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Getting an aged finish on a newer neck.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Arranger, Oct 14, 2004.

  1. Arranger


    Mar 9, 2003
    I have a 2001 US Fender Jazz Deluxe 4 that I picked from about twenty. It sounds fabulous with a nice rich warm tone and good overall dynamics. But I truly dislike its appearance.

    It is a classic sunburst with white pickguard and a perfectly virginal maple neck and matching light maple fretboard. The neck is so new and light that it looks like new pine lumber from a hardware store. I'm going to a tortoise pickguard. That's the easy part.

    I'd like to know if it is possible to refinish the neck so it doesn't look so spankin' new without disrupting the tone of the instrument. Can I refinish the neck and fretboard to at least to a yellower more vintage color? I'm thinking that the fretboard, with its dot inlays, may pose the truest challenge. I'm not likely to do this work myself.

    Thank you for your comments and suggestions.
  2. Scott French

    Scott French Dude

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    I'm not sure how good of an option it is but I've heard of people "baking" wood in direct(ish) sunlight over time to speed up the process of coloring. I've never done this before though and I try to keep my instruments away from the sun as much as possible.

    If you do have a refinish job you could always have the painter put a little yellow tint into the finish. I had a reissue bass by Fender and it had yellow tint in the neck finish. Maybe a replacement neck would be the simplest choice.

    I'm not a giant fan of straight white maple myself so for my latest "non-bass-stringed-instrument" project I've applied some walnut pore filler directly to the wood. It's filling the gaps in the wenge and coloring the maple in one step. I wanted more of a vintage violin type of finish that that's how it's turning out. You'd probably do better with the yellow tint if you're looking for that old Fender neck look though.

    Before and after:
  3. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Frenchy, I love your work. That's one beautiful neck.
  4. Arranger


    Mar 9, 2003
    That is beautiful work, indeed.

    Thanks for the tips. Just wondering again, am I taking a risk on tone by making finish modifications to the neck?
  5. Scott French

    Scott French Dude

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA

    Anything you do to the instrument has the potential to alter the sound. Some would say most the tone is coming from the pickups, some would say that thick Fender finishing is chocking out the tone already. I would say it depends on how sensitive you are to changes in the instrument. I would be more bothered by the possibility of a change in the neck shape/thickness myself.
  6. One good option would be to strip the neck, refinish with Tru-oil for the color and then re-coat with clear poly.

    You could also stain, if you were confident that you could mix a good thin color to achieve the effect you want.