Lakland Bass Maple Neck Gripe

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassbloke, May 9, 2003.

  1. bassbloke


    Feb 26, 2002
    I bought a used Lakland 55-94 around a year ago. It was somewhat over year old but the original owner favoured other basses and it was still immaculate. Towards the end of 2002 I became aware that the maple neck was getting distinctly grubby and not cleaning up.

    I corresponded with Dan Lakin in November last year and he explained that the finish they use was "crazy glue". In effect this offers very limited protection against dirt. He offered to clean the guitar if it was still within the guarantee period. In fact it was just outside the guarantee period but since I'm in the UK even a free clean up would not have been a cheap option once freight charges had been taken into account.

    I've discussed this with a couple of guitar techs and they are frankly scathing about the suitability of crazy glue as a guitar finish as it will dissolve with sweat, saliva etc. I've been told the only solution is to sand the neck down, refret and refinish, for which I've been quoted a price of £180 (around $290).

    (For those who think a nice yellowed finish on a guitar is a plus, that comes with a guitar that's laquer finished in the first place: what I've got is a dirty grey colour, which certainly is not attractive).

    Frankly I think it's disgraceful that a guitar in this price bracket is so poorly finished that I'm expected to pay $290 to restore it after such a short time of normal use. Others thinking of buying maple-necked Laklands please take note.
  2. "crazy glue"= cyanoacrylate AKA. superglue?

    Rick Turner has used it to finish some fretless fingerboards, and a lot of makers use it to seal in frets.
    I'm surprised people say it will dissolve:confused:

    some oil-finished Ernie Ball Musicman maple-neck stingrays look pretty grubby when played-in.
  3. fivestringdan

    fivestringdan Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    Guys. Maple will patina to a brown or gray finish if left unprotected. And the only way that I have seen to do this properly, is to add a lacquer finish. These oil finishes or glue as you described wont do the trick. Sweat and dirt only add to the problem(regular playing) It's a fact of life. And I agree, Lakland should inform there customers that with time and wear, the maple, if left unfinished, will start to look like that.
  4. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    Is the dirty area on the back of the neck only? I bought a used Lakland that felt and looked like a used baseball bat. Now, it's like new. I did the work myself.

    From my previous post: "Thanks! Completed the bass tune-up today. I bought it used so it needed some work. Thanks to the folks at Lakland for their assistance [and patience]. The back of the neck was slightly dingy and rough. I had to buff it with a scotch pad, clean with mineral spirits, apply tung oil, let dry for 24 hours, then buff again with the scotch pad. I installed some new strings, new battery, and dropped the action down real low. The results: Like new!"

    The tools:
  5. I had the same problem with my 55-94 and refinished the fingerboard. Here are a couple "after" pics - I don't have any before pics. The neck turned out fine -

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    edit: BTW, I did the work. Took me about two evenings.
  6. hands5


    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    What did you do to get it to look like that ?
  7. bassbloke


    Feb 26, 2002
    Yes for avoidance of doubt it's the fingerboard and not just the neck that's the problem. Alan I'd be very interested in knowing how you got those results.
  8. It was pretty simple, really. Here's how I did it -

    I removed the finish from the fingerboard with 400 grit sandpaper and a couple different types of steel wool, finishing up with #0000 - you need something really fine for the finish work.

    One thing - remove the neck from the bass or remove the pickups from it. You don't want steel wool anywhere near a magnetic pickup. It won't hurt anything, but you'll never get all the steel wool particles off the pickups. I covered mine with masking tape and still had a heck of a time getting a tiny bit of steel wool off the pickups. If you remove the neck, put the body in another room and close the door. Trust me on this :)

    Anyway, it's pretty easy to sand between the frets until you get past about the 10th fret - then things get a little cramped and sandpaper works fairly well to remove the finish right up to the fret. You work one fret at a time and try not to sand the frets themselves :)

    Anyway, after I got the finish off I took an hour or so and sanded the fingerboard with #0000 steel wool until it was as smooth as I could make it.

    Then, I took the neck outside, masked off the headstock and sides and back of the neck and sprayed four coats of clear satin polyurethane on it - allowing it to dry and polishing with the #0000 steel wool between coats. Use a tack rag to make sure you get all the steel wool and sawdust off the neck before spraying - and do it again between coats. Don't bother masking the frets and don't worry a whole lot if the finish isn't perfect - you can let it dry and clean up with steel wool, but lotsa light coats are better than one heavy coat. I let the neck dry for about an hour between coats.

    After the last coat I let the neck dry for an hour or so, polished it up with the #0000 steel wool and then used an x-acto knife with a chisel blade to remove the polyurethane from the frets. Be careful here - x-acto knives are a lot harder than frets are and you can nick a fret with the blade.

    Anyway, it only took me a couple evenings and I was pretty scared when I started the project, but it turned out fine and the bass looks a heck of a lot better :)

    It was pretty easy, actually. I think the most important thing I could say is to take your time and do things right. If you do make mistakes and don't correct them you'll notice them every time you pick up the bass and that sucks. I'm learning that you don't rush things when you're working with wood.

    Good luck -
  9. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Something you may want to consider is sealing the neck (after the initial cleanup described in Allans post) using Polymerized Tung oil in lieu of std tung oil or a hard finish. I first heard about it from a BP article 9-10 years ago writen by Rick Turner (available from Bass Players archives). Polymerized Tung oil is processed (boiled) in a different manner than std. tung oil and produces a much harder and more permanent finish. Using std. tung oil will require that you recoat every year for optimum protection. Using a hard coat such as a poly coat will eventualy chip away on the fingerboard area creating other problems. I've had a Polymerized Tung oil finish on a Warmoth neck for 9 years and it still looks great.:)
  10. bassbloke


    Feb 26, 2002
    Thanks guys this is much appreciated.
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Do you mean the 'spots' on the wood? That is what is called birdseye maple.
  12. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    I feel your pain. My MTD neck is starting to yellow. It's dirty on the nack of the neck, but where the neck meets the back of the headstock it is really starting to yellow....hrm. I wonder why.
  13. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    welcome back Jeff, just watch out for all those darned pirate kitties, they're not to be trusted.
  14. Another good reason to wash your hands thoroughly before you play your bass and wipe it down afterwards.

    Seriously, rub the neck down with a Grey Scotch Brite pad and live with it.. It's called "character"

    Remember, it's a bass, not a piece of furniture.