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Thread: "HELP" advice, opinion on reconditioning maple neck and fingerboard.

  1. #1

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    "HELP" advice, opinion on reconditioning maple neck and fingerboard.

    Sorry for the dramatic entrance folks, but im new here :-)
    I really pleased to announce my long awaited joining of the EBMM owners clan.

    I have been extremely fortunate to acquire my first Musicman Stingray 'CHEEP' although it is in desperate need of a good clean up with blinker fluid and oil change.

    First and foremost I have identified that it is indeed an authentic EBMM Stingray 4 with 3band EQ, and a 10-4-93 all maple neck and Sept-2-93 black body. Serial# 38669.

    Cosmetically, mechanically, and paint wise the body is in relatively good condition but its the finish on the neck that I have concerns about. The neck and fretboard appear to both be maple with a figuring of birds-eye that, in itself is in good order, but the finish seams to be stained with funk that just wont clean of.
    It can be seen in the attached pictures that there seems to be discoloration on the fret face between the strings and on the back of the neck.
    I have cleaned the fret face with OOOO steel wool and paraffin oil and then rubbed with isopropyl alcohol but it seems to have had little to no impact.

    So this poses a couple of questions:
    1. Is the neck and fretboard finished with a hard laquer or similar?
    2. Is this the color and look they are supposed to be? (just looks dirty to me).
    3. Is it advisable/possible to sand the surfaces clean and just oil with something natural?

    Thanks in advance to the brains trust and anyone who has taken the time to read.

    Greg.
    "HELP" advice, opinion on reconditioning maple neck and fingerboard.-20190616_170629-jpg
    "HELP" advice, opinion on reconditioning maple neck and fingerboard.-20190616_170654-jpg
    "HELP" advice, opinion on reconditioning maple neck and fingerboard.-20190616_165405-jpg
    "HELP" advice, opinion on reconditioning maple neck and fingerboard.-20190616_165423-jpg
    "HELP" advice, opinion on reconditioning maple neck and fingerboard.-20190616_165443-jpg

  2. #2

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    First thing I would do: get some murphy's oil soap, water, and a very soft toothbrush. This is for cleaning. Then you also will need Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil and Gunstock Wax for the refinishing. Also remember that the headstock is finished, so you don't need to do anything to that.

    Make a 1/4 mixture of the oil soap and water. Use that to clean the front and back of the neck. First I would just rub some on with a towel, and wipe it off with a dry towel. Chances are it's gonna come off BLACK the first few times.

    Don't DOUSE it with the stuff, as you don't want to get too much water in it, but keep it up for a bit.

    Once the rags start coming off not horribly dirty, I would then dip the toothbrush in the mixture, and gently move it back and forth with the grain, to try to get out some of the deeper stuff. Keep that up for a while until you stop seeing more gunk.

    After that, give the neck a good day or so to dry. You should then run your hand up and down the back of the neck, and find any places where you feel it is rough. I would use some 400 or 800 grit sandpaper to make those areas smooth. After you sand the areas, wipe them gently with a damp cloth. Then make sure the neck is dry.

    For the refinishing, you are going to want to apply the Tru-Oil with a rag or paper towel. I like rags because they do not break down like paper towels. Apply it all over the neck, except on the bottom of the neck joint, which doesn't need any. Wait 5 minutes for it to soak in, then rub down the entire neck to get rid of any excess. Definitely get it off the frets. Then wait a day for it to dry/cure.

    After this, next step is the gunstock wax. Same basic deal: rub it all over the neck, wait 5-10 minutes, and then buff it to a nice luster.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / 3 Band EQ / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood FB / 3 Band EQ/ AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck

  3. #3

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    ^ Many thanks for taking the time to reply tbonesullivan.

    So with this era of bass, was the neck finished with anything like satin laquer or poly, or were they just oil and wax?
    I can see the headstock is a gloss laquer finish and that is in good clean condition.

    Good tip about not getting any oil/wax on the bolt face. I did not consider that.

    If the Murphys oil soap does not change anything, is it uncommon practice to sand the entire neck and fretboard?

    Greg.

  4. #4

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    Had two StingRays.
    One was from 1991 serial 333.. which was complete glossy finished.
    The other from 1996 serial 487.. which was unfinished (oil/wax).
    (Only the headstock front and back had satin finish - looked like yours).
    Don't know if from around 1993 - 1995 was ever a satin neck finished used. Heard only rumours.
    (I am not talking about the "natural velvet" finish from 1996).
    1979 StingRay natural maple

  5. #5

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    I’m no expert on maple fingerboard’s as I’m a rosewood person but from the pictures, and I hate diagnostics via the internet photos. The damage/playing marks, a lot of that to me looks more like sun damage rather than ground in dirt or a combination of the two. Either way approach with caution.
    Personally I’d just clean any gunk off with a light soap and toothbrush. (Toothbrush for fret board, getting into fret wire. Keep brush as dry as possible) (ooo wire wool back of neck first) then re-oil & wax and leave it at that
    Last edited by danny-79; 06-17-2019 at 02:04 AM.

    StingRay 4HH. SapphireBlack.2006
    StingRay 4H. Buttercreme. 2005
    StingRay 4H. ”SunBlue”. 2005
    Bongo 4H. Sapphire Black. 2005
    GENZ-BENZ & ORANGE amps...

    https://www.facebook.com/DanSmithBassist/

  6. #6

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    Thanks HEAPS for the great feedback guys.
    I tried similar product to Murphys (couldnt find that in Aus) but to no avail.
    I have started giving the neck a light test sand and it looks like that is the way I will progress.
    Probably end up with a gunstock oil finish.
    I will post some progress pics here as I move forward.

    Thanks again folks.
    Greg.

  7. #7

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    The back of the neck is definitely oiled, since you can see where the headstock finish ends. The fretboard is most likely oiled as well. It doesn't look like a finish wore off, it just looks a bit dirty.

    mind you, it's never going to get completely "like new", but it may definitely improve.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / 3 Band EQ / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood FB / 3 Band EQ/ AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck

  8. #8

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    Thumbs up

    Can only be an improvement.
    Greg.

  9. #9

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    You can build up multiple coats of Tru Oil on the neck if you want some extra protection. I did 8 coats on 2 of my Stingrays and it's close to a glossy shiny finish looks wise. Check youtube, there's a couple of nice tutorials. Do a coat per day, let it dry, repeat next day. Finish off with Gunstock Wax once you're done (meaning - as many coats as you want).

  10. #10

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    Thanks for the feedback mouth. Thats exactly the direction I will take.
    I have scraped and sanded the neck and fretboard, and managed to locate some Tru-oil yesterday.
    Im really pleased with the way it is all turning out so far and have taken pics along the way.
    I will post them up soon.
    Greg.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg in Perth View Post
    Thanks for the feedback mouth. Thats exactly the direction I will take.
    I have scraped and sanded the neck and fretboard, and managed to locate some Tru-oil yesterday.
    Im really pleased with the way it is all turning out so far and have taken pics along the way.
    I will post them up soon.
    Greg.
    Excellent! Nothing like a good maintenance. Tru Oil is very easy to work with and gives great results. Looking forward to seeing pics!

  12. #12

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    As with any advice, take this as advice only. Since you have handled the cleaning and oiling and are probably satisfied with that, from the pics I saw, have the frets evened out. There are some pretty good dips in some of them. If you know how..bam! If not. Find a decent luthier in your area to do it. When you start playing it regularly, it will make a huge difference, especially for buzzing which is likely to happen.



    Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk

  13. #13

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    Thanks brash. Well spotted and very good advice.
    The more i get into this the more I am appreciating the overall condition of the guitar in general.
    I'm quite sure this will clean up to a really nice looking bass and have decided its worth the investment in a Plek service.
    Hopefully there is still enough in the frets to clean up with Plek but if not I will get it refretted or maybe even consider a fretless conversion :-)
    The body on this one is gloss black and I have found a perfect matching nail polish to touch up some very minor chips back to timber.
    I will enlighten all as I progress.
    Greg.

  14. #14

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    Is coming along GOOD!!!!

    Well I finally finished sanding and scraping (and sanding) the neck to my liking and have completed 6 coats (I think?) of Tru-oil. I also took the opportunity to give the hardware and electronics a good going over by dousing the pots with contact cleaner, and polishing all the hard parts on the bench polisher.
    All of it has turned out really good and even dissected the tuning machines to give them the once over.
    Its off to my first ever appointment with a PLEK machine tomorrow as I recon the Stingray deserves the best.
    I will keep all updated on how that turns out.
    I also purchased 4 different colored pic guards as I couldn't decide which look I like. I might post some pics here for general consensus.
    And, as they say, "pics or it didn't happen"
    Greg.
    "HELP" advice, opinion on reconditioning maple neck and fingerboard.-20190705-20190705_221031-jpg
    "HELP" advice, opinion on reconditioning maple neck and fingerboard.-20190705-20190705_221056-jpg
    "HELP" advice, opinion on reconditioning maple neck and fingerboard.-20190705-20190705_221135-jpg
    "HELP" advice, opinion on reconditioning maple neck and fingerboard.-20190705-20190705_221255-jpg

  15. #15

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    Thumbs up

    Came out great. Much better.
    Do you have the original matte black pickguard?
    1979 StingRay natural maple

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