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Thread: Gibson A4 with no finish left on neck.

  1. #1

    Default Gibson A4 with no finish left on neck.

    My A4 has absolutely no finish left on the neck (there is a little bit left at the heel). I'm pretty sure it is from many years of the previous owner(s) playing the heck out of the thing! The bare wood is dirty...I'm a bit worried about protecting it for the next 100 or so years, but I'm afraid to mess with it as it is entirely original except for the fingerboard and a recent refret. Any advice would be most appreciated. Many thanks.

  2. #2
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A4 with no finish left on neck.

    Since it's dirty, if I were in your sneakers I'd clean it up and polish it, and that's about all I'd do to it. There are probably dozens of ways to accomplish that. I'd use 4/0 steel wool with a little solvent (mild detergent solution, or denatured alcohol, or naphtha, etc.) and gently clean away the grime. some solvents can harm other finish areas if you're not careful, and of course steel wool is abrasive, just a warning. This is how I would do it, not recommending this as the best way for someone else to do it.

    Once it is cleaned well, it can be sanded a bit if necessary using maybe 320 to 400 grit paper to feather things out a bit. Then, you can keep the bare wood look. I'd apply paste wax (non-silicone wax) and buff - or refinish it, in which case I prefer spraying lacquer.

    A lot of people purposely sand away the finish on a neck to make what they like to call a "speed neck" and that's probably what happened in that instrument's history.
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  3. #3
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A4 with no finish left on neck.

    Welcome to the forum, let.the.girl.play!
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    HEY! The Cafe has Social Groups, check 'em out. I'm in these groups:
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Gibson A4 with no finish left on neck.

    Ditto, I just wouldn't use anything rougher than 600 grit sandpaper. Personally I would use 3500 grit Micro-Mesh, which is similar to steel wool, but won't leave little specks of steel dust everywhere.

  5. #5
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A4 with no finish left on neck.

    ...And one more opinion...
    I'd use fine (gray) Scotchbrite rather than steel wool and I would use no sandpaper. Once the neck is cleaned (it doesn't have to be spotlessly clean, and besides, that can't happen without removing some wood) you can apply some wax, as mentioned, or you can apply a very little oil finish (like Truoil), or... just leave the bare wood.

  6. #6
    Registered User Greg Mirken's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A4 with no finish left on neck.

    As John suggests, Scotchbrite does work very well for this. Either naphtha or mineral spirits are safe and good at lifting the oily dirt out of the wood. Don't use alcohol or a more aggressive solvent.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Gibson A4 with no finish left on neck.

    Thanks to all for the great suggestions. I love the Cafe!

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  9. #8
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A4 with no finish left on neck.

    boiled linseed oil is an appropriate sealer.

    Lighter fluid (the kind for zippo lighters) is an appropriate cleaner.

    Just some of the stuff I've used and that's worked.

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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