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My poor bass neck!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by GeneralElectric, Mar 8, 2008.


  1. GeneralElectric

    GeneralElectric

    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    Howdy,

    For the past 2 weeks or so I've lent my Fender Precision to my friend Dan for recording and now my neck is all messed up!:crying:

    Its a maple neck with a thick heavy gloss finish (57 RI) and now there are all these dings and dents in the neck. Dozens of little pin head sized dings everywhere, as well as a few deeper ones. Now whenever I play I feel them and its quite uncomfortable.

    So I think I should just remove all the finish on the back of the neck, sand out the major dents, and then refinish it. Problem is, I'm half retarded.

    What I need to do first is take the finish off the back of the neck, how do I do that aside from sanding? I'm worried I'll start taking wood off of it as well and end up with a neck as thick as a toothpick.

    Now I have to sand off all those dents, is there a way I can sand it evenly at once (like a block of wood with the neck profile cut out) or would I have to do it by hand? Can anyone recommend me some tips where I won't shave off too much wood in one area?

    Lastly I'll have to refinish it. I've looked at the reranch site and have opted to get a clear satin nitro finish. Do I just spray it on and let it dry or is there anything special I need to know?

    Sorry for the lack of pictures, I only have a camera phone and the neck only comes out as an orange blur.:meh:
     
  2. warwick.hoy

    warwick.hoy

    Aug 20, 2006
    Spokane, WA.
    Beta Tester: Source Audio.
    What you need to do first is give Dan a swift kick to the crotch! What happened? Or is Dan not forthcoming with that information?
     
  3. rkingly

    rkingly "Playing Reverend Basses on a Regular Basis"

    Sep 8, 2007
    Virginia
    Endorsing Artist: Reverend Guitars
    +1 Your buddy should cover all repair costs!!
    Next time don't loan out your gear!
     
  4. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    The reranch site has a great tutorial for refinishing

    http://home.flash.net/~guitars/solids.html
     
  5. GeneralElectric

    GeneralElectric

    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    I think I know what happened. When I got the bass back, I didn't open the case. When I did this morning my fulltone that I also lent him was knocking around inside the case. (Its the hardshell case it came in. Normally I wrap the pedal in a few hankerchiefs before putting the bass in. It was wrapped.) He also probably left it lying around a lot.

    He said he would but the local shop says its at least a $200 minimum repair to strip and refinish the neck (and sand out the dings)

    While I bet he would pay it, I don't think he'd be happy to and I think $200 is a rip-off for a simple job. So I decided to do it myself. I decided that I'm going to respray in satin, instead of that disgusting feeling gloss as well.
     
  6. If you do that, I think you are a mug. Your friend should give you some compensation for the mess he caused.
     
  7. GeneralElectric

    GeneralElectric

    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    I'll be asking him for money, don't worry. I just think charging $200 for a simple job is outrageous, even if I'm not the one paying for it.
     
  8. rkingly

    rkingly "Playing Reverend Basses on a Regular Basis"

    Sep 8, 2007
    Virginia
    Endorsing Artist: Reverend Guitars
    once last year I accidentally dropped the gui**** players whole rig down 6 steps!!:bawl: As a stand up guy, I paid for all repairs,& it was a couple hundred bucks. Accidents happen, but you gotta do the right thing.

    P.S. I don't help the gui**** player w/his gear anymore.
     
  9. GeneralElectric

    GeneralElectric

    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    Any help though on stripping the back of the neck, as well as sanding out the dings? The pinhole sized ones don't go through the finish, but they catch on my hand. But there are two that are pretty big dents by the 3rd fret and the 8th fret on the bass side.
     
  10. warwick.hoy

    warwick.hoy

    Aug 20, 2006
    Spokane, WA.
    Beta Tester: Source Audio.
    I see where you went wrong. Probably be a good idea to invest in a pedal board, or a different case for that fulltone. I never put anything in with my bass with the exception of the strap in the little compartment.

    You may be able to rub the neck down with some steel wool. If the dings don't go all the way through to the wood that may be all you need to do to get rid of them. It will dull that finish down, but it will also make the neck feel faster. I've never been a fan of thick gloss finishes on necks.
     
  11. jerseyrichSnr

    jerseyrichSnr

    Sep 1, 2006
    NC
    I concur mostly with this opinion, except that you should be careful using steel wool, which can stain the wood in the dings.

    My theory of instrument cases is that you should get a container that only just holds the item itself AND NOTHING ELSE. The temptation to put other stuff in there with it is often irresistible.

    Reading luthier books about fixing dings, there are different and surprisingly easy ways of doing it, depending on the depth and extent of the damage.

    The smaller dings can be "sweated" out using a small wet cloth and a hot iron (soldering or clothes type), assuming the underlying wood is exposed in any way. The crushed fibers can have "memory" and can be restored to more or less the original shape. Then after it dries, maybe a quick shot of clear finish (to match the original finish type), or see below about glue.

    The larger ones can also be sweated out to some extent. Don't be tempted to use filler on necks, however, it will usually mismatch in appearance and may easily come loose again.

    Thick cyanoacrylate glue (a type of krazy glue) as filler will often do an excellent job filling the tiny dings, and since it has a similar refractive index to clear finish, it can be sanded down to make the original blemish almost invisible. You can also use it for slightly larger dings, after you've sweated them and let them dry.

    I would try these things, or find a luthier willing to do them, before I commit to sanding down the neck, which might change the neck profile and and cost you too much. Of course if you always wanted a different profile, now's your chance to do it on your friend's dime ;)

    Of course, huge dents are known to give character to a guitar....:D
     
  12. GeneralElectric

    GeneralElectric

    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    Thanks, this was a huge help. I was also opting to the sanding, because that gloss finish is disgusting. Is there a chemical way I can get the finish off the neck? Paint thinner?

    That Fender has been my main bass for the past two years and it has more than its share of dings and dents, just none on the neck.:p
     
  13. if you were going to sand it down, id get a longish piece of sandpaper of the right grit, and run it back and forth around the neck, as if you were a shoeshiner. this keeps the neck round. i would put a danish oil or wiped on varnish finish on it myself, as they will give you an extremely smooth feeling neck. they are also easy to finish with. if your interested i can go into some detail about how to apply them. i would suggest trying to go without refinishing the neck first though, and use the refinishing as a second option.
     
  14. peterbright

    peterbright

    Jan 23, 2007
    On The Bayou
    Good luck...& I hope you learned a lesson about lending things.
     
  15. You can also, of course, use tru-oil or linseed oil on the neck to keep it from trying out but not use a thick poly finish.
     
  16. jerseyrichSnr

    jerseyrichSnr

    Sep 1, 2006
    NC
    Yes, you will need to keep that neck smooth, whatever the condition of the body.

    I've used regular paint stripper to good effect on necks. You will very probably not want to remove the decals, so you should mask off that area before chemical warfare ensues. You'll just have to make sure that transition between the old finish and the new is neat and trim. Look at EBMM basses for an example of this transition (in their case between a wax/oil finish and glossy
    finish).

    Several applications of stripper will be needed. After you have removed EVERY trace of finish (and chemical), you'll need to rough up the surface of the maple to provide a "key" to the new finish you are going to apply. Use a very fine sandpaper for this.

    You will undoubtedly still have dings after the original finish is gone. Use the sweating technique I mentioned earlier. It usually works surprisingly well, ESPECIALLY if the dings are recent and the wood has memory. Pulling those dings out reduces the amount of "sanding down" you have to do. But if necessary do the sanding out (I don't recommend filling) of the dents. Just be very careful to do it evenly, and DON'T sand the heel, which has to fit in the neck pocket snugly. That means you should NOT strip it in the first place.

    I'm no expert on finishing, but I've had good luck with using a water based flat poly finish in several thin applications, making sure it dries and gets some very fine sanding after the last one to make it super smooth and somewhat matte.

    I see you live in NY NY, which implies you live in somewhat small accommodations. Just keep the window wide open when you use chemical stripper; we want you to continue to contribute to TaskBass in a non-retarded way ;).
     
  17. jerseyrichSnr

    jerseyrichSnr

    Sep 1, 2006
    NC
    I meant TalkBass. I inhaled too much chemical stripper.
     
  18. Those abrasive sponges are great for sanding curves evenly, you can get them in a variety of grades. 3M ones I think are green or grey. You can also use them wet to raise the grain and sand off smoother as well as slurry the dust back into the pores to help seal. It will be a hard mornings work but you have no fear of taking off too much wood if you do it all by hand. I would then rub on 4 to 6 coats of Tru-Oil and buff up once dry for a really nice sily neck. I love the feel of Tru-oil on necks.
     
  19. I have to agree, Dan needs a swift kick in the Nads. While he's down explain to him how he is going to help pay for the obvious disrespect for some else's generous assistance.

    Next time when he needs to borrow a bass. Enlighten him on the fact that a used Squire P bass is around $150 to $200 and he can smack that into the mic stand all he wants. Heck some Epiphones go for $100.

    I would take it to a good tech and see what he recommends. These guys are always good at offering up some decent advice.
     
  20. GeneralElectric

    GeneralElectric

    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    Would it be possible to just put a layer of masking tape on the fretboard, as well as on either side of the red lines to keep the majority of the neck finish intact?

    Also, would I have to remove the neck and hardware?

    Neck.
     

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