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Thread: Question: Sanding Stratocaster neck to get EVH style guitar neck feel.

  1. #1
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    Question: Sanding Stratocaster neck to get EVH style guitar neck feel.

    Im asking this here since it seems we have many
    Ernie Ball Musicman EVH / Axis experts here. My question is about EVH Wolfgang neck, tough I hope you don't mind.

    I got my first EVH guitar few years ago. It's stealth black MIM and I really likee how the back of the neck feels. It has natural touch and it has really nice raw feel to it. It feels a bit sticky in a good way. I'm guessing it collects a bit of sweat from the hands i guess. I'm not a big fan of super smooth neck feel. Quite the opposite.

    Now I trying to have similar feel to my Fender AM Standard neck. I got quite close sanding the neck using and using small amount of Tru Oil + Tru oil wax. But it still feels different. It's certainly better. I can feel the wood grains a bit but i's still not quite it. Neck feels still sort of too smooth. Since EVH Wolfgang has quarter sawn maple neck can this affect how the grains feel on the neck? And no, I didn't use ultra smooth sandpaper or steel wool when I sanded the neck.

    Do you have exact information how those EVH necks are handled? What's the correct sandpaper grit to use and exact oil to use (and how many layers etc).

    I haven't had privilege to try any Ernie Ball necks to compare to mine but I feel that the (self applied) tru oil + tru oil wax method didn't quite deliver what I was after. As i understood EVH Stealth neck is handled using Hand rubbed urethane gel neck finish, aka wipe on poly. Could the used oil type have that much of an impact?

    Here's an image of the EVH stealth neck that looks exactly like mine. This has the neck surface feel that I'm after.

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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by playst1321 View Post
    Do you have exact information how those EVH necks are handled? What's the correct sandpaper grit to use and exact oil to use (and how many layers etc).
    I'd be surprised if you are able to uncover that info. It's basically EBMMs "Secret recipe" refined over a R&D process.

    I don't blame you for seeking it though. I just acquired my Axis and the neck on it is just heaven. I brought it over to a buddies house the other day, and the first thing out of his mouth was how awesome the neck feels.

    Good luck. Hopefully you'll bump into an actual Axis and get a better feel for the end goal.
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  3. #3
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    I don't think there's anything proprietary here. Sand until smooth, then oil/wax as detailed here (and on the MM youtube channel). I've done this with other necks and they feel great as well.

    B/C also make a conditioner, which you can use to add some extra slickness to a neck.

    That said, the profile of the necks is one of the reasons they feel so good. The EVH/Axis necks have a very comfortable profile.

  4. #4
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    Welcome to the Forum. Hang out a while, you'll find yourself selling all those Fenders and picking up a Music Man or two.

    I've done it to a Fender neck... came out fantastic, I'd say exactly the same.

    I'd guess it's not so much the grain of the wood, but the prep... how many times you sanded the wood, and then the tru oil, before final application of wax.

    So I think on the neck I used like 400, 800, 1000. Then on the tru oil I used just a smidgeon of 1000, then steel wool, and that's on two coats.

    Having my EBMMs has really sold me on the feel of the necks prepped this way. This one Fender was the only one I've ever done that with, I've sold all my Fenders (and only have EBMMs).

    Good luck
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  5. #5
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    Funnily enough, I started off this way. My first electric guitar was a strat copy I built in high school. Did the neck with just tung oil. It eventually warped, but lasted for years and felt great. I could never really play anyone else's guitar because I was so spoiled by the neck

  6. #6
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    I use a Dremel tool - because I'm a MANLY man!

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  7. #7
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    Hi

    Thanks for the help guys. I really appreciate your input even my question wasn't all Ernie Ball Music Man related. I totally agree what Beej mentioned. That asymmetrical neck profile is at least half of the goodness of that neck. Gotta check those Axis models too.

    Do you happen to know if any other Ernie Ball guitar model than Axis have same kind of neck that Axis has? Unfortunately here where I live we don't have that many models in store to go and test for myself.
    Last edited by playst1321; 03-09-2018 at 09:55 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by playst1321 View Post
    Do you happen to know if any other Ernie Ball guitar model than Axis have same kind of neck that Axis has? Unfortunately here where I live we don't have that many models in store to go and test for myself.
    I was in college when the EBMM EVH debuted and once I got a chance to play one, it was hard to go back to any other type of neck. I couldnít afford to buy an EVH at that time not to mention they were also very hard to purchase as they were continually back-ordered. I tried very hard to replicate the feel of that neck, even going so far as to build an Axis with Warmoth parts. I learned a lot from that build but realized making the neck profile feel the same was not something easily done.

    Funnily, I also tried calling EBMM back then to see if they would sell the neck. In those days, I think BP actually answered the phone and I spoke to him a few times. No, even back then they would only do a replacement neck.

    To answer your question, all of the EBMM guitars have slightly different neck profiles. They all feel a little different. The closest to the Axis might be the 25th/Reflex and maybe the Albert Lee. I havenít had a chance to try a Valentine as Iíve never found one in the local shops. St. Vincent feels similar to an Albert Lee at least the BFR I tried last month with a bound neck. I did notice that the binding makes the neck feel a little different. Not sure I like the sharper edges.
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  9. #9
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    400 or 800 grit. Tru oil wipe on. wipe off after 5 minutes. wait a day or two, then wax to taste. it's not secret at all, and you can read all about how to bring your neck back to like new on this forum.

    Probably would have been less trouble to just get a new neck from warmoth and finish it.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonesullivan View Post
    400 or 800 grit. Tru oil wipe on. wipe off after 5 minutes. wait a day or two, then wax to taste. it's not secret at all, and you can read all about how to bring your neck back to like new on this forum.

    Probably would have been less trouble to just get a new neck from warmoth and finish it.
    Well, there ARE some secrets you left out...

    To be a properly “broken in” neck, after rubbing/sanding the finish off you need to apply a thin patina of fried chicken grease, sprinkle on some Harley Davidson transmission fluid, and finish off a slurry of Kentucky bourbon and Marlboro cigarette ashes.

    To know when you’re done, compare to Internet photos of guitars of Pat Travers or Rory Gallagher to see if you need another round of neck treatment.

    Trust me on this - it’ll play like BUTTAH when finished properly!

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  11. #11
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    My evh musicman neck has shaped my preference in necks. That was in 1991. Since I've bought other ebmms and built a bunch of guitars. I just get unfinished necks made to asymmetrical spec. Never finish them. Your sweat basically cures the wood
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  12. #12
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    Honestly you should save up and get an axis if that's what you like. Or a sport if you dont want the Floyd. There's no comparison. Also the radius has a lot to do with the feel. I'm stuck on a 10 radius. It's just round enough. The most comfortable neck ever.
    Axis "tribute" Solid Gold
    Marshal plexi 1987 x Modded
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  13. #13
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    I've made guitars - quite unique ones too and wanted the exact MM look and finish on the neck.
    after sanding the neck down to remove the varnish, I then sanded to provide the asymmetrical shape for my hand. After making the decals for "my" guitars I varnished them in using many coats of nitro varnish - but masked off using green gorilla tape that gave me the line cut off between the varnish and raw neck. Personally, I prefer the finish after just using the oil and left out the wax - I have also used just the minutest amount of wax. The beauty is if you don't like it just sand back and start again !
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by playst1321 View Post
    Hi

    Thanks for the help guys. I really appreciate your input even my question wasn't all Ernie Ball Music Man related. I totally agree what Beej mentioned. That asymmetrical neck profile is at least half of the goodness of that neck. Gotta check those Axis models too.

    Do you happen to know if any other Ernie Ball guitar model than Axis have same kind of neck that Axis has? Unfortunately here where I live we don't have that many models in store to go and test for myself.
    I think he Stingray guitar has the axis shape on the neck
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  15. #15
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    Thanks for your replies again. Reason I'm asking is EVH Stealth with ebony board is what I like. I just don't like the body shape. It's just my preference and I value yours.

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