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Sticky Neck on Les Paul

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by jpmcbride, Jan 15, 2018.


  1. jpmcbride

    jpmcbride

    Aug 31, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    I have a Les Paul bass with a glossy neck and it gets sticky after playing. This is my first Gibson bass and I've never had a neck like this before. A little searching on TB and now I know this is a common complaint. Reading the old threads I see lots of advice, but no feedback on if its any good. Has anyone actually taken a scotch pad or steel wool or sandpaper to their Gibson neck? Is so, what was the result? I'd like to hear from someone who has actually done it and can testify to the results.

    And whats this about the nitro finish needing to cure/dry? Will this stickyness go away after a couple years of playing? What's the real deal on this? Thanks.

    20180112_155830.
     
  2. Eric ER

    Eric ER

    Mar 22, 2015
    Seattle, wa
    Previous: Dusty Strings harp/dulcimer building
    I’ve used steel wool. You don’t need to do a whole lot, you’re just taking some gloss off the back to give a more satin-like feel. Nitro does cure and wear over time and the instrument will become more comfortable as the finish wears to your playing.
     
  3. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Daytona beach, Fl
    Nitro is as nitro does.
    The little goo balls are what drove me crazy
     
    Badwater likes this.
  4. jpmcbride

    jpmcbride

    Aug 31, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    How long does it take for the nitro finish to cure. Are we talking2-3 years?
     
  5. Eric ER

    Eric ER

    Mar 22, 2015
    Seattle, wa
    Previous: Dusty Strings harp/dulcimer building
    Technically, yes I suppose. Really, it’s more like several months. Your instrument is most likely cured unless it just came off the line.
     
  6. jpmcbride

    jpmcbride

    Aug 31, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    Its a 2016 floor model, but I don't know if it was actually out on the floor or in the case. I got it in late 2017. One clue is that the inside of the case had a really bad chemical smell when I opened it. Maybe it was kept in the case. Is that smell the nitro outgassing?
     
  7. Eric ER

    Eric ER

    Mar 22, 2015
    Seattle, wa
    Previous: Dusty Strings harp/dulcimer building
    It’s possible that it’s the nitro, but my guess is that it’s the case that smells, though I could be wrong. At this point, it should be done offgassing. When working with nitro, you have to wait for it to cure before wet sanding and polishing. If Gibson is using a different mix, that might be a bit different than the traditional period. I have a les paul special from around that time and “steel wooled” the neck to make it less sticky. I’ve also done that to my nitro finished guitars and basses that I sprayed myself. It gives a more satin feel and removes the grippy feel.
     
  8. jpmcbride

    jpmcbride

    Aug 31, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    How does it look after the steel wool? Can you tell a big difference between the neck where you "steel wooled" and the headstock and back that are stock?
     
  9. Eric ER

    Eric ER

    Mar 22, 2015
    Seattle, wa
    Previous: Dusty Strings harp/dulcimer building
    It looks a little bit more satin like compared to the headstock. It’s not a huge difference. You want to use very fine steel wool and you don’t need to take much off. You’re not really taking down the finish, just getting rid of the stickiness. I’m sure you could find pics online. I don’t want to suggest that you do it if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of it. It is a common practice but not everyone does it.
     
  10. Badwater

    Badwater

    Jan 12, 2017
    Nitro is what it is. And it's performance is based on the amount of humidity and moisture it comes into contact with. I played a lot of acoustics with Nitrocellulose finished, and they all get tacky with moisture. That's the nature of most nitro finishes on instruments. When rain gets on it, it will get tacky and turn white.

    This is why I prefer thick gloss polyurathane finishes on solid body guitars.
     
  11. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Jun 11, 2011
    NYC
    The reason people recommend Scotch Brite pads is the steel wool will generate tiny particles that can find their way to the pickup magnets and can be close to impossible to remove.
     
    Pilgrim and Eric ER like this.
  12. My Ric 4003 had a similar sticky neck. Got sticky after 20-30 mins of playing.
    I fixed it in two stages.
    First clean the neck with a clean wet sponge with a drop of washing up liquid. Give it a good old scrub. Rinse. Dry off with a cotton towel.
    Second, use Virtuoso Guitar Polish - rub in allow to dry, buff off. Repeat occasionally.
    Always wipe down the neck and strings after playing.
    This has completely cured the sticky problem and it also makes the JetGlo shine.
     
    RexxRokket and Pilgrim like this.

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