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? About sanding glossy neck finish for smoother feel

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by winston, Apr 7, 2001.

  1. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I've got a '92 StingRay that feels great except for the gloss finish on the back of the neck that causes my thumb to stick. Does anyone have suggestions/advice for sanding it down--what grit steel wool/sandpaper, how long to do it for, will there be any danger of sweat/oils seeping into the wood? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I very strongly advise you not to remove the finish on the neck of your Stingray for a couple of reasons, Winston.

    Reason number one: The neck will likely become unstable with changes in humidity. If you seal just one side of a piece of wood the moisture absorbtion rate will be greater on the unfinished side. As the wood absorbs moisture on the unfinished side it expands and will cause the wood to assume the shape of a "C".

    Even though the fingerboard may be unfinished, the glue layer that holds the f.b. to the neck will act as a moisture barrier, preventing any moisture absorbtion on the f.b. side of the neck.

    As Hambone pointed out in Rick Martin's post, at least one major neck producer will not warrantee the neck if a finish is not applied.

    Reaon number two: The resale or trade in value of your bass will be seriously compromised. Your bass is much too nice to experiment on. Particularly an experiment that is as invasive as removing finish from the instrument.

    If I were going to remove the finish as part of a refinish job, I wouldnt use any kind of sand paper. A scraper will always give you a finer, smoother finish than sandpaper. A piece of broken window pane makes a good scraper and you can't beat the price. :) Sandpaper leaves minute fibers protruding from the surface of the wood but scraping produces a "planed" surface that is more like a polished surface.

    The fact that your thumb is dragging on the finish may be indicating a flaw in your technique. Your thumb should be touching the back of the neck so lightly while changing positions that drag should not be a problem.

    You might try lightening up your "grip". Another tip that may or may not help is to rub the tip of your thumb on the side of your nose. The oil that you pick up may make your thumb slide smoother. Maybe not. Can't hurt anything to try though.

    I would suggest that in a performance situation that you be a little discreet with the last tip. Nothing looks quite so unprofesional as picking ones nose on the stage. Well, picking someone elses nose may look less profesional, but I'm sure you get my drift. :)

    Hope this helps you.

  3. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Wow very impressive answer pkr2, its good to see people taking the time to give a thorough and complete answer kudos(sp?).
  4. And Yet, :)

    there IS something you can do to your neck to get the feel I think you want. Approach it one of two ways, 600 grit (wet) for about 10 strokes to take the sheen off or use 0000 steel wool (dry) to do the same. You won't take the finish off, just make it a more of a "satin" than it was before. I did it on my Warmoth and enjoy the new feel.
  5. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Thanks, folks. I was thinking of doing something more along the lines of what Hambone recommended, not stripping it bare. My other basses and guitars have satin finished necks and I prefer that feel to the higher drag of a gloss finish. Your suggestions also caused me to notice that sometimes I do apply too much pressure with my left thumb. Thanks to all!

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