Jump to content

First Post: Help with my Neck!

Recommended Posts

Hey guys! I have been playing guitar for a long time, and only until the last few months have really started getting into custom making stuff. I am left handed, so it always made my guitar purchases difficult, and the only color I could work with was black.

Recently I have started buying warmoth projects people dont want, and putting together all my own stuff, making everything Frankenstein. My first Mexican Strat is undergoing the biggest transformation, and I have decided on a neck idea.

I don't like the Mexican gloss, or the contour they put on their necks. It just feels cheap for a fender. I just got in a Warmoth neck which was unfinished and had an Ibanez contour...my god it felt like gold. I sold it (it was right handed!), but now I want to emulate it with my mexican neck.

So the process is basically sanding off the gloss...then getting a template of the Ibanez Wizard back shape, and sanding down to the right dimensions.

I don't want to break into this without a little advice, or direction. By this I mean certain grits of sandpaper I should be using for each section, what I shouldn't do and what not. Any help would be TOTALLY appreciated. I will do it all by hand, I don't care if it takes me a few hours, this is a guitar I truly want to bring to life. My neck also has a skunk stripe, so whether that is a hassle or not. I am not sanding it down too much, just giving it more of a C-shape, and the same width as an Ibanez Wizard.

Also, I love the unfinished feel, and is one of my objectives, but I also understand the dangers of warpage and stuff. Is there a light oil I could treat it with, where you still get a very smooth feel, while protecting the wood a little?

Thanks guys, I can't wait to get my ass started in this forum, any Canadians here? :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks guys...so I guess the best route is to just give'r and go? I don't even want the exact wizard shape...just thinner, and faster. Plus I love the feel of an unfinished neck, so there are two objectives here.

Anyone go an idea on good sandpaper grits to use? I have 125, 220, 400, 600, 800, and 1500...so I know the last 3 will be good for finishing, but what should I use for shaping?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

for shaping I would use a lower grit, such as 80 or somthing, then clean up.. a lot. I think the finest grit you would have to use for unfinished** is around 320 or 400.

if you dont want to take a trip into town you should just use the 120 grit for shaping... just takes a little longer.

and with the small amount that you would be sanding off it wouldnt make much of a difference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks again. Because its my first job where I could potentially ruin something of value, using the 120 is fine by me. Good call on the steel wool, I have alot of #0000 lying around, and love it on my fretboard. I might put a real small amount of lemon oil on the neck when its done.

Well, I'm off to get it done now, wish me luck :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Given the small amount of wood being taken off, I'd not worry too much, but does anyone know if there might be an issue of removing too much wood from underneath the truss rod?

Absolutely, and not knowing how deep the truss rod slot was, then your really taking chances when you sand down much at all. My first neck was completely ruined when I went too far. The least amount of wood that can be between the bottom of the truss rod slot and the back of the neck is 1/8", seems that everyone agrees on this, even Stew Mac. But seeing that it's a Fender neck, my guess is that they used the standard truss rod, which should be ok. You might can contact someone at Fender and find out how far you can sand down. One thing that you should absolutely have if your gonna sand down, is a pair of calipers, digital preferably, so that you absolutely know at all times how far you've sanded. Good luck...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

if you dont have much to go, take the sand paper and cup it around your hand in the way its most comfortable for you and just go up and down the neck and thats how you get your perfect fit for YOUR hand

Just a suggestion


Link to comment
Share on other sites

if you dont have much to go, take the sand paper and cup it around your hand in the way its most comfortable for you and just go up and down the neck and thats how you get your perfect fit for YOUR hand

Hey, thats a great idea about the hand shaping. I think I will use a 320 grit or something and do that right at the end. Well...I got a set of calipers, and will go to work on that. I printed off my current neck template with the one I want to go for...I have like .100 to shave off down the neck. Based on the Mexican strats, the truss rod seems to be about 1/2" inside the neck, so it shouldn't be a problem.

If I have to spend $300 on a new custom warmoth neck, then so be it :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yeah mike, being canadian and left handed is the best, i would know, im both.

im building a left handed rhoads V (from scratch *gulp*) where did you guys get those wizard neck templates? thats one thing im not sure how to do, shape the neck, ill do it to my preference (a thin D shape) but how do you make it consistant throughout the entire neck?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whoo! Just finished....and it was a total success. metallisomething: thats sweet, a lefty Canadian is rare, but the best kind for sure. If you skateboard and smoke herb, then you are close to perfect in my books B)

Here is what I did:

1) Took a set of calipers and measured a few intervals. I got these readings:

Nut = 1.10"

1 Fret = 0.840"

5 Fret = 0.852"

9 Fret = 0.880"

12 Fret = 0.885"

2) Sanded off the satin finish with 220 grit paper. this thick white junk came off in mounds.

3) Slowly sanded down the area I wanted modified. This involved a flattening of the skunk stripe, more curved joint at the heel, and a fitted feel at the headstock (making chords like Am or E feel awesome) I also wanted a slightly assymetrical shape so it fit my hand better for a thumb-over type thing (like Hendrix I guess :D)

4) Used 80 grit the whole way through...I was suprised how long that took. I guess it took about 45 minutes and 10+ cautious reevaluations with the calipers.

5) Finished what I wanted to get done shape-wise, and took out the calpiers again:

Nut = 0.960" -.050" change

1 Fret = 0.785" -.055" change

5 Fret = 0.800" -.052" change

9 Fret = 0.825" -.055" change

12 Fret = 0.835" -.050" change

6) Sanded down with 220 grit, and then 400 grit to smooth out all the contours and give a great feel. Took the advice and used some #0000 steel wool!

That's basically it. Absolutely easy, and it made a shitty Mexican Strat neck into one I haven't felt on an American Deluxe strat. Best of all, its custom fitted for me. I wanted to keep a somewhat similar rise, so kept the change in size to around 0.050, and the way to check it was both calipers and simply eyeing it down. I kept the headstock, and the area where the neck it bolted in finished for protection, I think it looks pretty sweet.

Litchfield...I don't have tung oil, will Lemon Oil not work? I will leave it like it is until someone gives me the o.k. to treat it with that. I would imagine once a month would be suffient oil to keep it somewhat protected, and still silky smooth.

thanks for all the help though guys! And for reference, a Wizard neck is 0.735" at the first fret, and 0.810 at the 12th. I wanted an inbetween feel of Fender and Ibanez...I definately got it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

litchfield, thanks again. I'll hit the W-mart tomorrow and buy some of that oil.

Here is some uploaded photos of the neck job. I am so glad I don't have to spend a few hundred on a new neck for my frankenstrat. A simple sanding and shaping is all the little bugger needed!



Next task is to work on the headstock. I want to paint the front a gloss black (like my body), then redo a new logo that has the same silver fender, but have only the word STRATOCASTER in Silver and where it said 'made in mexico' have it say 'Mike Doyle' or something like that. Or just sand the satin finish off, remove the MIM and serial number, then put a black custom thing on there, then re-gloss it. Which do you think would look better?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The oil finish used by woodworkers for hundreds of years is linseed oil cut with turpentine or mineral spirits. I've used it on furniture before but never on guitars, but I can't see why it wouldn't work. It's cheap and easily obtained (you can get it at any paint or hardware store.)

It is, however kind of sticky, and doesn't smell as good as lemon or teak oil.

The thing to remember with any hand rubbed oil finish is that each coat of oil should be left to oxidize for 24 hours before you add another. (At least that's how it's done on furniture.) And it HAS to be in a reasonably warm temperature or it will NOT cure. The reason the replacement neck companies like Warmouth won't warranty anything with an oil finish is that most people don't apply enough coats. (Who wants to work on finishing a neck for thirty days?)

But in the old days before spray guns and poly finishes hand rubbed oil finishes were used to waterproof bar tops and the like, and they can develop a high gloss almost like lacquer.

God, I am just a font of useless information. . .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lemme put it this way: Looks fab. I am glad you are satified.

At walmart, pick up a can of black or grey sandable primer, duplicolor universal black, a rubber sanding block and some 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. Go with the black headstock to match the body. Make a decal for the headstock, and viola! New custom guitar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

that looks very smart and very clean. Congrats!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...