Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 41

Thread: Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

  1. #1
    Struggle Monkey B381's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    294

    Default Thinking I might have to do a speed neck

    Having hard time doing slides more than one fret, but those are clean. Glossy finish on the neck seems to equal a sticky neck.

    Not thinking to bare wood though. Would steel wool down to a matte finish suffice?

    Post some pictures, tell some experiences before I do this.....
    "It doesn't matter how much you invest in your instrument until you invest in you and your ability..."

    Kentucky KM-150
    Eastman MD-404
    Morgan Monroe MFM-300
    Rover RM-75

  2. #2
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    22,873
    Blog Entries
    51

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

    One of my mandolins has been speed necked (before I got it) and I love it. I am skeptical that it solves any specific problems, but it sure makes a few things easier.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  3. #3

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

    I speednecked my mandolin. The next day, my boss offered me a 30% raise.

    Ok, for real, a speed neck does feel nice. Unless you do it to bare wood and then re-seal, it is not really a speed neck. It's just a roughed-up varnish. Which can be OK. If you're on the fence, try Micro-Mesh at 2400 grit (black) and see how that goes. You can, from there, go down to bare wood, or polish back up to gloss with no problems either way.

  4. The following members say thank you to Marty Jacobson for this post:


  5. #4
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    4,835

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

    A light scrubbing with steel wool to a matte finish will help avoid "stiction" from a glossy neck finish.* It gets you about halfway to what a bare neck feels like, and that might be enough to avoid any trouble you're having. Bare wood, or wood with a small amount of sealant to avoid dirt, will give you the most smooth and "satin" feel.

    I removed the finish from my mandolin neck years ago, with just a bit of Tung oil to seal against dirt and with an added drop of amber stain to boost the process of the neck yellowing down from bare white. I like the way it feels. It was also a way of committing to ownership, because I wouldn't have done that on a mandolin I wasn't pretty sure was a keeper.

    * Sometimes an instrument is sold with a neck finish that hasn't completely cured, and is always a little sticky no matter how old it is. I had a guitar like that. Nothing you can do except remove the finish or re-do with a new finish.

  6. #5
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    929

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

    Do it, I am having a speed neck put on my oval hole Collings MT2 right now. I have 2 other mandos with speed necks and I felt the oval needed it too, because I liked the feel so much less then the others.
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

  7. The following members say thank you to dang for this post:


  8. #6
    Dan Brooks lflngpicker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    1,571
    Blog Entries
    6

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

    It does depend on the finish, I would think, also. Depending on which mandolin you are doing this with, it would be more feasible in one case or another. Nitro is much easier to remove than poly. Not that I am an expert; I just thought I would caution you as an MC friend.

  9. #7
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    855

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

    I just did a speed neck for the first time on my travel mandolin and it came out very well and is easier to play. I just used masking tape to mark the area, then used a safety razor to draw a light line along the tape. Then scraped the finish off with the razor carefully so as to do a neat job. Get down to the wood. There is some nice stain left in the wood to give the neck character. Then I used fine sandpaper and just one coat of true oil to seal it. Possible that I'll have to do another coat eventually but we'll see. If you're careful it isn't hard to do. Plays and looks better both.
    Cary Fagan

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


  11. #8
    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Charleston SC
    Posts
    2,348

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

    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.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

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


  13. #9

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

    I would first try knocking down the gloss and seeing how that works for you. You may not need a speed-neck, though you could go that route after trying a sanded finish first. You can't try it the other way around!
    Tape off the heel and headstock and then knock down the gloss finish with 3M scotch-brite. I like the green pads #08293 (medium duty) that you can get at any hardware store.
    Over time, the neck may shine back up from playing. Just tape it and hit it again with the scotch-brite.
    This has worked better for me on guitars and mandolin than going to bare wood. Even if treated with oil after exposing the wood, depending on your personal chemistry, it can get gummy & sticky from hand oils and it can be damaging to the wood to clean.
    Best, Stevo

  14. The following members say thank you to stevojack665 for this post:

    B381 

  15. #10
    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Charleston SC
    Posts
    2,348

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

    Quote Originally Posted by stevojack665 View Post
    I would first try knocking down the gloss and seeing how that works for you. You may not need a speed-neck, though you could go that route after trying a sanded finish first. You can't try it the other way around!
    Tape off the heel and headstock and then knock down the gloss finish with 3M scotch-brite. I like the green pads #08293 (medium duty) that you can get at any hardware store.
    Over time, the neck may shine back up from playing. Just tape it and hit it again with the scotch-brite.
    This has worked better for me on guitars and mandolin than going to bare wood. Even if treated with oil after exposing the wood, depending on your personal chemistry, it can get gummy & sticky from hand oils and it can be damaging to the wood to clean.
    Best, Stevo
    Actually, I think thats what I have. Mine is not down to bare wood. It retains the stains, just not gloss. And after 2 years its still pretty slick.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

  16. #11
    Struggle Monkey B381's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    294

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

    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker View Post
    It does depend on the finish, I would think, also. Depending on which mandolin you are doing this with, it would be more feasible in one case or another. Nitro is much easier to remove than poly. Not that I am an expert; I just thought I would caution you as an MC friend.
    It's a River RM75 that plays very well.
    "It doesn't matter how much you invest in your instrument until you invest in you and your ability..."

    Kentucky KM-150
    Eastman MD-404
    Morgan Monroe MFM-300
    Rover RM-75

  17. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    3,519

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

    My Silverangel came to me with a speed neck, and I love the feel of it, but haven't felt compelled to have my Kelley speed necked yet. I did my own on a Kentucky that I was done with and eventually gave away, but never really finished it. Got it stripped without issue with a sharp pocket knife, but never got around to finding really fine grit sandpaper to really get it smooth, and never tung oiled it. It was an improvement, but not done to the perfection of the SA, for sure.
    Chuck

  18. The following members say thank you to CES for this post:


  19. #13
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Blue Zone, California
    Posts
    1,028

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

    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.


    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	neck-reprofile-speedneck.jpg 
Views:	55 
Size:	419.4 KB 
ID:	176384
    -- 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]

  20. #14
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    962

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

    This subject just came up on the banjo forum. The prevailing sentiment there was that a majority said they would be reluctant or un-willing to purchase a "speed-necked" instrument. In any case, I think many of us would agree that speed necks reduce the potential resale value of an instrument.

    Since yours is a Rover, resale value is not of any concern. But for a professional grade instrument, the owner should take the effect on later resale value into account.

    If you decide to proceed, I would encourage you to first dull the existing finish rather than strip it off, and see if that produces a result that is pleasing to you. On something like a Rover, you can start with 400 sandpaper [320 if it's really stubborn] and work your way up to 800 or 1000 grit, using a little bit of mineral spirits for a lubricant. If that's not enough, you'll have to go to a higher grit, or try the scotch-brite pads. On poly finishes, I have no problems with 0000 steel wool.

    On a varnish or nitro finish, I would start with 1000 sandpaper [600 if it's tough] and work up from there. I generally avoid steel wool on varnish and nitro.

    If you do strip the finish to bare wood, the wood should be sealed. There are several ways to go about it. My preferred method is thin French polished shellac.
    Last edited by rcc56; Apr-30-2019 at 2:22pm.

  21. #15
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Blue Zone, California
    Posts
    1,028

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

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    This subject just came up on the banjo forum. The prevailing sentiment there was that a majority said they would be reluctant or un-willing to purchase a "speed-necked" instrument. In any case, I think many of us would agree that speed necks reduce the potential resale value of an instrument. ...
    I think I agree with that sentiment for pristine collectable instruments' necks -- for example I'd really hesitate to speed-neck any of my vintage Gibson and Vega banjos and especially those that have perfect finishes... But these are not daily-players and I tend to keep them out of circulation in order to avoid normal playing wear-and-tear.

    But, for non-collectable instruments, or even for better daily-player instruments whose back-of-the-neck finishes are already in serious trouble, a well-done speed-neck with a French-polish might actually look better and be a maintenance and playability improvement. As long as the circumstances about this kind of work are clearly communicated during a sale, it wouldn't put me off -- I'd consider it more required maintenance, like a re-fret.

    There is also something aesthetically different with mandolins because of their violin family connection... A speed neck on a mandolin just seems to be more acceptable because speed necks on good violins are so prevalent.

    As always, YMMV...
    -- 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]

  22. #16
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    4,835

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

    Here's what my Lebeda looks like. I haven't had to do anything else in the 7 or so years since I stripped it, and used a very thin Tung Oil coat. I just clean it occasionally with StewMac Preservation Polish like the rest of the instrument:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Neck-Stripped---Lebeda.jpg 
Views:	45 
Size:	85.1 KB 
ID:	176385

    I tried to feather in the transition as much as possible, but this is a very hard lacquer finish. It's the best I could do.

    Note that if you do take your neck down to bare wood, it will be very white until UV exposure mellows it down over time. I added a couple of drops of "vintage amber" ColorTone stain from StewMac to the Tung oil when I did the original stripping, and that gave it a head start. Most of the color now is natural darkening/ambering-up of the maple over time.

  23. #17

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

    I got a speed neck for free without touching the finish when I put a sof-nek guitar neck-pad on. It might be a nice way to try it before you remove finish.

  24. #18

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

    I speed necked my '56 F-12 shortly after getting it about 18 years ago. After scraping off the sticky black finish, I sanded to the bare wood and then let it build up a "natural" patina by playing it a lot. Click image for larger version. 

Name:	F-12Neck.JPG 
Views:	18 
Size:	210.1 KB 
ID:	176386Click image for larger version. 

Name:	F-12Back052004.JPG 
Views:	16 
Size:	178.6 KB 
ID:	176387.Click image for larger version. 

Name:	F-12NeckNow.j.JPG 
Views:	22 
Size:	38.4 KB 
ID:	176389 Sorry if the sequence of pix is out of order

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	F12HeadstockBack052304.jpg 
Views:	14 
Size:	161.7 KB 
ID:	176388  

  25. The following members say thank you to lenf12 for this post:


  26. #19
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    4,351

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

    Here is a thread about a speed neck I did on an Eastman mandolin back in 2013......

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...d+neck+eastman
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  27. The following members say thank you to Charles E. for this post:


  28. #20

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

    Looks really nice Charles E. although I see you got your pix out of order too

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  29. #21
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    4,351

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

    Yep, funny how that happened.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  30. #22
    Struggle Monkey B381's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    294

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

    "Since yours is a Rover, resale value is not of any concern."

    Ouch....lol. It's really a good player, plus if something happens it's not the end of the world.

  31. #23
    Registered User Mike Scott's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Bend, OR
    Posts
    641

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

    I had an MK Firefly that had a thick sticky poly finish on the neck. Very hard to play. I tried roughing it up with steel wool which worked for a time. Finally I swallowed hard and carefully scraped all the finish off the neck. Then sanded and steel wooled it smooth. Wetted it down slightly to raise the grain - repeated the smoothing process and then rubbed in some linseed oil. Result was a very “speedy” (pun intended) neck. Worked out for me even though I had no clue what I was doing. That poly finish was thick and was tough to get off!

    Good luck!
    Thanks!
    Mike

    “What me worry!” Alfred E Newman

    2017 Silverangel F5
    2019 Big Muddy

  32. #24
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    1,034

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

    I did a Jade by just hitting it with a ScotchBrite pad, never did anything to seal it. It still feels great, and the lacquer came off very easily. My Northfield came with the speed neck (not sure if that's standard or an option), and I liked it so much that I had David Houchens do it on the Bryce A he built for me. I'm definitely sold on the speed neck. And it's such a common thing in the mando world that I would assume that only collectors would care about it's effect on resale value. I don't know anyone who's had one that didn't prefer it.
    Mitch Russell

  33. #25

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

    It begs the question of what finishes can be used to avoid the problem. Don’t see many guitars ‘speed necked’.
    Play it like you mean it.

  34. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Bill McCall For This Useful Post:


Posting Permissions

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