Sanding The Neck

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by FreeSpirit, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. I've heard some stuff, about sanding the back of a neck, to make it play better. How exactly would one go about doing this. And would the advantage of this being able to make it play faster?

    The bass I have is a '97 Squier P-bass. Although people think off its just a squier, it is better then any p-bass i have ever played before, and i really treasure this so I'm trying to make it as easy to play as I can.

    If this is in the wrong forum please move it.
  2. callmeMrThumbs

    callmeMrThumbs Guest

    Oct 6, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    Well, I hate to say this, but there isn't anything you can do to make your bass play better. However, you can modify your bass a little bit to better suit your desired fit. hehe...

    What I would recommend (I'm gonna get crap for this, cause I'm not a luthier) is to lightly sand the back of the neck with fine grit sand paper (220 or so) and put a light coat of oil (tung oil, lemon oil, etc.) on so that it won't get all dirty. But the rest will just take time. The oild from your hands will gradually give your neck that gloss finish that it probably originally had. My bass body has a satin finish and there is a gloss spot where my right forearm rests. This spot is a little "slicker" than the rest of the body, but I don't think this surface could be reproduced with any kind of laquer or anything.

    Um...I hope I helped a little. Good luck.

  3. jacove


    Apr 12, 2003
    Aalborg, Denmark
    I sanded an old Tokai Jazz bass neck at one worked great and the neck is very comfy for my hand...I used 3 types of sand paper, som pretty rough at first, then some fine and ultra fine sandpaper....I then gave it oil and advice is take very little of at a time and see how it works...If I should do again, I would probably get some nitro laquer instead of wax and oil...
  4. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
    my take (which is somewhat different from the others so far) ...

    don't use sandpaper to do this task. sandpaper will potentially allow you to completely go throu the finish on the back of the maple neck and expose the raw wood in places, and unfinished maple has potential to open the door for neck warpage.

    instead use steel wool to remove the shinyness from the neck. This will eliminate the stickyness many players dislike with a finished neck while keeping the wood sealed from your persperation (which is a major cause for unfinished necks warping.) when you use the steel wool, be sure not to rub all the way thru the finish.

    oil finishes do not prevent moisture from entering the neck wood, and are a poor choice for properly finishing a maple neck. if you purchase an unfinished Warmoth neck, using an oil finish (or even worse, playing with no finish) will void your waranty.

    All the best,

  5. Ray-man

    Ray-man Guest

    Sep 10, 2005
    I stripped the finish off the back of my 1980 MM StingRay's neck, and I used 3M Safest Stripper. Once the lacquer was gone, I sanded it with 400 grit sandpaper, then finished it off with extra fine steel wool. After removing all the dust with tack cloth, I wiped on some Formby's lemon oil. It was smooth as a baby's behind, and I LOVED the feel. Eventually skin oil mixed with it, and it became a bit discolored, but I didn't care about that. It felt much better to me.

    Keep in mind, I am not a luthier. I just know what I like.
  6. basstruck

    basstruck Guest

    Nov 25, 2005
    The one thing that will make you play a lot better and faster is "practice"!
  7. im gonna go with rodent here and warn against sanding through the finish, the gloss finish on your squire shouldnt be too bad by now that its sticking, what you could do would be to get some cleaner on the back of the neck, and if you have never done it before, perhaps lem-oiling the fingerboard could help a little bit with fret to fret transitions.

    but basically like basstruck said, nothing beats practice
  8. Try the steel wool first. Look for 000 (that's triple zero), which is very fine. Rub lightly and make sure you clean up any stray strands of steel.

    Paul Mac
  9. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Steel wool leaves a mess, IME.
    Wet sanding paper, grit 1200 or higher, does just about the same thing, without the (magnetic!) mess.
  10. DrSmaggs


    Oct 15, 2003
    Endorsing Artist:
    I stripped the nasty globby yellowish finish off of my black G&L... and it's smoother and better than ever.

    I used some Formby's tung oil and I've had great luck and fast playability with this bass.... now if there was a way to eliminate the sharpness of the fret ends...
  11. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
    a small, fine file and a little bit of careful filing will get the job done in a matter of a few minutes

    All the best,

  12. DrSmaggs


    Oct 15, 2003
    Endorsing Artist:
    I just need to get my hands on that fine file!

    Thanks for the tip! :hyper:
  13. For a great satin finish and feel, here's what Roger Sadowsky does. "We sand our necks to 240 grit. We spray them with flat nitro finish."
  14. Biagio139

    Biagio139 Dealer: Hipshot Products, Inc.

    Dec 23, 2005
    Ithaca N.Y.
    Ummm has anyone thought about a refret job or re-crowning to improve the feel. go ahead and sand the back of the neck with 220 320 to400 1000 1200 etc go ahead and take that glossy stuff right off if you dont want it just dont go crazy once youve hit wood in fact id go 220 to wood then 320 400 100 1200 etc goto or and get some tung oil I like tung oil user friendly, sand that too with the 400 and re-apply a few times then 1000 and so onuntill its to you liken but Iam not keen on steelwool it can imbed steel into the grain of the wood and make it look horrible. Yes you can make you bass play great with a tune up new frets and trus rod adjustment. heck just becase its christmas if you in the binghamton NY area ill refret for 10 dollars as long as you drink a beer with me
  15. Ray-man

    Ray-man Guest

    Sep 10, 2005
    I failed to mention that I had my bass completely apart when I did this. When I worked on the neck, I was working on only the neck (not attached to the body, no pickup in the vicinity).
  16. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    ..and that you cleaned the neck very carefully before reinstalling it, because the steel strands are very difficult to remove - without the magnet... ;)
  17. Ray-man

    Ray-man Guest

    Sep 10, 2005
    Absolutely. Tack cloth is our friend when refinishing. :D
  18. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    I find the scrub pads you can get in your supermarket work great for this. The plastic scouring pad things that are often on one side of a sponge. It's a bit less messy than steel wool.
  19. +1. I have a Warmoth neck that I finished with satin poly. I used the green coloured scrub pad on the back of the neck and it definitely made a difference in the feel, much smoother now.
  20. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    You can find different "grits" of these pads in auto body paint supply shops. They are graded by color. The finest being white. The gray ones would be a good start point.........t