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Neck Finish, Etc.


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Hey! I have recently got it into my head to do some upgrades on my Squier Strat, and I was wondering if anyone could answer some of my questions about this neck and necks in general. First of all, I have the basic black Strat with a rosewood fretboard. (Oh, and keep in mind that I have only a very basic and vague knowledge of the make-up of electric guitars). Now my questions:

1. There are some spots on my neck and head stock that feel like they could do with some sanding. Also, the grain of the fretboard is noticable. A) can I sand these spots down and B) how would I re-finish this?

2. What kind of finish is on there now? It's not shiny so it's probably a satin finish of some sort. Is the rosewood fretboard stained? i.e. if I sand it, will that stain (color) come off?

3. The fret markers on the side are generally not inlaid/embedded, correct? They're just painted on?

Basically, I want to know how to make my neck better than new. Without buying a new one. Is that possible?

Edited by pladams9
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Well, yes I meant better looks-wise. And to-the-touch-wise. Really all I want is for my neck to look good, and feel smooth, but I don't want to hurt it in the process - seeing how I don't have any experience or fore-knowledge on the subject. I just want to fix it up a little while I'm repainting the body anyway.

Edited by pladams9
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Well,I don't know what you can do looks-wise, but for feel there are a couple of things.

You'll need some lemon oil, steel wool, and tape (like a painters type...).

Start by taping off the fretboard, leaving the frets exposed. You can do this a couple of frets at a time...

Take the steel wool, and give your frets a nice polish.

Keep working up the neck, moving the tape as you go.

(the tape is there to make sure you only get the frets, and not the wood.)

And while you have the steel wool out, give the back of the neck a little rub too.

That will give it a nice, smooth feel.

Now you can move on to the fingerboard.

Take the lemon oil, and wipe down the wood.

It doesn't take much, so don't soak it...

Rub it in, and make sure you actually remove as much a possible.

In the end, your fingerboard will look as new, the frets will be slick, and the neck will feel smooth....

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Thanks for the tips! Just as a double check: Do I have to put any kind of finish on the neck after I rub it down with the steel wool? 'Cuz when I do, a small amount of white dust comes off on the wool, making me think that there is something on there already. The lemon oil is only for the fretboard, right?

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I have no idea. I have one pad that's been sitting in my craft box for awhile and the package is long gone I believe. As far as I know its just everyday, plain-'ol steel wool. I'm nearly 100% sure that what is coming off is not wood particles of any sort. I got a similar dust from the lacquer on the body when swiped the steel wool across that.

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That white dust is the polyester clear coat that you're removing, its not wood. Depending on your grade of steel wool it would take you years to get to the wood. Make sure you have 0000 and it will smooth down nicely (remove any dirt on the back first though...some of the "poor feel" could just be accumulated skin oils & whatnot).

The side dots probably are inlaid and won't come off with steel wool.

The grain of the fretboard is in the wood (not stain), that won't come off either.

Do you know what it is you want the neck to look like? Because none of this will change the overall appearance of the neck at all.

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Well, I'm not really trying to change its look; I'm happy with that. I just have this belief that smooth things are better than un-smooth things (but obviuosly not sound- or quality-wise) and I might as well work on the neck right now since it's not attached to the body. Thanks again for all the info, you guys!

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