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Thread: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

  1. #26
    Registered User Drew Streip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    It begs the question of what finishes can be used to avoid the problem. Don’t see many guitars ‘speed necked’.
    It may have more to do with neck size and shape, or how one is "supposed" to hold it to play. For example, all violin necks are "speed necked" -- I'm not sure I've ever seen one varnished, even cheapo student violins.

    I generally have less of my hand touching my guitar neck than when I play mandolin, usually just the middle knuckle of my thumb. Resting a mandolin (or violin) down in the crook of your thumb+forefinger would add a substantial amount of contact area and friction, which equals heat, which potentially equals soft, sticky varnish.

    Counterpoint: The neck on my 1954 000-18 gets really tacky. But I just deal with it because, to me, it is a collector's item.

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  3. #27
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    It begs the question of what finishes can be used to avoid the problem. Don’t see many guitars ‘speed necked’.
    You can get a matte lacquer or poly finish, but it won't feel quite the same as bare wood with a light Tung oil or Linseed oil finish to prevent dirt buildup. There is a very slight roughness behind the "silky" feel that helps the hand move and not stick. Especially if your hand is sweaty. Maybe something like the rough skin of a porpoise that breaks surface tension? I doubt the feel could be duplicated with any finish. The feel of bare, or almost bare wood is what it is.

    The question of why more guitars aren't done this way is interesting. It might be that it isn't needed because guitar technique is more of a thumb on the back of the neck. Less surface contact where you'd feel stickiness, compared to the traditional violin/mandolin hand contact on the neck.

    ETA: I see Drew just made that point too, about more of your hand in contact with the neck on fiddles and mandolins.

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  5. #28
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    Just a quick aside:

    I think if one is continuously conscious of the impact of their various options on resale value, that person doesn't really consider themselves the owner.

    If you are hesitating to make a change that will greatly improve the playability and enjoyment of your instrument, consider selling it now and getting a mandolin you would not be worried about modifying. I bristle at the thought of limiting my own fun for some as yet not named hypothetical buyer in the future who may or may not like what I do. I am not an investor, or a curator, or a steward, I am an "owner operator", a player. So if my mandolin is too historically significant to enjoy, I am likely to look for an instrument that I can enjoy.

    Apologies for the rant.
    Indulge responsibly!

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  7. #29
    Registered User rockies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    A way to find if a speed neck may work on your mando..lay your hand palm down firmly on the back.. will your hand slide? If not the finish is locking to the cells in your hand and a speed neck will most likely work great. I received my new Heiden guitar in December and Michael suggested during the build to speed necking it, am I ever glad he did, the difference between it and my other guitars for moving up and down is outstanding. Even more difference on the guitar than the mandolin due to the longer neck, just wonderful.
    Dave
    Heiden A, '52 Martin D-18, Taylor 510, Carlson Custom A with Electronics

  8. #30
    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    Do it.

    I had a beautiful matching burst finish on my Gibson's neck and so after much trepidation, I finally grew tired of sticking to the back of the neck so I had it professionally speed necked.
    So glad I did. Plays way easier for me. And, although it no longer matches in finish, it still looks cool. Maybe cooler.
    I had the same hesitation with my J Bovier. The figure on the neck is beautiful. I didn’t want to lose that. However, the sticking to the neck was driving me crazy so I did it. Best thing I ever did on a mandolin. The difference was unbelievable and the neck still looks pretty darn cool.
    Larry Hunsberger

    2013 J Bovier A5 Special w/ToneGard
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  9. #31
    Registered User Geno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    Due to some arthritis in my hand, I decided to reshape the neck of my Northfield Big Mon. After removing the finish and reshaping, I stained it with some amber/brown aniline dye and finished it with a little Tru-oil. Now my mandolin’s neck not only feels great in my hand, but looks pretty good too. I’m very happy about that, but I’m starting to worry that I may have developed another kind of neck issue. I’ve discovered that I now prefer my mandolin’s neck to all the other types of necks which “normal” people seem to find more beautiful. Have any of you also noticed this? Which one of these do you spend more time with?Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #32
    Registered User Eric Hanson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    From upper left corner clockwise:
    Nope. Just hurts in the morning.
    Nope. Just hurts when you get bit after you grab it.
    Nope. Just too much.....
    Ahh. Just right.
    Nope. I have a wife of my own.
    Nope. Can’t even fit my hand around it. Might also get bit if I were to try to do so.
    Eric Hanson
    Click #016/ Born on 2/29/08 - Sold to the next Conservator of this great mandolin!
    The search has ceased! (At least for now)
    Collings A-Style

  12. #33
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    Default Re: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    Do it. Very easy to do yourself. I masked off the area i wanted to scrap down first. then i took a sharp razor blade and scraped the finish off till i got down to bare wood. then some sanding with 220 then 660 paper< you can leave it light colored or put some dark stain on it then. sand more and then apply a coat of lindseed oil. Let dry and use a very light abrasive to polish it. Works great

  13. #34

    Default Re: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    Two years ago at Grass Valley Father's Day Bluegrass Festival there were a group of luthiers available in the "Barn" to work on instruments. I had mandolin luthier Austin Clark refret (Gold Evo), re-profile, speed-neck and setup my Gibson F-9. The original frets were rutted, I had worn most of the finish off of the back of the neck and the original Gibson V-profile was causing my thumb to ache, so I had actually been thinking about replacing the mandolin. His work on my F-9 has made a huge difference -- it has become a lifetime instrument for me.

    During the speed-neck process Austin also French-polished the back of the neck so it isn't bare wood. The feel is great, and movement is smooth and free.

    I probably wouldn't have thought about a speed-neck if I didn't need work on the back of the neck anyway, but by itself the speed-neck makes a big difference in playing comfort and convenience.


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    One thing is certain, if you ever speed neck your 199.00 Michael Kelly, make sure you have plenty of 60 grit sandpaper and a couple of hours to kill. Man that finish is thick and tough.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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  15. #35
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    One thing is certain, if you ever speed neck your 199.00 Michael Kelly, make sure you have plenty of 60 grit sandpaper and a couple of hours to kill. Man that finish is thick and tough.
    I've been playing it around the house a lot lately, and I'm really happy with it as-is... I have admittedly added quite a lot to it to make it as close a backup to my F-9 as possible. But the neck work was needed on the F-9 due to wear and tear (and a painful V-profile), while for me, the MK really doesn't need any neck work, and the finish on the MK's neck already feels nicely rounded, fast and slippery.
    -- Don

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

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

    [About how I tune my mandolins]

  16. #36
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    I'm not interested in selling, but I'm dubious of decreasing value associated with speed necks...
    Both my mandolins are kinda expensive, and both came from the builder new with unfinished necks. The notion that it's a badge of shame and looses value is lost on me...?
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
    2017 Ratliff R5 Custom #1148
    Several nice old Fiddles
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  17. #37
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMatt View Post
    I'm not interested in selling, but I'm dubious of decreasing value associated with speed necks...
    Both my mandolins are kinda expensive, and both came from the builder new with unfinished necks. The notion that it's a badge of shame and looses value is lost on me...?
    The loss of value is in buying new from the builder and selling used. The speed neck is simply a modification that will turn off some potential buyers and therefore possibly make it more difficult to get your asking price.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
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    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5

  18. #38
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    The loss of value is in buying new from the builder and selling used. The speed neck is simply a modification that will turn off some potential buyers and therefore possibly make it more difficult to get your asking price.
    I’m pretty sure inflation has out paced original owner depreciation on my 2007...and it will on my 2017 in a few years. The attitude of buying from builders being a foolhardy move is kinda toxic to our craft and trade...not directed at you pheff, but at the general population.
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
    2017 Ratliff R5 Custom #1148
    Several nice old Fiddles
    2007 Martin 000-15S 12 fret Auditorium-slot head
    Deering Classic Open Back
    Too many microphones

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  20. #39

    Default Re: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    I've been playing it around the house a lot lately, and I'm really happy with it as-is... I have admittedly added quite a lot to it to make it as close a backup to my F-9 as possible. But the neck work was needed on the F-9 due to wear and tear (and a painful V-profile), while for me, the MK really doesn't need any neck work, and the finish on the MK's neck already feels nicely rounded, fast and slippery.
    I bought mine specifically to experiment on. The only thing I haven't done is put a CA bridge on it. The saddle did split and was replaced with something out of a Luthier's junk drawer, a far better part.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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  22. #40
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMatt View Post
    The attitude of buying from builders being a foolhardy move is kinda toxic to our craft and trade...not directed at you pheff, but at the general population.
    I understand. Depreciation of a new item is a fact of life and not unique to mandolins. And there is nothing foolhardy about buying from a builder, particularly if the instrument you want does not otherwise exist in nature and wouldn’t turn up used in the classifieds with a little patience. How else does one find a modern Alrite or a black A2-z?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5

  23. #41

    Default Re: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    I liked my fiddle players neck so tried to get that feel and look on my Collings MT2 that I bought on the classifieds. it had a partial done but it was a little rough. Started with a razor knife very sharp, 80, 100, 220, 440, 1000 grit then steel wool. Tinted with dark brown tint and then 4 coats "tried and true" original wood finish. Then steel wool.Click image for larger version. 

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