Gloss to Satin Neck?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Merovign, May 30, 2016.

  1. Merovign


    Dec 25, 2015
    Hi guys,

    I have got a 2003(?) MIM Fender Jazz 60s Reissue, and a 2012 Indonesian made Lakland 55-02. I have been slowly getting a little uncomfortable with the glossy necks that both basses have, and I've been wondering if I am able to sand(?) the neck finish down to a satin finish.

    I would preferably DIY this, so what are the steps and what do I need to get? If I'm not wrong, I would need super fine steel wool, and oil of some sort to get the satin finish?

    Thanks for reading.
  2. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Assuming a poly finish all you need is some periodic rubbing with some super fine steel wool, I've even gone so far as to go up to 400 grit sandpaper on one of my necks that had a really thick poly finish.
    Merovign likes this.
  3. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    You can use the very fine scotch brite pads too, I don't like steel wool for much of anything, the fine particles turn to rust, and get stuck to anything magnetic like pickups.
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  4. earlysecond

    earlysecond In Memoriam

    Jan 26, 2016
    I HATE a glossy finish on the back of my necks. From the first time I refinished my first bass and played it, I ended the gloss on the back crap.

    Here is my process FWIW- should be VERY easy for you to pull off. Yes, you can use a dry Scotch Brite I would use gray as it is the ultra fine. (GEEZ I hope that is right? Red/Burgandy is fine and gray is ultra fine- can somebody back me up? Need a witness!)

    I start with fresh, greeen, newly applied clear coat. I knock the shine off by wet sanding the back of the next with 1500 grit wet dry sandpaper. You can get it at an autobody supply store or an auto parts store.

    Get s spray bottle of clean, warm water, add 2 drops of dish liquid (I buy brand name DAWN as somehow it works better) get a small piece of the wet/dry paper so that you do not have a bunch of excess paper to fight an manage (you MUST pay attention to the edges and corners of the paper it CAN cause scratches that are deeper than you want)

    WET the paper and let is sit for awhile. Some people prefer to soak it in water LONG before using it. I would likely mask the neck as you are going to make a good bit of sticky slurry which is sanded clear coat.

    Wet the next and gently, in one direction, with uniform LIGHT pressure sand the neck. If you are successful, you will see white stuff mixing in with the water, this is clear coat particles you are cutting off of the surface. Sand the entire neck. Wipe it, allow it to dry, repeat until the neck is the sheen you want. Do NOT think you can sand the neck for a long time, there is likely not enough clear to go over it lightly 2 or 3 times MAX

    IF, at any time, you see a spot that looks different than the surrounding area STOP as you have gone to far and burnt through the clear. Remember to let the paper cut, do not press hard and work slowly checking your progress often and stopping when you are happy with the sheen.

    I have found paper in the 1000 to 1500 range acceptable but prefer the 1500 by the time you get to 2000 it stars to get a bit of a dull shine again.

    After you do this, enjoy the nice glide of your much more playable neck!!

    Good Luck
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  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    If you just want to scuff it up I would use a grey scotch brite pad, high grit sand paper, or 0000 steel wool. You don't need any oil for a scuffing but I would recommend using a coat of automotive wax. I much prefer an oiled and waxes neck over a satin one, I have linked the thread where I got advice to do so.

    Removing A Neck Finish
    Merovign likes this.
  6. Rôckhewer

    Rôckhewer Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Owner/Builder- RockHewer Custom Guitars LLC
    Yeah, you could go the easy route and just rub it with 0000 Steel wool, or Scotch bright pad....
    But for the ultimate in uniform results...follow the above directions to the letter!

    Damn @earlysecond .... You do know your color sanding techniques!
    It's anal precautions like this that separate mediocre finishes, from spectacular ones!;)

    I would add one thing...
    As to taping off the fretboard, I like to run the tape right along the seam where the fretboard meets the neck, leaving the edge of the fretboard glossy. Retaining that little strip of gloss isn't really going to effect the fastness of the neck, and i think it looks cool.
    Just my opinion;)
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
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  7. earlysecond

    earlysecond In Memoriam

    Jan 26, 2016
    BTW- a dry, gray scotch brite is the same as dry 600 grit paper. Not coincidentally the minimum scuff for adhesion of modern clear coat!

    I recommended the wet sand because you hand, especially the tip of your thumb . . . maybe could notice it. Once you get above 1200 grit wet, then a small amount of luster returns. Shallow scratches, and more of them to defeat the gloss, have a a LITTLE bit less chance of holding dirt. At the end of the day, all kinds of things will work, including comet scouring powder (too messy here) It is all up to the OP and it is very true that a gray scuff pad would work out mighty fine!

    Rock- HAHA thanks I had a great teacher. . . .all of the many mishaps I made while color sanding and compounding cars! Nothing worse than beautiful, flat, slick, glossy clear coat that you sand through or burn through with the buffer. Happily, on the very last project I did, a '46 Chevy Farm truck, two tone black and red- not a single burn! It was nearly perfect so I retired. Oh yeah, did I mention it was mostly black!?

    I agree with your tape line theory and that is where I run mine too. It is about the best place to hide any line and you can gently knock it down until you cannot feel it!

    Ok- so my finishing skills might be OK. . . .anybody out there who can make a great sounding bass want to make a collaboration?? (I am still working on the sound part)
    Merovign likes this.
  8. Rôckhewer

    Rôckhewer Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Owner/Builder- RockHewer Custom Guitars LLC
    I learned to color sand the same way!
    I was helping a friend who had a body shop & was restoring old SS Chevelles ...& of course they were always black! ;)
    Merovign likes this.
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