Speed Neck on a Guitar?

MandobartMandobart ✭✭ Mandolin, Octave Mandolin, Mandocello, Fiddles
Most all bowed instruments (violin, cello, etc.) have an unfinished neck. You treat the neck a few times a year with tung or linseed oil, let it sit overnight, then buff out. It leaves a very smooth satin finish. I did the same thing to my mandolins and octave mando and love the result there. Bluegrass players call this a "speed neck" and to me it works better than a glossy finish that can sometimes stick to sweaty hands. Anyway, I've never seen this on a guitar. Obviously removing the finish on the neck will affect the guitar's value no matter how well the player likes the result. Anyone ever do this to their guitar? My Altamira gets nervous when I pull out the 0000 steel wool and ultra fine sandpaper.....Don't try to oil anything that has some other type of finish on it, you'll end up with a gummy mess.


  • JSantaJSanta NY✭✭✭ Dupont, Gaffiero, AJL
    Posts: 262
    A lot of guys have this done on solidbody guitars. The John Petrucci model EB has a gunstock oil finished neck, and so does the Zakk Wylde LP. Carvin guitars also has the option to have tung oiled necks.
  • MatteoMatteo Sweden✭✭✭✭ JWC Modele Jazz, Lottonen "Selmer-Maccaferri"
    Posts: 393
    My Maccaferri style guitar has a neck like that; unfinished. Very comfortable.
  • Al WatskyAl Watsky New JerseyVirtuoso
    Posts: 440
    Some 0000 wool is OK on the finish to take the glaze off if you like that feel. No need to go through the finish to the wood .
    Just deglaze it with 800 grit wet or dry and then go over it with finishing wool. Your good to go.
    If you go down to the bare wood it usually gets dirty, so on a maple neck it begins to be unsightly. On other woods its less obvious.
    Its not really necessary unless your finish is poly. On nitro or varnish the finish is soft enough for the right feel.
    On bowed instruments this is not bare wood, its usually a combination of alcohol based shellac and mineral oil. That makes a soft water resistant finish that still protects the wood from water vapor.
  • MatteoMatteo Sweden✭✭✭✭ JWC Modele Jazz, Lottonen "Selmer-Maccaferri"
    Posts: 393
    On bowed instruments this is not bare wood, its usually a combination of alcohol based shellac and mineral oil. That makes a soft water resistant finish that still protects the wood from water vapor.

    Interesting; it could be something like that on my guitar too. To my untrained eyes it just looks "unfinished".
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    I have a couple of "faded" Gibsons (LP and SG), which are made without the gloss finish. Not only do they seem to resonate better, but once the somewhat rough finish on the neck wears smooth from use, they feel wonderful. I think they are the same result as what the always wise Al Watsky suggested you could do. Just take the gloss off, but not the finish, and you have the best of both worlds.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    Totally different route to the topic.
    The only seriously troubling situation for me is playing when its hot and muggy. Any neck gets sticky to the point of being hard to play at all. My classical friend said to get baby powder. I did. It really works.
    The reason it might belong in this thread is I play a gloss, matt, and bondo?-not wood neck. All get sticky, and each is totally freed up with the baby powder.
    It always seemed like a naked wood neck (though it'll get ugly) would be best, but strangely I don't think I've ever played one.
    Gloss seems the most sticky by a good margin. I'd do what Michael and Al are suggesting if I wasn't happy with the powder.
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • kevingcoxkevingcox Nova Scotia✭✭✭✭ Dupont MD50
    Posts: 298
    I am curious about the baby powder. Living on the coast things tend to get hot and humid... do you just rub some on your hands or do you spread it on the neck? Could it stain or does it leave a nasty residue?
  • Better to use unscented talc if one is going down that road.

    Most of my guitars have either been made with tung oil/ linseed oil based neck finish or converted to it. I have not found any need for anything beyond that, but I do have dry hands.

    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    edited May 2014 Posts: 476
    Not much residue. It's inert? non-staining. If the neck is already sticky I put some there too, but just start with my palms and base of the fingers. What touches the back of the neck.
    I'll put it on top if its sticky.
    It feels pretty slick. Just eliminates friction beyond the natural point of a dry neck and dry hands, but you adapt real quick. It's not crazy. It's powder, but I'm not so conscious of how it looks nor do I think its going damage anything or even stick at all. You can just wipe it off like dust when your done, if you choose.

    I could be wrong. I'm not spreading science. There may be a down side and I just don't know. I got the impression from my classical friend that its common enough in that community.
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
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