Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 53

Thread: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    512

    Default Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    I have a very nice higher end mandolin--29 years old-- and a friend put a bug in my ear the other day, saying I should make the neck on my mandolin a speed neck. Now I hadn't thought about it before and I don't really have an issue with the finished neck as is. My friend has a great mandolin and he had the finish sanded off on his which I like. My question is how does a modification like a speed neck affect the value of a mandolin? Would it make any difference if the original builder did the work?

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Helena, Montana
    Posts
    2,872

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    I would think it would be a 30-40% reduction in value. I have done it to my Weber Yellowstone, but then I never plan on selling it.

  3. The following members say thank you to George R. Lane for this post:


  4. #3

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    I wouldn't mess with it. You say you "don't really have an issue with the finished neck as is". Why bother?

    But... if you really feel the need to speed up the neck, some 00 steel wool will do the trick without removing all of the finish.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

  5. #4
    Registered User Drew Streip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN
    Posts
    305
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by George R. Lane View Post
    I would think it would be a 30-40% reduction in value. I have done it to my Weber Yellowstone, but then I never plan on selling it.
    That seems excessive to me. Would a $20K Gilchrist suddenly be worth only $12-14K? If so, Iím in the market for a speednecked Gilchrist!

    Iíd put it at more like 10% if itís done by anybody whoís half competent. For most people it doesnít have any negative impact on playability. And it shouldnít have any effect on tone. AND itís on the back of the instrument.

    Now maybe on a lower priced Eastman and the amateur owner sanded with 80 grit and changed the neck profile....

  6. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Drew Streip For This Useful Post:


  7. #5
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    5,141

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    Shouldn’t have any effect on value. Mandolins are built all the time with speed necks. They aren’t worth less than finished neck counterparts. It if you don’t care that much I’d leave it alone.

  8. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to sgarrity For This Useful Post:


  9. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Va
    Posts
    2,258

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    I wouldn't mess with it. You say you "don't really have an issue with the finished neck as is". Why bother? But... if you really feel the need to speed up the neck, some 00 steel wool will do the trick without removing all of the finish.
    I've played many mandolins with all kinds of finishes, and a couple with " speed necks". I have determined that the speed is in your hand,not in the neck. As far as I'm concerned it's just a fad, does not allow faster noting. Yes I know most fiddles and violins have no finish on the back of the neck but your noting hand is supporting to some extent the neck and the additional weight may create some drag. I don't play fiddle well enough to know. The finish on a large portion of the neck of my Dearstone has been worn off playing it. I don't worry about it, would never try to refinish it but I would never sand the finish off. That's my 2 cents worth.

  10. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Mandoplumb For This Useful Post:


  11. #7
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    22,753
    Blog Entries
    51

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    How much would it decrease the value? Why? Do you plan to sell it? I would say if it is a well known named builder, and if you can't get the builder to do it, then you should only get it done if you plan to keep it.

    I never sell my instruments. They are mine to keep. And do with as I please. I do not let some hypothetical buyer at some hypothetical price in some hypothetical future limit what I want to do to and with my instruments today.

    I have a Lou Stiver that came to me speed necked. I absolutely love it. It really encourages me to fly up the neck and shift all over the place. I might not have thought to do it, yet i certainly will never un-do it.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  12. The following members say thank you to JeffD for this post:


  13. #8

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    Hey, this train has come around again! Choo choo!

    As is usually determined via plenty of discussion is that a speed neck lowers the perceived value only for the small subset of potential buyers who are dead set against them. It has no effect on actual value for those who either don't care or prefer speed necks.

    This is easily observed by perpetual watchers of the Cafe classifieds, as so many of us are. Actual finish damage like pinky wear or dings/scratches have a definite impact on the asking price while speed neck mandos are not any cheaper vis-a-vis non-speed when all other specs are identical. I've even seen where the luthier responsible for the modification (e.g. the Dude) was used as a major selling point.

    C.
    Northfield F5S Amber #347 - 'Squeeze'
    Flatiron 1N Pancake - Not just for breakfast
    Kentucky KM-270 - Not just for whisky
    Epiphone Mandobird IV - Djangly
    Lanikai LB6-S Banjolele (tuned GDAE) - Plinky and the brain

  14. The following members say thank you to Chris Daniels for this post:


  15. #9
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Manchester - Lancashire - NW England
    Posts
    14,010

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    If the neck isn't causing any problems - why mess with it at all ?. My 'used' Ellis came with a 'speed neck' & i don't know who did it.
    The only problem that i had with it,was the dinner plate sized strap pin screwed into the neck,which had damaged the finish & looks far worse than the speed neck !,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

  16. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,459

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    A varnished neck in a hot humid environment gets sticky and slows down playing or makes is very hard. A speed neck will solve this problem. Lacquer is not as bad, but still has the same problem. I didn't put a speed neck on my mandolin, but like mandoplumb I have worn my neck almost to that point. Is my mandolin worth less because of that wear, maybe, but the pleasure of playing it so much is totally worth any decrease in value should I ever decide to sell it. The quality of sound from so much playing most likely makes up for the loss of finish.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  17. #11
    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Frederick,MD
    Posts
    2,215

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    I wish I played well and fast enough for a speed neck to make any difference at all.Then again, I play mostly Irish music which is generally down in the low frets without much sliding up the neck.
    For wooden musical fun that doesn't involve strumming, check out:
    www.busmanwhistles.com
    Handcrafted pennywhistles in exotic hardwoods.

  18. #12
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    4,700

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    Just joining the chorus here, or at least part of it. A "speed neck" (I really dislike that term) doesn't automatically lower the value of the instrument on resale. What it does is slightly reduce the pool of potential buyers, because there are a few who just refuse to buy anything with a stripped neck. This may, or may not, eventually lead to the seller reducing the price if the mandolin doesn't sell quickly enough.

    I don't think it makes me play any faster, but I do like the look and the feel under my hand. So I stripped the neck on my Lebeda F5. I waited long enough to make sure this mandolin was a "keeper," but in the greater scheme of things, it's not a well-known name that will hold value as well as some other makes. So I figure it's a wash, and I can enjoy the feel of the neck.

    I would buy a used instrument with a stripped neck as long as it wasn't a total hack job. I do have a preference for stripping that's feathered into the finish at each end, and looks like natural wear instead of a hard cut-off. But it still wouldn't be enough to kill a sale. YMMV.

  19. #13

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    Because a picture is worth a thousand words...here's my two thousand words on the subject

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	F-12Neck.JPG 
Views:	81 
Size:	210.1 KB 
ID:	165537Click image for larger version. 

Name:	F-12NeckNow.j.JPG 
Views:	86 
Size:	38.4 KB 
ID:	165538
    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  20. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Pacific NW, slightly outside BC
    Posts
    539

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    You can detack a sticky summer neck somewhat unobtrusively with 0000 steel wool, or if that is still too tacky, 000, just do very light circular motion so you don't leave scratches, then buff with a course cloth. So you're removing almost no finish
    The Keepers: Kentucky km900, JBovier A5
    Yamaha piano, clarinet, violin
    some really really loud banjo's

    Shopping/monitoring prices: Yamaha brass and woodwinds

  21. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    505

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    Lenf12, those speed necks look to have some kind of finish on them. This is how I would want one, to protect the wood and keep dirt and grime from getting into the pores of the wood. A little finish is a good thing.

  22. #16

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by gtani7 View Post
    You can detack a sticky summer neck somewhat unobtrusively with 0000 steel wool, or if that is still too tacky, 000...
    Looks like I left out a '0' or two on my earlier post. Whatever the number of zeros, you want the fine stuff. It works very well to reduce friction.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

  23. #17

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    I've got a solution for all you wanting the feel of a speed neck without sanding the finish. Send them to me. I'll play the heck out of them until the finish wears off. Act quick because I can only do two at a time. You can expect to take delivery in ten to fifteen years. Gilchrist and Ellis mandolins will take precedence.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  24. The following members say thank you to Br1ck for this post:


  25. #18
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    22,753
    Blog Entries
    51

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    I think an interesting question: is there anyone that would not want rather play a speed neck? I don't mean the preservation of the original luthier's intent. I mean, for example, if a Collings mandolin came out in two models, the only difference being one was speed necked and the other was not, both as handsome a mandolin as you could want - and the prices the same, would anyone forgo the speed neck in favor of the finished neck? I wouldn't.

    It doesn't make a huge huge difference, and I probably wouldn't pay a premium for it, and I don't have the hand skills to do it myself, but I do like it.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  26. #19
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Blue Zone, California
    Posts
    926

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    Last year I had an opportunity to have a well known luthier (Austin Clark) work on my main playing mandolin.

    The original frets were badly worn, so I had the frets replaced with "banjo-width" evo gold frets.

    I also had wanted the neck profile changed from a pretty sharp V-profile to a C-profile, and since I had already worn most of the color coat of finish off the back of the neck, while the profile work was being done I also had the neck speed necked.

    Austin applied a clear french polish coat over the back of the neck after doing the profile and speed neck work, so it is still very nicely sealed. He also did a setup, including replacing the nut, on the instrument.

    Austin did great work and I am much more happy with this mandolin now.

    Interestingly, I never considered what this work might do to reduce the value of this mandolin. I just wanted it fixed up so I could play it more easily and so it would sound better. For the same reason I had previously added a pickguard, an armrest and a ToneGard to this mandolin. I suppose it could be said that this all goes toward making the instrument mine.

    Now granted, mine is not an extremely valuable vintage mandolin. But all instruments eventually need some kind of work. Related to that, I'd say the quality of the work determines whether the value of the instrument goes up or down.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	0809171243a.jpg 
Views:	54 
Size:	1.36 MB 
ID:	165546 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	0809171243.jpg 
Views:	54 
Size:	960.9 KB 
ID:	165547
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002
    Gibson F-9
    2016 "$199.00 solid F style" MKLFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)

  27. #20

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    I speed necked my MK 199.00. Did I destroy it's collector value?
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  28. #21
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    25,429

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    I am having a slow neck installed on one of my mandolins so I can play waltzes and mazurkas.

    Sign me up for the list of those who are not fond of the term. I think it may originally derive from the electric guitar world. A quick search found references to the Jackson Speed Neck which is a different shape on a guitar that (I suppose) that allows for over 100 mph shredding at volume 11, etc.

    Personally I have no mandolins that have that feature and may have played one or two that did have it but never really noticed. Then again, perhaps I have never broke the sound barrier on the mandolin, so never really needed one.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes - Old Sheet Music for mandolin

    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- Gibson TB-Junior -- National RM-1

  29. The following members say thank you to Jim Garber for this post:


  30. #22
    Registered User mandomurph's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Los Altos, California
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by Hudmister View Post
    Lenf12, those speed necks look to have some kind of finish on them. This is how I would want one, to protect the wood and keep dirt and grime from getting into the pores of the wood. A little finish is a good thing.
    Gunstock oil works well. That's what I have on mine. Not sticky. No shine.
    mandomurph

    Joyful pickin'!

  31. #23
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Helena, Montana
    Posts
    2,872

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    I prefer the term Naked Neck.

  32. #24
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Redwood City, CA
    Posts
    1,861

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    ...Sign me up for the list of those who are not fond of the term. I think it may originally derive from the electric guitar world. A quick search found references to the Jackson Speed Neck which is a different shape on a guitar that (I suppose) that allows for over 100 mph shredding at volume 11, etc.
    Actually, Jim, long before electric guitars (or ANY guitars, for that matter) were invented, all violins had "speed necks" with no varnish on the back part of the neck. And they still don't have varnish on them, to this day. If I am not mistaken, the violin is what inspired the concept of a "speed neck" on the modern mandolin. The violin design also inspired mandolins with carved backs and tops (Orville Gibson and others), with f-holes and a raised fingerboard (Lloyd Loar), and even with a scroll (F4 and F5 designs).

    I don't think a speed neck will affect the resale of any mandolin that isn't already considered a rare collector's item, like a 1922-1924 vintage Loar-signed F5. And even then, finish could be re-applied to the neck, so unless the instrument were in otherwise pristine shape (and most existing Loars aren't that way!), then any drop in price would be a tiny fraction of the overall cost.

    If a speed neck is something you know you like, I'd say go for it. If not, then don't bother. But don't let resale value be the driving motivation, one way or the other. Mandolins are really meant to be played. Most of us are players, not dealers, and don't buy these as investments anyway, but as musical tools to enjoy.

  33. #25
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,459

    Default Re: Speed Neck on "vintage" instrument

    Yes you can rub the neck with 0000 steel wool, but I play a river cruise weekly and you would have to do it before and after every gig. It is humid here in the midwest in the summer. I started using a lacquer mandolin that is not as nice as mine, but the lacquer gives me less problem than the varnish. Removing the finish would seem to be the best way, another year or so of playing and it will be gone. Most of the finish and color are already gone.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •