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Neck Issues

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Bruce Bass, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. Bruce Bass

    Bruce Bass

    Apr 30, 2009
    Hi All

    I am another newbie to the site so hopefully I am on the correct part of the Forum. I am Just learning to play the Double Bass and although the neck on the Bass is clean it is Varnished and is sticky making it difficult to move fast up and down the neck. I play a Bass Guitar than has a satin finish neck and is very fast.

    My question is is there anything I should put on my palm such as powder or on the neck such as wax?

  2. Welcome. No reflection on you, but some lower quality basses are mass-produced to the point where the entire bass is put together, then sprayed with varnish (before the finger board is added) Necks shouldn't be varnished at all. I would remove the varnish. I don't know if you have any experience with wood, but you need to be careful. I would try sandpaper, starting out with a medium grit and slowly working your way down to fine. Mask off the edges of the finger board. You don't want to take wood away from that. Be very careful to sand with the grain when you get down to the bare wood. The finished neck should be as smooth as silk. If the varnish is industrial strength, you may have to use some solvent. Masking the board is very important here. If you get ANY moisture between the board and the neck you may be in big trouble because the board is glued on to the neck with hide glue which is water soluble so it can be replaced. Leave the varnish on the base of the neck and the curve up under the gear box.
    We normally suggest taking your bass to a luthier (a string instrument maker/repair-person) but some things can be addressed by the player, such as this.
    Let us know if it goes well....if it doesn't please don't. ;)
    Please fill out your Profile if you want to hang....this helps us help you. Thanks.
    If you are using your palm on the neck, it's time to get a teacher. Nothing touches the back of the neck but your thumb.
  3. Bruce Bass

    Bruce Bass

    Apr 30, 2009
    Thanks Paul

    I will let you know how I get on with it!

  4. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    When you get the finish off and the wood as smooth as Paul's Warmbottom, I recommend you apply some oil. Boiled linseed works well, but I prefer Watco danish oil.
    It feels much better than the bare wood and protects the wood.
    Paul, being in this business for over a century may have argue the point but I learned this from a mutual friend and am sticking to it.
  5. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    +1 on the oil.
  6. Bruce Bass

    Bruce Bass

    Apr 30, 2009
    Thanks for the tips. It all sounds good to me.

  7. OK, clinko, OK....but what the hell do you know about my Warmbottom? As I recollect, I don't remember that you've ever been there. If you play yer cards right, we can talk. :eek:
    Having been in the biz for over a century I fergot about the oil part. 100% agreed....
    Now, back to talkin' about the oil on my Warmbottom.........:atoz:
  8. you got my attention...:bag:
  9. You're too damn young, Kev....but you sure are pretty.
  10. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003
    Paul, thanks for the advice here. I'm in the same boat, I really don't like a varnished neck, so if I get motivated I'll do what you said to the neck on my Eberle.

    In hindight I wish I would have oiled the neck on my Upton. It came bare, and it's a little discolored with black gunk. Does anyone have advice on cleaning the neck before oiling it? I tried fine sandpaper / steel wool, and it worked a little, but not alot.
  11. I'll tell you this man, because it worked for me. But PLEASE wait for some of the boys who may have a less Chancey idea before you go at it. My old Hornstiener was in a fire. I had it restored, and it came out great. The luthier didn't want to mess with some smoke damage on the neck so he left it. I got the call from Bill Evans at this time, so paranoid as I was, I refused to show up on a gig with Bill Evans with a smoke damaged neck. (as if he would notice or care)
    I took a rag and put a bit of scouring powder on it and then dampened it a bit.....(I know....:eek:) I scrubbed the hell out of the affected areas (they came out easily), waited a few hours for the dampness to dry and steel wooled the areas with really fine grade. I then oiled it up, and it was beautiful.
    Again, maybe someone has a less desperate idea so maybe wait a bit. Don't come whining to me if you ruin yer neck..:bawl:
  12. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    I did this before a lousy gig with an 80 year old sax player in a lousy corner bar wearing a tux for a $75 gig.
    A drummer friend turned the guy down flat with the following poem before he hung up:

    If you gotta wear a tux
    It should pay more than 75 bucks
    ...And your music sucks...

    Back to our subject.

    Sandpaper is good but I've also used a scraper with good result. If you have a thick coating of varnish or lacquer on there, use a scraper to get that off first. A thin 6" metal ruler works well because it will bend to conform to the wood.
    Finish up with at least 220 grit sandpaper. Apply two coats of Watco danish oil 15-30 minutes apart. Wipe it down with a dry cloth and see how it feels. 0000 steel wool will finish it off to near perfection and your hands will do the rest.
    Linseed oil works well too, but it doesn't have a drying agent like the Watco and it can get funky. The Watco will be totally dry in a couple of hours. It seals the wood but feels smooth and slick.
  13. Gary Lynch

    Gary Lynch

    Nov 18, 2008
    Sonoita AZ
    Scraper, 320 grit, 400 grit, 600 grit, 0000 steel wool. A few drops of mineral oil rubbed in well a few times the first day. Mineral oil is also known as butchers block oil. 0000 steel wool the first few days after. Always wash your hands before you play! Oil every so often if the oil will penetrate well (once a month for the first few months). Don't over due it. Touch up when needed with 0000 steel wool. My neck is as slick as black ice and as clean as possible. Zero friction felt. A joy to use. I worked on my neck for about 1 1/2 hours the first time to get it immaculate.

    The friction from playing keeps working in the oil.

    This was my luthiers advise and it has worked great for me.
  14. There's so much nasty double entendre material in this thread that I'm having trouble hoding it all back.
    Aren't you guys proud of me? :hyper:
  15. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    I am amazed PDUB - all this oiling and rubbing and rubbing and oiling - yikes! :)
  16. Jazzcat


    Jan 20, 2009
    Titusville, FL
    Now he's not gonna need a teacher if you keep on posting all the top-secret teacher secrets.
  17. Yeah I know, man. That free **** doesn't make teachers real happy.
    Hey, Bruce...do a youtube search for a guy named Charlie Haden. Watch HIS left hand. That's how you do it.....
    Is that better, guys? Ha, ha, ha?
  18. Why not tape it off, carefully use orangen strip, then a little sanding to get the ridges down. Remove tape, oil then groove....
  19. Charlies left hand?
  20. Oh, well Jake.
    Gary, I hope you don't mind me playing around with your good, informative post. I figure, between you and I and the other guys, we've given our OP more than enough Info. Now let's have some goddamn fun. :help:
    So Gary. You worked on yer **** for about 1&!/2 hrs. to get it immaculate? My god, man!

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