Upgrading neck without swapping

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by OOD, Jul 31, 2021.

  1. OOD


    Jul 29, 2009
    I have an Affinity jazz that I love, one of the best basses I’ve ever had. I got lucky with a pretty decent Affinity. Since I got my Fender Ultra jazz I’m not as impressed, but the Affinity has sentimental value to me.

    What can I do to improve the feel of the neck? I know I can set it up well, but what else will improve it? I plan to keep it as a back up and want to enjoy playing it as much as possible. I don’t really want to swap the neck and risk throwing off the balance.
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  2. What, exactly, is it about the neck that you don’t like and want to improve? “Better feel” will be different for everyone.
  3. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    What is it about the neck that you find lacking? What is it that you are concerned about losing if you swap out the neck? Is it the weight you are talking about when you say “balance?”
  4. OOD


    Jul 29, 2009
    it’s hard to describe but I would say it has to do with how smoothly my hand moves around. I don’t know if that has to do with the back of the neck, the fretboard or both. The neck shape seems to be the same.

    yeah I’m talking about weight. It’s very light and I want it to hang on the strap the same way. I would also be fine with the mass being centered more at my torso, just not less. Being that it’s so light I think my chances of getting a light enough neck will be slim. I’ve also heard that most of the higher quality necks won’t be as good a fit for a squier like they are on a Fender.
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Here's a neat trick I swiped from @walterw : Wet-sand the back of the neck w/ 1500 grit sandpaper & mineral oil. Remove the residue / spoil with naptha.

  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i've thinned necks (front to back), slightly re-shaped profiles, and narrowed the neck (width of the fingerboard from nut to heel edit: done by a luthier). in my case i was dealing with necks that were slightly chunkier than i wanted so i removed material in the various dimensions. it's possible that you could make the affinity neck more closely resemble the ultra neck. a luthier could do a bang-up job! ;)

    your necks feel the same to you, but you might take some measurements to objectify that. slight differences can really change a feel from 'meh' to preferred.

    that may not even be what you're needing, OP, i was just throwing it out there! good luck with your neck 'upgrades'! :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2021
    4SG, EatS1stBassist and OOD like this.
  7. OOD


    Jul 29, 2009
    So wet sand, dry, then apply naptha as a sort of finish? I’m guessing it will rub off since it’s basically lighter fluid?
  8. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Naptha will evaporate off immediately. Either leave the neck bare or put on a light oil finish to keep the satiny feel.
    bdplaid, EatS1stBassist and OOD like this.

  9. I believe he’s saying to use the naptha to clean up after wet sanding. Naptha is a solvent not a finish. That would work if you have a gloss finished neck and want to knock it back to more of a matte finish which some people like on a neck.
    Gothic, OOD and Gilmourisgod like this.
  10. RichterScale


    Feb 21, 2021
    I believe the naptha is just to clean off all the sanding dust/residue, then evaporates, leaving no residue itself. Similar to alcohol.
    OOD and Gilmourisgod like this.
  11. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Use the naptha to clean-off the neck as you proceed. Sanding of any type produces grit (or "spoil") which will gum-up the works.

    OOD and Gilmourisgod like this.
  12. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Naptha takes any skin oil or other gunk off nicely too, and doesn’t make the wood swell if you get it in openings like screw holes, unlike any water based cleaner. It’s also violently flammable, of course……..so…. a bit of care and common sense. Outdoors, good ventilation.
    mikewalker and OOD like this.
  13. keith rosier

    keith rosier Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    Southern California
    Some will hit the back of the neck with some #0000 steel wool just to smooth it out.
    bdplaid likes this.
  14. N4860


    Mar 28, 2017
    This works too, but just be careful about the metal flakes from the steel wool getting in the pickups. Best to either take the neck off or tape around the electronics very well with painters tape.
    Max Bogosity and keith rosier like this.
  15. OOD


    Jul 29, 2009
    I don’t have a way to measure at the moment but it looks like the neck may actually be thicker than I thought. Might just need to sand to the desired thickness.
  16. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Scotch-brite pads are a better option, IMO.
  17. lark_z

    lark_z Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2020
    Dry sand the back of the neck with 1000, 1500, 2000 grit sandpaper (auto parts store). It's not going to remove enough finish that you need to worry that it's bare wood, but it will really feel better.
  18. N4860


    Mar 28, 2017
    I've heard that as well, just never personally had the chance to try it yet. Is it a specific grit of scotch-brite, or just the normal green ones?
  19. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    I've used green and yellow for other woodworking jobs. Maybe someone who has some direct experience with neck finishes can answer better.
    N4860 likes this.
  20. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Suspended Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    Knock the finish off the back of the neck with a grey 3M pad, finish it with several coats of Tro-Oil, get a fret level job with the rolled edges, bone nut and better tuners done...
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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