Gloss to Satin, on an SX neck

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Zooski, Feb 8, 2008.


  1. Zooski

    Zooski

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    Say Yes! to M!ch!gan!
    Hey guys, i picked up an SX bass awhile ago just as a junker to keep around the dorm room and so far its been great for the $. The neck has always bugged me though. The gloss finish on the back of the neck just feels too sticky--its like too glossy, and my hand doesnt slide well on it. I want to change this, and with it being an SX im not worried about messin it up so i figure its worth a try. Whats the best way to do it?

    Could i just work on it with some kind of sandpaper to take the gloss off? If this will work, what type of sandpaper will be best? Will I have to refinish it with like a satin finish to seal it??
    Does anyone have any input? thanks!
  2. Arx

    Arx

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Well, seeing as you're not worried about screwing it up, I'd give it a try. Probably go quite a bit finer than you think you need to on the sand paper, or use very fine steel wool. Maybe even one of those 3m abrasive scrubbies (don't know what colour you would want though. most are probably too coarse)

    I don't really know what I'm talking about, but I'd just grab a sheet of 1500grit sandpaper and see what happens. If it doesn't work, I guess you'll have to sand it the rest of the way, and refinish.

    My bet is that it'll be fine, as long as you sand lightly with very fine paper. The finish will probably be quite thin though, so just do the minimum to take the gloss off..
  3. Zooski

    Zooski

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    Jul 11, 2006
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    well me thinks its worth a try. thanks arx for the input, ill see what i can do--if it turns out nice ill post somthing.
  4. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Steel wool, very fine steel wool, just take the shine off, if you go lightly you will only texturise it, which is what you want, you dont want to strip the protective finish.
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  6. asad137

    asad137 Supporting Member

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    I used sandpaper on my first guitar (a cheap strat) neck. Worked fine. I don't remember what grit I used though.

    Asad
  7. Al Heeley

    Al Heeley

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    Location:
    West Yorks., UK
    I use the 3m scrubby thing on tru-oiled necks to give a marvellous silky smooth finish. Think its a green or a grey one - they look a bit like a pan scourer. Careful with sandpaper, its easy to put loads of tiny score marks in it.
  8. insomniac2295

    insomniac2295 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    i've been using the steel wool trick on the back of my warwick neck to make it play faster. just rub some 00# steel wool along the grain and it takes off just the perfect amount of wood so it plays like you would never imagine!

    that trick worked on my warwick which had a satin finish i do believe. now i just got rid of it and switched to a 6 string that has a maple neck with a gloss finish. the steel wool trick doesnt work AT all on my gloss finish neck. doesnt take a single thing off of it. period! i just leaves some scratch marks on the finish.

    what do you have to say for that?
  9. byoung

    byoung

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    Mar 13, 2005
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    Covington, WA
    I'd suggest the equivalent of 0000 steel wool in one of the 3M pads-- they won't leave little bits of steel sticking to your pickups.
  10. flakeh

    flakeh Banned

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    Ontario, Canada
    I bought an SX strat just to dink around on. They have very heavy poly on the neck. I know the bass necks also have very heavy poly finish. I wouldn't recommend doing this, but when I removed the poly on the guitar I used a dremel and alot of 120 grit paper, followed by finishing it with 800 and 1200 grit paper. Its was smooth like buttah. But took about 2 weeks.

    They have way to much poly on the necks. Far too much.
  11. Arx

    Arx

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    I don't think he's looking to strip the neck though... Just wants to matte out the finish so it's not so draggy on the fingers.

    I'd have to agree with byoung that one of the 3m pads is probably the best if you can get one in a really fine grit. I don't think it much matters as long as you go wit something with a very fine, very sharp abrasive. Poly is pretty hard to sand normally anyhow.. you just want the scratches you put into it small enough that they don't look like scratches anymore. ;)

    Yeah... be wary of the whole magnet+steelwool thing if you end up using steelwool.
  12. 62bass

    62bass

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    Apr 3, 2005
    I use steel wool, 000 or 0000 if I can remove the neck. It's a pain to have to mask off the pickups. But the green or maroon abrasive pads sold as a substitute for steel wool in paint stores work too and don't shed pieces of metal. Poly is very hard and takes a bit of work to dull the finish. The pads wear out quickly.
  13. Zooski

    Zooski

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    sounds like steel wool might do the trick. thanks again guys for the help!
  14. Arx

    Arx

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    Jan 22, 2008
    Make sure to let us know how it goes. And take before/after pics if you can.
  15. TeeMartin

    TeeMartin

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    Jul 18, 2006
    [​IMG]
    This is all you need really. Theres not much risk at all.
  16. PilbaraBass

    PilbaraBass

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    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    Gladstone, QLD, Australia
    +1

    I use nylon scour pads (the cheapie generic ones) ALL the time on my Yamaha necks (my RBX170 bass and Pacifica 112 guitar)...it works GREAT!...

    I won't apply it to my nice poly mahogany Carvin neck...but I never had an issue with that puppy, anyway.

    by the way, a worn nylon pad also works great on the fretboard for giving the frets a shiny touch up before conditioning prior to a new string set.
  17. eleonn

    eleonn

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    Lima - Perú
    If you go the steel wool way dont forget to mask the pickups!
  18. Arx

    Arx

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    Jan 22, 2008
    BTW, the blue nylon pads are non-cutting, so won't work.
  19. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Supporting Member

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    May 9, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Zombie threading this one...

    I'm about to order an SX jazz and I am planning on removing the gloss finish from the back of the neck. I'm looking to get it to feel as much as a MusicMan neck feel as possible. Satiny/oily I suppose.

    So far in my research, I've basically read that the best way to do this is #0000 steel wool, and Casey/Birchwood Tru Oil. Any opinions on that? Will I get a Musicman feel?

    Anyway, if it is a good way to do what I am looking for - I have a few questions:

    For the first application of steel wool to remove the poly finish, should I do it all the way down to the wood where the entire poly finish is gone?

    How many coats of Tru Oil should I use?

    After applying a coat and letting it dry, should I steel wool it again to what level? Take the last coat visibly all the way off? Or just a little rub?

    What should I do after applying the last coat? Buff? If so, what should I use and how should I do it?

    Thanks in advance..
  20. T_Bone_TL

    T_Bone_TL

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    Jan 10, 2013
    Location:
    NW Mass/SW VT
    I'd suggest gray or white scotchbrite over steel wool.

    As for the rest of it, "to taste", meaning there's no right answer other than what you want. If it feels right, it is right.
  21. FiskFisk33

    FiskFisk33

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2011
    I used 800 grit sandpaper on my bass's neck if i remember correctly, got exactly what i wanted.
    I first tried steel wool (reccomendation from a local luthier) but it didnt take enough.

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