Question: how to clean the back of guitar neck - Jemsite
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  • 1 Post By Formerly Given To Fly
  • 1 Post By CaptNasty
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Texas
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Question: how to clean the back of guitar neck

Hello, I have a UV7 from the 90s with a very dirty back side of the neck. I believe I have not cleaned it in over 15 years. I have never attempted to clean it properly, as I do not know. Please, any tips on how to remove all the grit and black dirt without sanding? Thanks!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 12:45 AM
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Re: Question: how to clean the back of guitar neck

I use a slightly damp cloth or micro-fiber cloth, but I am not dealing with "grit and black dirt." I would wait for other responses before breaking out the sandpaper. I feel there might be other options to try first...
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-30-2019, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Question: how to clean the back of guitar neck

Thank you very much. My neck is very very dirty
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-04-2019, 12:33 PM
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Re: Question: how to clean the back of guitar neck

You could talk to some companies that make wood cleaner but I assume you would have to get all the clear finish off the neck for it to work properly.
In my opinion, If the guitar has been played a lot and has it's share of chips and dings, I would sand the neck with 220 grit sand paper (use long strokes to keep the radius) and put 3-4 coats of tung oil on it.
Allowing time to dry in between coats. I've done that to several on my guitars and the necks feel really really good.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-05-2019, 12:44 AM
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Re: Question: how to clean the back of guitar neck

I got one like that once, and I used an old facial scrub-pad to lightly rub the pesky areas after I had damp cloth-ed the hell out of it. The facial pad was rinsed to make sure no scrub-stuff was still in it, and I just used it damp. I figured if you can put it to your face, it would probably not hurt the guitar any, but I did not go at it like I was killin' rats, either, ya' know? Nice and light, and though it took a minute, when I was done there were no unwanted scuffy marks left from the pad. I have taken sandpaper to necks in the past, sure, and I most likely will again, but NEVER as a means of cleaning debris from one. As far as scrub-pads go, if it leaves no marks on a pane of glass that's great: it may work for you, BUT if it leaves no marks on a plexi-glass/acrylic panel, it should definitely do the job without harming your finish. Just don't go at it like you're killin' rats, and closely monitor your progress, and that nasty old neck should be sparkly, squeaky clean in no time. Worked for me, but, as always, YRMV.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 11:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2019
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Re: Question: how to clean the back of guitar neck

Get some Naptha. It is safe to use on guitars, just don’t leave it sitting on the guitar. I prefer to remove the neck from the guitar when deep cleaning. IME it yields better results and is easier when the body is out of the way.

Wipe the Naptha on using a clean, soft cloth, work the neck with the cloth, then wipe dry and buff with a clean soft cloth. Repeat until the neck is clean to your satisfaction. This step will safely remove oil, grime, and dirt that has bonded to the outer layer of the finish.

After cleaning, if the neck is not satiny smooth; you can work it with some 0000 steel wool (do not use a coarser grain steel wool!). Do not perform this procedure on a neck that you have not cleaned. The steel wool could embed dirt and debris into the finish. If you have chosen not to remove the neck from the guitar you really, really, really need to cover your pickups with tape before using the steel wool!
  1. Rub the neck gently in the direction of the wood grain going in one direction only (i.e. do not rub “back and forth”). Work the entire neck with the steel wool making 4-5 passes. I like to work the neck in small areas until the entire neck has been rubbed. Do not spend a lot of time rubbing with steel wool, you are not trying to remove material.
  2. Using painters tape remove any debris from the neck using the tacky side of the tape
  3. Feel for spots that are still rough. Repeat steps 1&2 on each rough spot. You can repeat steps 1&2 an additional 2-3 times until the roughness is smoothed out.

If you have a small spot that is not responding to the steel wool after 3-4 passes with steel wool, you can take a wet towel and lay it over the spot then with a soldering iron on the lowest setting touch the towel with the soldering iron at the location of the roughness and move it in a small circle for one to two seconds then use steel wool to work the area as described above. You can repeat this several times, but be careful not to hold the heat too long and scorch the neck.

If you used steel wool on the neck, wipe the neck down with Naptha one last time then wipe dry and buff with a clean cloth.

Apply a guitar safe conditioning oil to the entire neck and side of the fretboard, let it sit for a couple of minutes, then wipe dry and buff with a clean soft cloth. I use Music Nomad F One oil. Even on a satin eurethane neck I do this for two reasons: First, your fretboard is unfinished and you will get Naptha on the side of the fretboard so you want to recondition it. Second, there could be exposed wood on the neck due to wear or damage to the finish and you want to recondition any wood that the Naptha may have come into contact with.
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Last edited by CaptNasty; 09-08-2019 at 12:33 PM.
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