I need help anyone no what kind of finish for a fast neck action

I am building a guitar for a customer and he don't want Laquer on tha neck because when you sweat it gets sticky.       Any one know  what to use? Thanks for any help you can give me. Bill.'''''''''''

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Hi Bill- any guitar that I build from scratch gets about 6 spit coats of shellac and rubed out with steel wool #0000

after that I use a cotton buffung wheel to bring up some sort of shine and thats it... best to you on your build...

Peace-- Donald 

Thanks Donald I never did like the thought of Oil on any Instrument.Maybe I should just let the customer  read all these replys and let him do the desiding. I just hate it when a customer wants to change to something I DO NOT LIKE.Or under stand. Thanks to  each one of you fine Luthiers for taking the time to try and help me out on this one.

that sounds like a gr8 idea- I let my clients deside most things that the build is about---

   Peace- Donald

In my experience, cabinet grade oil finishes don't really ever get hard. I remember when "Danish" oils came into vogue, my father did experimented with them a lot in our shop. He put some in a small glass, about an inch or so, that we left exposed to see how it hardened. It didn't. It was always rubbery, even years later. I don't think they are intended to harden like instrument finishes need to do.  I can tell you from experience that they do penetrate but they don't ever get really hard. 



I know a guy in Winnipeg that  strips factory Strat and Tele necks down to wood, then heats 100% bee's wax and heavily buffs it in, as he heats the back of the neck with a hair dryer. I saw one of the necks recently, that he had been  done about 14 years ago, it was in amazing shape. The owner told me that all he has to do to keep it up, is spend about a minute every two years polishing the back of the neck with 0000 steel wool. He also said that it is a stable neck and does not seem to absorb humidity, so it's like a lacquer neck that way.It is a SUPER fast feeling neck. I have no opinion on whether the wax thing is a bad thing for the wood. Is it good or bad Frank?


Whats the wood type?

I have been told that PRS apply shellac on their raw Brazilan Rosewood necks, then sand it off. They do this to keep the "Fuzzies" down.

Aswell, I have been told, one could use pool cue stabilizer/polymer, but this one is a little out there. I not sure if anyone is doing this.

Cris it is a Mahogany neck.

As best I know Martin was using a nitrocellulose finish in 1979 when my D-25K was built and in the 21 years I've had it it's played more outside than inside - and this is the Central Appalachian Mountains - not S CA - often described as a "temperate rain forest."  And I've never had any problems with sticky finish as long as I took a tad or rubbing alcohol - or those alcohol based "towelettes" - and wiped the neck every few months or so.  Now at this point I have some finish erosion (simple wear) around the first few frets and a nice worn spot on the table as I play loud, hard, and with a extra-heavy nitrocellulose pick (the "Willie Nelson" effect) but that's what you have to do to be heard by a couple of hundred people around a large bonfire far, far from electricity.  I've also played many, many hours under a trap or circus tent or old parachute with it pouring rain outside.


Has your customer ever tried first washing his hands thoroughly, then rinsing in rubbing alcohol, then "drying" the skin with corn starch?  After wiping the CS off he should easily get an hour or two of playing and the last two steps can be repeated in less than a minute. And there is a produce available in "health foods" stores called "Thai stones" (not a natural stone in my opinion) that consists of metal, probably aluminum, salts made for drying sweaty underarms - works like a styptic pencil for those who know what that is on sweat (anyone besides me here that shaves with a mug a brush?).  Some of us just have sweat that gets sticky but I've always accomodated my playing style to the instrument I have available - when I was learning to play good amps and brand name guitars were expensive and this isn't an affluent part of the country even to this day (and unfortunately the major manufactureres are having a "race to the bottom" despite the increasing affluence of the population in real dollars and real wealth).  So it's easy to eliminate the sticky sweat "problem" without calling in Watson, Crick, Jeckyll, Hyde, and Frankenstein!


That's a really good point, Rob. I have sweaty hands and keep a rag in the cases just to wipe down the neck periodically. It's worth finding out if the client is looking for a new finish without considering that it's his hands, not the neck.


Playing an outdoor gig a few years ago, I was having my hand stopping like a brake was applied when I tried to slide up and down the neck...I found myself wishing I had some of that old " finger ease " we used to have....It was a chicken BBQ, and a light bulb went off in my head....After a set, I went and got a piece of chicken skin off a breast, and rubbed it on the neck...ZOOM !...It was slicker than monkey snot !...Too slick, but I wiped it with a clean towel and it was just right...At a gig outdoors a couple years later, our keyboard player was having the same type problem with condensation on his keys...I told him the chicken skin trick, and he used it on his keys...Worked for him as well....I know this has nothing to do with the problem, but I thought it would be nice to share...

So you employed the Bubba solution.  Quick thinking (:


Just out of curiosity, how did the instruments smell after a couple of days?


And....they still make Finger Ease.  Smells better than chicken but tastes nothing like it.


Thanks for the humorous post.  It was a 50/50 split between laughing out loud and cringing.

I've always wondered how someone mastered "chickin' pickin."  Sorry, can't help myself.



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