Sanding of neck

Sanding of neck

Hi there, I play an LTD MH-400. I can't imagine playing another guitar but I do have one concern, the varnished neck. I have an Ibanez S Series with an untreated neck and I really want the same on my LTD. Would it be wise to "sand down" the neck to the bare wood and if so, how would I go about it? Thanks for any and all advice.

Marinotti Guitars

Hi Jacques,

search on youtube: how to make your guitar neck 10 x faster.

This video has been made by an italian luthier and its an easy to follow explanation.

I've personally sand a couple of necks and it works!!!



Hi Marco,

Thanks for the link, I was expecting it to be some long process! 

But that was super helpful.

Thanks again!

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Only problem is that by sanding a neck smooth and removingthe paint, the open pores of the wood are now unprotected, which over time can lead to warping. Unless you mean just sanding off the laquer and still leaving the painted finish on it. I know guys who just buffed their necks, and then put a couple coats of satin finish paint on the neck. Let us know how it comes out.


if you sand your neck to bare wood you can treat it with tung oil.  It will feel unfinished, but the wood will be protected.  easy to do but there is a drying time between coats and some wait time for the last coat to dry before you can use the neck again. 


I jsut wanted to be sure he was going through the proper motions. With everyone on the net having a doctrate in everything known to man, I wanted to make sure he didint go Bob Villa on his guitar necks without knowing it is a semi-lengthy process. I agree on the tung oil, produces the "cleanest" feeling finish by far and is hard to gooch.


Hey guys, I tried the technique in the video Marco posted and it works really well.

I was a little scared I take too much off or something goes wrong so I took it to a carpenter who did the actual sanding. 

He explained to me that he basically takes the "top layer" of lacquer/varnish off so no treatment needed afterwards.

The difference has been incredible. I will definitely keep an eye on it and get a second opinion though.


When you say untreated neck do you mean literally or a flat and dull finish. Many just take still wool or fine sandpaper and dull the finish which makes it faster playing. Not so sure I would want a neck without any finish as moisture could really affect it possibly causing it to warp or twist. Manufacturers go to great lengths to dry the wood in a kiln to get the moisture content very low before applying a finish for that reason.


Disreguard, I just saw your reply and they did it right


Rafiq B.

I've done this to about 10 guitars, now. I had a friend who had a guitar with a sanded neck, and the playability was so vastly superior, that I did it to my LTD Ninja-600. Then I did it to a couple of my Ibby SZ series guitars, a couple of friends guitars, my EC401, and most recently my LTD Elite Horizon-III. I would HIGHLY recommend it. But don't go in blind. If you have something that you can practice on, do that first, just to get a feel for what kind of pressure you need to apply.

Before you start, make sure you tape off whatever you don't want the edges of the fretboard so you don't hit the frets, the top of the neck where you want the sanding to stop, and the neck join area where you want the sanding to stop.

As far as methodology goes, I started with 100 grit sand paper. VERY light touch to get the gloss off. Then 400, SLIGHTLY more pressure, to make sure there were no gouges or anything. From there, I went straight to wet sanding with 1000 grit to smooth it out. It comes out really nice. Next time, I will probably do it a bit different...start with 200, then 400, then 600, 800, and finally wet sanding with 1000. Get some bore oil (can be bought from Amazon for 1.50 with free shipping) and use a dry cloth with some bore oil on it to clean things up when you're done.

Also, I did not take it down to bare wood, I left the paint on there, just took off enough to remove the clear. Tung oil is a good option to finish off with as well.

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