2009, 05:06 AM) *
Is it okay to just sand the neck down to the wood, or does that risk damage to tone or neck straightness?


I believe it's not that dangerous if you do it properly.
But be aware of dirt, you'll be out of protection. smile.gif


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jdriver
post Jun 6 2009, 07:22 PM
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A gentle rub with 0000 steel wool should remove the sticky and leave a smooth polish, without removing a visible amount of material. After that, normal wear from playing should keep it smooth. Test it in an inconspicuous area first of course. You can go even finer.. i think you can get 00000 grade.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jun 6 2009, 11:10 PM
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If you don't have a strong sense for preference for now mate, I would advise you standby that idea with sanding down the neck. Just be patient for a while and see how it goes, perhaps you will get used to the feel. That strat is awesome guitar it would be a shame to sand it down without a real need. Again, if the need is real you can take it to a guitar tech so he do a more detailed work.


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methodseeker
post Jun 7 2009, 06:38 AM
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Thanks for all the responses! The steel wool sounds like a good idea, and so does "let the luthier do it." I'll take it slowly, starting with better cleaning and more waiting to see if I get used to it. When I was trying out guitars in the shop I noticed that the satin urethane finish on some other model's necks felt better than the nitrocellulose lacquer finish. I figured the lacquer would get less sticky with wear, but it's not wearing very fast.
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Velvet Roger
post Jun 7 2009, 07:02 AM
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QUOTE (methodseeker @ Jun 7 2009, 07:38 AM) *
Thanks for all the responses! The steel wool sounds like a good idea, and so does "let the luthier do it." I'll take it slowly, starting with better cleaning and more waiting to see if I get used to it. When I was trying out guitars in the shop I noticed that the satin urethane finish on some other model's necks felt better than the nitrocellulose lacquer finish. I figured the lacquer would get less sticky with wear, but it's not wearing very fast.


I had to get used to it as well on my strat, but with some polishes and some wear I don't have any problems with it anymore now wink.gif .


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MickeM
post Jun 7 2009, 10:49 AM
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I think you should sand the laquer off, start with a heavy sandpaper and move to finer and finer papers anf finish off by wetsanding it (0000).
Add a laquer that won't feek sticky, just be careful to not apply too much. I.e when drops form. Let it dry and add another couple of layers.

But if you're unfamiliar with wood work leaving it to some luthier may be a good idea. Usually the musicshops have contacts.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jun 7 2009, 01:13 PM
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QUOTE (methodseeker @ Jun 7 2009, 07:38 AM) *
Thanks for all the responses! The steel wool sounds like a good idea, and so does "let the luthier do it." I'll take it slowly, starting with better cleaning and more waiting to see if I get used to it. When I was trying out guitars in the shop I noticed that the satin urethane finish on some other model's necks felt better than the nitrocellulose lacquer finish. I figured the lacquer would get less sticky with wear, but it's not wearing very fast.


The satin finish is good for the first year or so, then it starts to wear and it becomes like any other finish - glossy. If you don't want to bother waiting for a year or so for the lacquer finish to wear out as well, probably the safest bet is to take it to guitar tech. They shouldn't charge too much for this job, it's relatively easy one to do, so try to get the smallest price available.

This post has been edited by Ivan Milenkovic: Jun 7 2009, 01:13 PM


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methodseeker
post Jul 6 2009, 05:04 AM
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Here's a followup. I finally talked to a luthier. Apparently this is a common complaint, and the recommendation is to just rub the neck with fine steel wool. "You can do it yourself or pay me for the same thing." So jdriver was right on. I had some 000 handy and within a couple minutes my formerly high-gloss lacquer finish looked and felt like satin. The luthier said that the neck finish is pretty much just cosmetic and it doesn't harm the guitar to take it down to the wood, but with care you can do the steel wool buffing many times without that happening. Especially on newer guitars the under finish layers can be quite tough.

After Ivan's comment I took a closer look at my other guitar, and sure enough, after a few hundred hours of playing the satin finish has worn to a gloss. Might buff that one a bit too, later, though it still feels pretty good.
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jdriver
post Jul 6 2009, 06:04 AM
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I'm glad that worked out for you. It's pretty much standard practice in wood finishing. But please, for best results get some 0000 or 00000 and be gentle if you plan on doing this again, or to other guitars. smile.gif

Edit: I didn't think I'd played my Strat enough yet to make the satin go to glossy, but after reading these posts, I checked the neck and headstock and sure enough, the neck has gone glossy, while the headstock remains satin. I had not even noticed the change.

This post has been edited by jdriver: Jul 6 2009, 06:07 AM


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jul 6 2009, 04:07 PM
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That's great man, I'm glad you solved the issue to your liking! smile.gif the thing is more playable now and this is all that matters.


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AdamB
post Jul 6 2009, 04:50 PM
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If it's a maple neck and you sand off the laquer and play it as such, it leaves your neck open to warping. The laquer is on the neck to stop moisture getting into the wood, which causes it to swell and change shape. As your sweat gets into the wood it'll cause the neck to sweel unevenly, which can damage the neck. That's why they put the sticky finish on in the first place smile.gif

It is possible to play maple necks without laquer, but be aware that it might need replacement at some point.

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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jul 6 2009, 06:16 PM
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That's interesting, never thought of that. I gave my former axe a good deal of sweat on non-laquired neck and never had any issues, but it could be a serious problem after a while tho. Wood is in deed sensitive to moisture, just not sure in what extent.


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Fran
post Jul 6 2009, 07:08 PM
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That happens to me with my SG, but not with the strat. Anyways, glad you sort it out smile.gif


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AdamB
post Jul 7 2009, 09:09 AM
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Well, it makes sense to me that if it wasn't needed on the neck, then guitar manufacturers wouldn't pay to have their necks laquered, as it adds to manufacturing costs.

I know warmoth have a bit of a problem shipping maple necks without laquer, because it leaves the neck open to warping from changes in climate humidity when the neck is shipped, so it arrives twisted. When I ordered from them, there was a notice on their website that said that they will ship necks without laquer, but they strongly recommend that you have the neck properly protected for this reason, and cannot offer refunds on damaged, unprotected necks.

I have been told by people before that non-laquered necks are still perfectly playable, so I think perhaps it just depends on the particular piece of wood you have etc. Although thinking about it, the people I've been told this by are always people in guitar shops, which aren't the best sources of information. But then nore is the internet, so who knows. I guess if you've asked a luthier and he said it was fine, he would know best.

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