#163788  by PaulJay
 Sat Dec 15, 2018 5:12 pm
Hey would like to know thoughts on sanding the gloss to more of a satin finish on the back of a strat neck. My guitar is a Greco ‘78 strat
and still has a very glossy finish on the back of the neck. Has anyone done this to achieve better playability? Thanks
 #163791  by HeadSpace
 Sat Dec 15, 2018 6:42 pm
Inspired by a Youtube video, I recently did it to an American Standard Strat and really like it a lot.

Used very fine sandpaper, like 1200 grit,. and worked very conservatively and gradually, just taking the "sticky" shine off and making it feel extremely smooth. Some people go so far as to take off the entire finish and then reseal the wood with some kind of oil, but I was reluctant to take it that far.

I say start mellow, play it for a while, see how you like it and sand more if the mood strikes.
 #163793  by Jon S.
 Sat Dec 15, 2018 9:13 pm
Do not use sandpaper - at least not at first. Use something like a 3M Scotch Brite pad. Tape off the neck at the top and bottom for professional looking boundaries. And don't aim to "remove the gloss," just to rough it up. Only if this doesn't do it for you should you move to literally sanding off the finish.

I do it this way to most of my guitars. For example, here's my Philtone Jerrycaster's neck. You can see the difference between the roughed up and stock finish areas on the neck and headstock.

Image
 #163795  by milobender
 Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:11 am
Actually, yes, you do "aim to remove the gloss"; the gloss is what feels sticky. The smoother a surface is, usually, the higher it's co-efficient of friction, the stickier it feels. If you don't remove the gloss, you haven't changed the problem. I would start with 1200 grit, or close, too. But I wouldn't use regular sandpaper. You can get MicroMesh 'sandpaper' and start at 1800 grit, it's flexible and cushioned so it won't 'dig' in. Check out ebay, it's expensive, but you can get it by the piece and it'll be worth it to you. There's a lot of country between 1200 grit and 'removing the finish'.
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 #163796  by Jon S.
 Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:56 am
I won't contradict a skilled luthier! But let me offer a quick semantics clarification for myself: roughing up the finish of course removes some matter from it. My recommendation remains, however, to approach the task mentally aiming not to "remove" but rather just "rough up." Why? Because it's too easy to take off too much the first time around, especially for someone trying it for the first time, and finish is easily removable but not simply restorable. Whatever you do, unless if its your first time, proceed slowly! I recommended what I did because it has worked in practice multiple times for me. But I'd never suggest other methods don't also work or suggest those other methods couldn't be faster or better because I wouldn't know that from personal experience. Just don't use 0000 steel wool, as some will recommend, unless you are super careful taping off anything filings could fall into or stick to.
Last edited by Jon S. on Sun Dec 16, 2018 9:14 am, edited 4 times in total.
 #163797  by Jon S.
 Sun Dec 16, 2018 9:04 am
Exhibit 2 for my method: the entire body of my '99 Fender '52 RI Tele. I didn't like the shiny gloss on it, either, so my own luthier/tech and I pulled off all of the guard and all its hardware and applied some of the Scotch Brite magic (we also did the back of its neck but that isn't visible in the pic, of course). What do y'all think?

Image
 #163801  by Jon S.
 Sun Dec 16, 2018 9:44 am
Thanks.

I flipped the controls after taking some lessons from Bill Kirchen, in 2004, through the now-defunct National Guitar Workshop. Many of us have long used our pinkies and volume knobs for swells (I do it routinely, with a rotary speaker effect, to simulate an organ with my guitar) but Bill, for his unique "dieselbilly" tones, uses both his pinky and ring finger on both his volume and tone knobs simultaneously. So I started doing it, too. Try it sometime, you can get a nice faux Doppler effect that way!

The neck PUP is a Harmonic Design Vintage Plus. It's maker describes it this way on his website (his words!): "These pickups are based on a mini P-90 design to eliminate the weak point in the Tele sound, the neck and middle positions, by producing a bigger, harmonically responsive tone that has way more output, deeper bass and clearer treble than any of them sissy next-to-useless stock pickups"
 #163802  by augustwest1
 Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:12 am
I sanded the back of the neck on the last wolf I built. I love how the satin finish feels.

I'd probably start with 1800 as Brian suggested, but you might find it leaves too glossy a surface. I did mine with 1200 and think that's as fine as I would go. I'd also suggest wet sanding, using naptha as a lubricant.

I wouldn't tape off anything. You can go right to the body on the bridge end, and I'd try blending in the tow finishes at the headstock -- that isn't as noticeable as an abrupt tape line from one finish to the other.
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 #163803  by Jon S.
 Sun Dec 16, 2018 12:29 pm
The point of a tape line, of course, is specifically to make it look deliberate. Some think it looks professional, including my own luthier/tech and me. Agree it's unnecessary on the body end (on my guitars, in fact, we roughed it up all the way down to the body as the first pic shows so we're really talking only about the headstock end now). I'm so far in the minority on this call here but in the end, OP, only your opinion matters for your guitar. Best of luck with it.
 #163808  by PaulJay
 Sun Dec 16, 2018 2:42 pm
I feel that using tape you are being more precise. Without it you might go a bit to far on to the head stock. If I had your Tiger I would have been quite nervous attempting the process. I guess it would be personal preference in how you want it. I think it is worth the results,
so I will be doing it. And it is one mod that doesn’t cost that much. :-)