Sticky Neck even after 0000 steel wool...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by L. L. Elwood, Nov 21, 2022.

  1. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2004
    I have an early 80s G&L that has become my #1. However, I've noticed on gigs where I'm playing for 2-3 hours the back of the neck feels pretty sticky about 1/2 way through the gig. I don't have super sweaty hands or anything.. It's a pretty typical early 80s (1983) high gloss maple neck.. probably nitro. I tried steel wool to reduce the gloss and it works a little. Any other suggestions to achieve that nice smooth satin feel?


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    Last edited: Nov 21, 2022
  2. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Stolen from those smarter than I: wet-sand w/ 1500-2000 sandpaper and mineral oil. Clean-up w/ naphtha. Not sure if it works as each project bursts into flame halfway thru the process. Just kidding.

    JLS likes this.
  3. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    I wouldn’t recommend further steel wool on a thin nitro finish unless you want bare wood.

    Automotive paste wax (no silicone) and buff it until the rag gets warm in your hands and the neck is glowing and as smooth as silk.
    J Wilson likes this.
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Scotch Brite pad. Works better than steel wool, and no metal residue to adhere to your pickups.
  5. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    600 grit is the gold standard. Higher grits are too close to polishing. 600 leaves enough tooth so that there is less surface contact with the skin. Wet or dry, your choice.

    Scotch bright is messy.

    0000 Steel wool is fine. Tape off the pickups first.

    OP: Do you wash your hands before you play? Do you eat or drink on stage or during breaks? Pickup stuff off the stage floor? "Sticky" usually means "stuff on your hands."
    lark_z and Nightman like this.
  6. Nightman

    Nightman If it ain't low, it's got to go! Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Based on the OP statement about the neck being fine until half way through a 2-3 hour gig sounds not like the neck needing sanding, but maybe just a wipe down with a dry clean cloth to remove what sweat and maybe hand lotion that has transferred from the hand onto the back of the neck.
    You don’t have to have really sweaty palms to get the back of the neck tacky after playing for hours.
    Just use a dry clean rag/cloth to wipe the neck down after a few songs and between sets.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2022
    202dy likes this.
  7. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    I recommend Nanowax. A little spritz and wipe before the show and between sets if necessary. It will be as slippery as you'll ever want it.

    Don't do any more sanding or scrubbing on the finish.

    There are many different brands of "Nanowax" available in auto parts stores and online. It's a really thin liquid of finely ground carnauba wax, with no silicones. A light spritz on the back of the back of the neck, a quick wipe with a clean micro-fiber cloth, and it's good for a few weeks of light playing, or a few hours of heavy playing.

    Here's one brand as an example:,aps,151&sr=8-7
    96tbird and Nightman like this.
  8. Nightman

    Nightman If it ain't low, it's got to go! Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
  9. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    I didn’t know this stuff existed! I mean i see that stuff in the auto aisle but always though it had chemicals unfriendly to wood added. Awesome.
  10. Maybe your hands are sticky
  11. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2004
    Thanks all!! I’m going to start by giving the nano wax a shot!
  12. J Wilson

    J Wilson Supporting Member

    THIS. I'm not about to take sandpaper or Scotch Brite pads to any instrument.

    Meguiar's or Mother's or Zymol fixes this, plus it's harmless to a glass, poly finish. I use this on my axes and it's like gliding on silk.