Sticky Neck Finishes

Brazilnut

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Why do some Gibson necks build up sticky crud when you play them, and some don't?
Paint formulation? Plasticizers? No plasticizers? Bad day at the office?
 

dc007

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Don't know why but I had a 335 like that. Some very fine steel wool fixed it. Of course you can tell the neck was 'sanded'. But that don't bother me
 

judson

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fine grade scotch brite but i cant remember what color that would be......
 

rogue3

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because we all have a different ph. before we hit the fretboard.carry on.
 

Dilver

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I’ve owned many guitars and have never had this be a problem for me. I think a person‘s physiology - how much their hands sweat, chemical composition of the pot sweat, etc - is a big factor in this. I’d start with making sure the neck is actually clean. Naphtha will clean off any gunk and not harm the finish.
 

Davey Rock

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Every guitar I’ve ever owned has done that. I move up and down the neck pretty often so it doesn’t build up as much there, but where my forearm and right side of my torso rest is where it does build up. I guess this is a mix of sweat and dead skin. I always clean it off when I notice it.
 

Wuuthrad

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I cant play most gloss finishes, especially nitro, very comfortably (unless it’s really dry and set for years.) Prefer satin, oil or wax. Gloss Poly is better strangely enough. Just my personal preference which has alot to do with chemistry I suppose.

I just played a few new Les Pauls the other day at GC and they were all different. All high gloss finishes, and none felt the same. One was tacky, one was sticky, and the other was almost wet feeling like it hadn’t completely dried.
 

mr. rj

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I got a 2021 LP studio and it was sticky when I first got it (approx 2 months ago). It is now just starting to not feel sticky anymore when playing it. I guess the nitro needs a few months to dry & cure, before it feels better. My other LP's weren't sticky, because they were sitting in the store longer (ie. 2020 classic & 2019 standard).

they should rename the nitro finish to snoop dogg finish..."real sticky icky ickee"
 

Subterfuge

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I’ve owned many guitars and have never had this be a problem for me. I think a person‘s physiology - how much their hands sweat, chemical composition of the pot sweat, etc - is a big factor in this. I’d start with making sure the neck is actually clean. Naphtha will clean off any gunk and not harm the finish.
well that is interesting ... my 2017 LP has a terrible problem with the stickiness, not so much on the neck because the hand is always in motion, but more on the body where my right arm rests ... however please help me out here anyone, I was always under the impression that all modern day LP's will react as such with peoples skin because the factory uses Defective lacquer, as in too soft, made that way to avoid warranty claims from the finish cracking and that old Lp's (1953-60) plus any guitar refinished by Historic Makeovers using the hard as glass (correct) old lacquer will never have this problem because the correct lacquer is simply too hard and set to react with anything ???
 

Peter M

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Polish the neck and it should go away.
Yep. Routine wipe downs with Gibson polish (whether I think it's needed or not) have kept the backs of LPs' necks as slick as earl. ;)
 

Sharky

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I had this on a R9 once and rubbed the neck with naphta/lighter fluid a few times and then dry with a lot of pressure until the cloth got almost hot. Stickieness never came back.

Not recommended on any surface, naphta might harm different laquers
 

Adinol

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Why do some Gibson necks build up sticky crud when you play them, and some don't?
Paint formulation? Plasticizers? No plasticizers? Bad day at the office?
Nitro finish can age in two ways. It can go hard and brittle or it can go soft and sticky.

Fortunately, there's a way to turn the soft and sticky nitro into hard.

What you need is the following product:

Music Nomad Guitar Polish - Pro Strength Formula

You rub it all over the neck and you wipe it off. Your neck finish is instantly transformed. Then, you can rub the following product onto the neck:

Music Nomad Guitar Wax - Highest Grade White Brazilian Carnuba

That's carnuba wax, I believe the same that is used for cars. When you rub that on the neck then wipe it off the neck is again transformed into a very slippery neck.

I have a lot of experience with these products, as I work 10 hrs a day as a tech and luthier. However, you have to be careful with the Guitar Polish product. It is string and you can cause some damage. Never use it on god plated hardware. It will rub off all the gold. On certain finishes you have to be careful, but it will work excellent for the purpose you are addressing.

Do not use steel wool or scotch pads to accomplish what you are hoping.

Good luck.
 

smallstar67

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Why do some Gibson necks build up sticky crud when you play them, and some don't?
Paint formulation? Plasticizers? No plasticizers? Bad day at the office?
Great question. I have 7 Les Pauls' and the only one that gets sticky is the 2010 LP standard. I rotate them all and play them all equally. I can say that when I took lessons my instructor would always make me wash my hands before touching his black beauty Custom, he always said it was the PH factor on different hands and different people, but that doesn't explain why my other 6 never get sticky. There has to be a difference in the finish chemicals. PS: don't take 3m sanding pads to your neck, just wash it.....LOL
 

InTheEvening

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I have this same problem too. Happens with most of my guitars with finished necks, both nitro or poly. I just try to wipe the neck down with a polish cloth every once in a while.
The only guitar this doesn’t happen to is my Charvel, it’s got a thin layer of finish on it, it’s practically unfinished, you can feel the wood grain and pores, so it never gets gunked up or sticky…but the pores and grain themselves pick up a lot of dirt and grime. I wash my hands before I play but I think I’m just prone to it.
 
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Brazilnut

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well that is interesting ... my 2017 LP has a terrible problem with the stickiness, not so much on the neck because the hand is always in motion, but more on the body where my right arm rests ... however please help me out here anyone, I was always under the impression that all modern day LP's will react as such with peoples skin because the factory uses Defective lacquer, as in too soft, made that way to avoid warranty claims from the finish cracking and that old Lp's (1953-60) plus any guitar refinished by Historic Makeovers using the hard as glass (correct) old lacquer will never have this problem because the correct lacquer is simply too hard and set to react with anything ???
I am a guitar finisher. I use modern clear lacquer formulations, and I don't have a problem. As some have observed here, some Gibby necks seem "softer" than others. And sticky. WTF??
 

ehb

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Adinol

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One more detail which is also important to take into consideration.

Poly is a finish that cures (meaning, there's a chemical reaction and the cured substance is no longer the same chemical composition that the liquid finish once was), but nitro is a finish that never cures (i.e. the solvent evaporates and the solids stay on the surface).

So, many have noted in the past that nitro is "alive" which means that it can change over time, depending on what chemicals it comes in contact with, over time (note that everything is a chemical, so I am not referring exclusively to harsh chemicals).

So, the part of the finish that is always in contact with perspiring skin, such as the lower bout on the bass side, is not going to be the same kind of finish that will be on the treble side, over time. This is important when cleaning and detailing vintage guitars. If we use a harsh cleaning product, such as the Music Nomad Guitar Detailer, we might be surprised to see that the part that was constantly rubbing against the skin turn into a dull, frosted appearance, right after cleaning. That's because the nitro, which is "alive", changed over the decades, as it reacted to the acidity (or whatever) coming from the skin of the player's arm.

One has to be careful when deciding which cleaning products to use on vintage guitars, with nitro finish. They don't all age the same way and it also depends whihc formulation was used in the first place.

That said, in my experience, we should be fine using the Music Nomad Guitar Polish, on sticky Gibson necks, to make them slippery. But if it's a very old Gibson, I don't really know, as results may vary.

Hope this makes sense and hope this helps.
 


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