1. Welcome to TalkBass, the Premier Bass Player Community and Information Source. We've been uniting the Low End Since 1998!

    We're glad you've found us. Register a 100% Free Account to post and unlock tons of features.

Removing A Neck Finish

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by DiabolusInMusic, Apr 15, 2014.


  1. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Location:
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    I have been playing my Jaco relic these days and have been loving the feel of the neck. It has a great "broken-in" feeling. It is very similar to that of my Stingray, which I think is considered unfinished maple. I am sure there is some finish, that is just how it feels to me. If you have played enough Rays you know what I am talking about.

    I am wanting to try to replicate this feeling on my Fender Standard P. From what I gather, I take a scrub pad (gray/fine style) and just give it a few rubs. I then rub the neck with some kind of oil (gunstock wax?) I bought a Peavey Fury to try the whole procedure on, just in case. I am going to use it to try some other mods, but those will be different threads. Does the neck finish matter? I am guessing they are both just poly but the Fender appears thicker. My Fender has a skunk stripe, will that affect anything?

    Am I headed in the right direction?
     
  2. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    The finish shouldn't matter, except for how thick it is. That will just mean you have to work a little harder to break through it. I've just used a green scotch brite pad and called it a day. You can use steel wool afterwards to smooth things out even more, but you're best to take the neck off so you don't get metal filings in the pickups. Either that or tape them off and wrap the body in a trashbag.

    Just go slow and give even pressure, going the full length of the neck. It may only take a few passes to achieve your desired effect.
     
  3. abemo

    abemo

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Location:
    Arvada, co
    I'd definitely recommend removing the neck first. I've used 600 grit wetsand before with good results. If you don't sand too much you may not break through the original finish, so there's no need to refinish, just sand/scuff it to feel. If you go deeper down to raw wood, then you'll need to apply a new finish. If you go this far, oil is an excellent option.
     
  4. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Location:
    Southern California
    No need to overcomplicate or overthink this. Gray scotchbrite is plenty aggressive. Just scuff the finish, don't remove it. It's a 2 minute job. Over a period of months (maybe longer) your hand will naturally burnish the finish back to gloss so you just repeat the process.

    If you're a visual learner:
     
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I actually find it funny that people suggest #0000 steel wool because whenever I've tried to use it, it does absolutely nothing, at least in the beginning. I find it useful at the end to smooth out the finish a bit, but not enough to actually scuff anything.
     
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Media:
    1
    Albums:
    1
    Location:
    Toronto Canada
    Disclosures:
    Bass Technician, Club Bass - Toronto
    The finish matters a lot.
    WarmothWarn.jpg

    In case you can't make it out, it says:

    "Warranty Void If Used Without Hard Finish - Oils Are NOT Satisfactory"
     
  8. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Location:
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    I will try scuffing it and see how similar it feels. If I do decide to go down to bare wood what type of oil should I use? I know Carvin offered a Tru-Oil neck finish when I ordered mine, I am guessing that is the feel I am after. I have heard something about gunstock wax with EBMM.
     
  9. marko138

    marko138

    Joined:
    May 24, 2013
    Location:
    Perry County PA
    I have a Mighty Mite neck on my P bass. The finish was extremely glossy. I used a green scotchbrite pad. Feels great now. Just took a few passes.
     
  10. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Sure it matters in that regard, but I didn't take the context in which he asked the question to be talking about that. So my response was in regard to "Does the finish matter in how you remove it?"
     
  11. Turnaround

    Turnaround

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Media:
    1
    Albums:
    1
    Location:
    Toronto Canada
    Disclosures:
    Bass Technician, Club Bass - Toronto
    I wasn't criticizing - I just didn't want anyone to get the wrong idea. Otherwise you might get quoted as saying the finish on the neck doesn't matter. Or I should say misquoted.
     
  12. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Plus one for green Scotchbrite. Been using it as needed on all my MIA and MIM J bass necks. A couple quick swipes from time to time and it's all good.
     
  13. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Location:
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    I tried this before practice last night and while I did like the feel better I think I want to go for a bare neck feel.
     
  14. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Location:
    Southern California
    There is a fair amount of prep work involved if you want to completely remove the finish and apply an oil finish like Tung Oil, Tru-Oil, or Danish Oil. Lots of good info if you google "tung oil guitar neck" etc. Also, there's a guitar finishing website called ReRanch.com that has a very active forum with lots of good info on this stuff.

    Personally, I would keep scuffing the neck and playing it until I reached the point where I had worn through the finish.
     
  15. NeroJazz

    NeroJazz

    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
    Location:
    Denmark
    I took off the finish on my '50s Classic Precision, because I love the tone, but the huge neck impaired my playing. I used sandpaper from 220-600 until I had bare wood and then finished it with a hardening oil. It is now super fast and a blast to play compared to the high gloss nightmare it used to be.
     
  16. Gorn Captain

    Gorn Captain Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Location:
    Queens
    I did the same with my Modern Player jazz neck with the green scotchbrite pads. I started with 3 swipes. Then did 3 more. Then it was perfect. In retrospect, I should've done it outside but it worked great.
     
  17. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Media:
    3
    Albums:
    1
    I've done the sanding many times, some to modify neck profiles substantially. I do the Tung oil but I always finish with carnuba or Montan wax as both dry hard and don't feel oily/sticky. Working my way through a can of Harco floor wax... Learned about it when I was into stained glass work, used to protect the finish of the non-glass parts :)
    What wiki says about Montan wax
    It is used for making car and shoe polishes, paints, and phonograph records, and as lubricant for molding paper and plastics. About a third of total world production is used in car-polishing polishes. Formerly, its main use was making carbon paper. Unrefined montan wax contains asphalt and resins, which can be removed by refining. Montan wax in polishes improves scuff resistance, increases water repellence, and imparts high gloss.
     
  18. sok monkee

    sok monkee Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Location:
    Burlington N.C.
  19. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Location:
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    I am bumping this thread instead of making a new one.

    I want to go further than what the gray 3M pad removed. I find the neck is glossing back up.

    I intend to basically follow Nero's steps using gradually higher finer sandpaper. When I am done I want to oil and wax. What exactly should I use and where can I get it? Is it just called tung oil and montan wax or is it branded as something? Is there going to be a difference in the type of oil and wax used?

    Lastly, my Stingray and my Jaco with the bare neck feel are both one-piece maple necks and my Precision Standard is maple with a skunk stripe. Will the skunk stripe cause any problems by doing this? Is this something for one-piece necks only? I would hate to ruin a perfectly good neck.

    Thanks again TB!
     
  20. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Location:
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Not that anybody cares but just in case somebody searches this thread in the future, I went through with the work. Edpal and Sok Monkee's post were very useful so I basically followed those methods.

    After removing the neck and taping it off, I started with 220 grit, sanded the heck out of the neck. Went to 320, sanded some more. Went up to 400 and kept sanding. I did the "whiskering" technique mentioned in Sok Monkee's post where I wet the neck, let it dry and sanded it. I used 600 grit for this step since I had some laying around.

    I ended up using Tung Oil to finish the neck. A quick wipe with a paper towel and another quick wipe with a fresh paper towel to remove it. After letting the Tung Oil dry, I used 0000 steel wool to give the neck a quick once over. Finally, I applied Zymol (automotive wax) to the neck.

    The neck feels absolutely amazing. I will be going through the rest of my basses/guitars and doing this to all of them.

    Thanks again for all the assistance.
     
  21. OEW3

    OEW3

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Location:
    USA
    Wow. I've always just grabbed some sand paper, took a few passes and boom. Done. Never oiled or refinished. But I play cheaper basses so maybe that's why I don't really care. Maybe, I'm missing something though.
     

Share This Page