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Gloss neck a little too sticky

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by basstodave, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. basstodave


    Jan 12, 2002
    I just picked up a terrific G&L L2000 with a gloss finish on the neck. It is a little too sticky for me.
    Is there a way to make this into a satin finish just by removing some of the poly coating or do I need to completely remove the existing finish and start from scratch?
    This bass is mint, I don't want to have anything less than a pro look and feel to it. Should I take this to a qualified tech or is this something I can do readily and have a pro outcome?
    Thanks for your advice.
  2. ducatiman


    Oct 3, 2006
    new yawk

    try a less invasive method 1st, try 0000 steel wool or scotchbrite pad (personally, i use the steel wool). buy either at hardware store or home sleepo. run either up & down the neck a minute or two, use light to medium hand pressure. breaks up the funk, returns a slippery, silky clean feel back again.

    as this is not a super aggresive action, it will not have any negative effects. you're more cleaning the surface than removing it.

    cheap, quick, easy, you'll love it. try it. it works! ;)

    good luck, duc :bassist:
    RAMUSIC likes this.
  3. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    You can knock the glaze off the finish with any of several different things, but if you use steel wool, use it with extreme caution. Little, almost microscopic particles of steel wool can be drawn to the magnets in the pickups. It's hard to remove.
  4. basstodave


    Jan 12, 2002
    Thanks guys.
    So the glaze or outermost part of the poly coating can be removed? At the point the glaze is removed what is left then is technically the same as a satin finish?
  5. ducatiman


    Oct 3, 2006
    new yawk
    by using steel wool or scotchpad, you're only removing a microscpoic amount of the gloss. the surface gunk is inevitibly removed as well (thereby restoring cleanliness and feel).
    the amount of gloss being removed is not even measurable in terms of thickness.

    yes, visually, it will be "satin" , a less glazy surface. i suppose you could be more agressive until you achieve the look you are trying to accomplish. in your 1st post, i thought you were more concerned with rremoving the sticky feel rather than achieving a look. its your call.

    pkr2 is correct, protect the the body in a towel, keep steel wool debris away from pickups, if thats the way you'll do it.

    ps, don't be surprised that the glaziness returns after playing for some time (weeks, months), this happens as your hand polishes and dirties up the neck. simply repeat the process when and if needed. :)

    FWIW, IMHO, YMMV blah blah blah the usual applies......duc
  6. basstodave


    Jan 12, 2002
    I want a satin finish because of feel not looks. I want the 'look' or esthetics of the neck to be professional in appearance and not uneven or amateurish, after any glaze removal, regardless of how much I remove.
    I am shy of digging in with steel wool not knowing how it will look afterward. I understand well how it will feel if the glaze is cleaned by removing the tope micro layer. I do not have a working knowledge of the chemistry of the poly coating. I would like to know if the satin and the gloss finish share one and the same material and only the amount applied to the neck differ, more for the glaze, less for the satin. But there is more to it than that, I'm sure. Perhaps two different substances are used? So then removing the top layer of glaze will indeed accomplish little since the glaze is a thick substance and has the same properties throughout its substrate regardless of how many microns I shave off. Yes?
    Is the satin finish G&L applies altogether a different polyester than what the glaze poly is made of? I am decidedly undernourished and must go for Chinese NOW! but does what I am asking make sense?
  7. ducatiman


    Oct 3, 2006
    new yawk
    yes, makes sense. i understand u want a clean, even, pro job. i've given u the least invasive method for restoring feel.

    if its any consolation, i do this to my us strat yearly. no damage. be smooth, even, start lightly, check often during the process, become more aggresive if u need.

    it works. if you're that apprehensive, consult your local luthier.

  8. mikoespanol


    Aug 20, 2005
    Southern CA
    Buy 1000 grit sandpaper from your local hardware or auto store. Wet the sand paper and start rubbing it on the neck. Wipe off the water and particles from the neck and you will see the gloss finish is removed.

    I just finished removing the gloss from the neck of my Fodera. It was really bugging me during gigs this summer since it would get too sticky when it got too hot and humid. It took me about 10 mins to sand the gloss and the bass is even more killer now! I should've done this a long time ago. Today, I just did the same thing on the neck of my jazz bass.
  9. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    You're making things way more complicated and getting in to far more significance than you need to. It's very simple really. Using fine steel wool, a synthetic abrasive pad or sandpaper to give a satin finish is simply putting some scratches in the surface. You could do the same thing to a sheet of glass with sandpaper. If you sanded the glass with say 600 grit silicone carbide sandpaper, which is hard enough to cut glass, you'd be creating fine scratches in the glass that would refract the light causing the duller look. That's really all you're doing when you dull down the finish on a glossy neck. It gives a slightly smoother and less sticky feel to the hand in the process. Don't worry about the chemistry of the finish or if there are different chemical makeups between the gloss or satin finishes. It doesn't matter one bit.

    Steel wool or an abrasive pad are a little easier to work with on the curved surface of a neck. All 3 will produce similar results.

    You're taking off very little of the surface of the finish, so as long as you don't sand away too long you'll havc plenty left for protection.

    I've used steel wool, abrasive synthetic pad or very fine (600 grit) sandpaper. All work well. With steel wool, because little bits of the steel wool wear off and can get stuck to the magnetic pickups, I either mask off the pickups with tape before starting to work, or remove the neck if it's a bolt on. Then clean up the steel wool residue from the workbench before putting it all back together.
  10. basstodave


    Jan 12, 2002
    Yeah I have a tendency to complicate things.:meh:
    I do however understand the scratching the surface of the glaze for a better feel though.
    But now I am curious about neck finsihing at the factory. Just out of curiosity I wonder how glaze and satin are applied?
    Why too are glaze finishes still used? My Sterling neck feels great with a wax/oil finish.
  11. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    Many people like gloss finishes. It's just preferences.

    The only difference between the two is how finely they are sanded. Apply a finish. Buff it to a sheen. That's a gloss finish. Aplly a finish, sand it (which is not as fine as buffing) and you end up with a satin finish.
  12. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    That's pretty well the gist of it, although some finishes won't dry to much of a sheen and some can't be buffed out to go shinier.
  13. basstodave


    Jan 12, 2002
    I bought some fine Bronze wool. Shouldn't have to worry about bits sticking to the pups. To be safe I took precautions anyway and the results are satisfactory. As everyone has stated it is really a simple procedure. yah,well,doh!
  14. slick_tu


    Sep 19, 2006
    South Jersey
    I know this is an old thread, but it came up in a search.
    I used the Ace Hardware brand of gray (fine) Scotch Brite and it did a terrific job. I didn't want to use steel wool because of the PUP attraction thing; I also read that tiny particles can get lodged in the neck finish and cause problems for your fingers. These lodged particles can also rust and cause discoloration. Seemed logical.

    I never wanted to touch the glossy nitro on my reissue Fenders (a "purist" thing), but they just get too sticky in the heat/humidity. From the front you can't tell anyway, so I tried it. So fantastic I did all four basses (but not my '75).
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  15. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    just put masking tape over your pickups before using steel wool and you are set. it did wonders for my mim fender. Ernie ball actually reccomends steel wool for use on musicman necks in a maintenance video....
  16. Al T.

    Al T. Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2006
    Richmond, VA.
    On the advice of a luthier I have used a green Scotch Brite pad on the back of my Jazz neck for years with no adverse effects. It quickly removes the effects of heat and humidity.
  17. The above mentioned methods will work just fine. Looking back, as a young buck, I can't believe what I used to do to cure a sticky neck. It's rather embarrassing, honestly. I'm 47 years old now, but, when I was in high school (even before I discovered Fast Fret & Finger Ease), I would put talcum powder on my hands before I played. Gee, I wonder why as a high school kid I would have to scrape n' scrounge to buy more than one set of round wounds every month? Man, I've done some weird, idiotic things over the years, when it comes to bass-related things. I mean, who in the hell puts baby powder on their hands before they play? Lol.
  18. slick_tu


    Sep 19, 2006
    South Jersey
    Actually, I remember doing that a couple times when I played back in the '70s. :D I don't think it worked really well. In another thread on sticky necks, Chazinroch used it and noted: "Beware - white powder on stage can be fodder for strange reactions from club owners."
  19. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    At the factory I'm thinking it's all shot (sprayed) on.

    Regards the finish on the neck. All you want to do is break the gloss. Get a green Scotchbrite pad and hit your dry neck a few licks, wipe it down with a LIGHTLY DAMPENED paper towel, then a dry one. You want it completely dry before the next step. Once dry, run your hand up and down, maybe play it a minute and see if it feels any better to you. If it still feels sticky, repeat the process. It may take you several passes with the pad to get the feel you want, but it's not a hard and fast thing of do it for a minute and it will be what you want.

    You can only get it so slick doing this so if it feels like the neck is not improving after a round of scuff/wipe/dry, stop. All you are doing after that is reducing the thickness of your neck finish.

    I do this to all my basses when I first get them and rarely do I have to do it again. I do make a habit of ALWAYS wiping them down well while they are still warm from being played before putting them away for the night so maybe that's why they don't gather mung or need redoing later. I also wash my hands last thing before I play and don't use any kind of lotion on my hands. It drives wifey crazy to see my dry hands but if I use any kind of potion or lotion it turns the strings black when I play.

    Lastly, while you can get satin or gloss finishes, in a production situation everything will usually be shot with gloss then any less than perfect finishes will be deglossed basically as described above, and sold as satin necks. If it was a fifty fifty split they may make separate runs, otherwise it would be easier and less expensive to just manually degloss as required/needed.
  20. slick_tu


    Sep 19, 2006
    South Jersey
    My basses came with gloss necks because they are reissues, the way they did it in the '50s and '60s. I believe Fender uses satin necks on their "new" stuff now.

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