Should I sand down the neck on my vintage P bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FSGrind, Jun 22, 2019.

  1. FSGrind

    FSGrind Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2016
    Hi all,

    I've got an 1982 Emerald Green Fender P bass. It has a 79 neck on it that came from the factory. I love the way it sounds but i'm not really a fan of the way it plays.

    If I were to sand the back of the neck & make it smooth I would like it a lot more I think. However, i feel horrible ruining a piece of history. Has anyone done this? I really like the way some of the old music man basses feel & I'm pretty sure it's because there's no gloss on the back.
    jamro217 and EatS1stBassist like this.
  2. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    It's your bass, so I'm not going to tell you not to do it; however, I have done this to a few basses over the years and I warn you to seal whatever sanding you do. Untreated wood takes in/ releases moisture at a higher rate and your comfy bass can become uncomfortable real fast based upon changes in humidity and temp. If you are unfamiliar with regular maintenance and setups, I would read up on that before doing any sanding.

    On my nitro fin basses, I keep a scotch-brite in my bag and rub the necks down before each gig. By the time the gig is over, the finish is back. No bare wood problems there.

    Another option would be to find a good, comfy replacement neck, after market or otherwise, leaving the original neck in storage in case you ever resell. Good luck.
  3. Rabidhamster


    Jan 15, 2014
    Sell it instead and buy what you like already.
    gebass6, Manticore, kentiki and 3 others like this.
  4. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    As @Bodeanly suggested, I would go the simpler route and just knock-down the gloss with a Scotch-Brite pad. For regular use / applications, I just snag a multi-pack from the local grocery store. They're super-thin and conform well to the neck contours.

  5. FSGrind

    FSGrind Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2016
    No one wants to buy it lol.
    Son of Wobble likes this.
  6. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    I doubt that. They might not want to pay the price you are asking but somebody definitely wants to buy it.

    As far as the finish goes, I don't think a scuff job (3M pad/scotchbrite) goes far enough. If you are really hellbent on it, I'd sand that finish down. That being said, I do this to almost all my basses but I didn't touch my old 1982 Fender Elite - that got sold with the stock neck finish. I wouldn't do this to a vintage instrument.
    Rabidhamster likes this.
  7. Your bass is neither a piece of history or vintage. Most actual "vintage" Fenders has lost much of the finish on their necks. This is one of the reasons people like them so much. Use some very fine sandpaper to give the neck a satin finish. I don't care what anyone says on here, you will not hurt the value of that bass by doing this.
  8. porterbass

    porterbass Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2013
    I've used 600 grit sand paper on several necks to knock down the finish, including both nitro and poly. Works great and you only need to take off enough finish to knock down the gloss so you'll still have plenty there to protect the wood. I've also used steel wool in the past but you need to be careful of any pieces of the steel wool coming off and attaching to the pickups.
  9. dan1952

    dan1952 Commercial User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Artist Endorsement with Supro Huntington Basses / Owner, Dan's Music, Inc..
    Contrary to what JMarkD says, your bass is considered vintage by many folks these days, and ANY modifications will hurt the value to some degree. If it were me, I'd buy a good replacement neck from Warmoth and put the current neck in the closet until the day you decide to sell the bass.
  10. kerrycares

    kerrycares Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    You can also shop for a replacement neck on ............. wait for it ............ or in the stratosphere store or or . If you sand that neck you will devalue it and void any warranty regardless of pedigree.
    The other concern is you may still be unsatisfied with it.
    I’d go play 30 other basses and either order a neck just like the model you prefer or budget and ergonomics permitting, add another bass to your herd.
    But what do I know?
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
  11. James Collins

    James Collins Guest

    Mar 25, 2017
    There is literally nothing wrong with your bass, so don't take this the wrong way:

    Regarding the vintage and historical nature of your bass, I believe late 70s and early 80s was a low point in production quality for Fender and many US manufacturers.

    I do not think that your neck being sanded or oil finished or whatever you do to it will lower the value or make it harder to sell. People wanting a 40 year old bass know it will show some signs of time.
    FRoss6788 likes this.
  12. EatS1stBassist

    EatS1stBassist In Memoriam

    Apr 15, 2016
    So cal
    Just did a neck and Headstock with 1500 emery, it came out smooth feels great!:thumbsup:
    murphy and Groove Doctor like this.
  13. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I don't understand. Why do you think no one wants to buy it? And why is that funny?
  14. jthisdell


    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    I took steel wool to my 71 P 40+ years ago. One of my buds told me at the time I was ruining it but I did not care then and do not care now because I love the way it plays and feels, very smooth.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
    murphy and bobyoung53 like this.
  15. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    Steel wool is awesome, but can get crud in your pickups if you're not careful.
    Cheez and gln1955 like this.
  16. jthisdell


    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    Yeah I would do a little at a time and then clean off all the reside.

    I also replaced the pickup 35 years ago ( but kept the original);)
    Bodeanly likes this.
  17. KJMO


    Feb 6, 2015
    I would never buy a bass where the neck had been sanded down. I don't care if it's been true oiled, whatever, I wouldn't even consider it. I can't believe I'm the only one, so I don't believe it wouldn't affect resale. If you're going to keep it forever, do whatever you want, I guess, but if you might sell it, I wouldn't screw it up.
  18. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Just be be sure I understand, you have an '82 P that came from Fender with a neck stamped '79? Not a parts bass? How do you know it left the factory like that? It's gonna be hard to sell that bass as all original.

    Anyway, do you consider this bass your #1 player or a collectible? If it's your player, do what you want to the neck. A nice comfy finish (or lack thereof) is worth more and any hypothetical decrease in value way down the road.
    bhoff5150 and zoonose like this.
  19. onamission

    onamission Supporting Member

    A Tru-Oil finish gives me both protection and the feel of bare wood. I would buy a replacement neck, sand and Tru-Oil it. Put the other up for safe keeping.
  20. It's your bass, do what you wanna do...

    The neck and body are already from different years, I don't think sanding the neck will be a big deal
    PWRL and porterbass like this.