The Unwound Third > Gitfiddles, Harps, Washboards & Kazoos

Sticky guitar neck syndrome

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This is a much simpler problem than a lifting bridge. 3 of my 4 guitars have it.

It looks like the main thing I need to do is find some fine grit (1500 to 2000) sandpaper.

My questions are whether there's any commonly made mistake when sanding down a guitar neck that I should watch out for, and if there's any chemical solution I should apply beforehand/afterwards.


Hi Lindy:

Without knowing the finish  on any of your guitars, I'm hesitant to suggest anything other than a mild detergent and water solution on a light colored cloth--on a small section of the neck--to see if any of the sticky stuff comes off. I'd stay away from anything that could possibly interact with the finish.

Stew-Mac has a product, but I've never used it:

Thanks for the suggestion, Stuart.

From what little research I've done, sanding the neck slightly with the finest grit paper possible is the suggested method--not removing the finish, just the very top layer. But a solvent approach sounds safer and easier. The one you mention specifically states "This one step will help you avoid a sticky, hard to play neck and a grimy, potentially damaging finish and crusty hardware."

No mention of any effect on the crusty guitar player.


Parlor Picker:
Coconut oil is quite good for cleaning off the body. Not sure about the neck. It certainly should do no harm, but I'm not convinced it will be effective. Luthier of this parish, Rick Sellens, recommends cleaning the actual finger board with a little white spirit and then applying linseed oil once it's dry.

Whatever you do, good luck with it.

I don't have the problem but I think maybe it would be a good idea to state where the sticky part is on the neck of each, front, back or both and what the finish is on each an whether they are vintage or not, painted or not. 


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