How to Refinish & Lacquer a Fender Neck

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The process of refinishing and lacquering a Fender guitar (or bass) neck entails the removal of the neck, sanding and stripping the wood, then the application of clear coat and colored lacquers. Depending on whether the neck has a rosewood, ebony, or maple fretboard, the type of paste stripper and lacquer color choices will vary. By refinishing and lacquering, new guitar necks can be customized to have a vintage appearance and feel.

Things You'll Need

  • Dry clean cloths
  • Paste stripper
  • Sandpaper
  • Clear coat lacquer
  • Colored lacquer
  • Nitrocellulose lacquer
  • Remove the guitar neck from the body by unscrewing the bolts on the back of the neck plate. Cover the sides and face of the neck with cardboard. Cover the head with cardboard and tape.

  • Use a paste stripper on the neck. If the neck has a rosewood or ebony fretboard, use a paste stripper such as Strip Ease to remove synthetic or linseed oil. If the fretboard is maple and ploy-coated (with a shiny surface) use a paste stripper such as Aircraft Remover.

  • Use a fine grade of sandpaper such as 220-240, and lightly apply pressure to evenly sand down the neck. Wipe away wood shavings using a clean dry cloth.

  • Spray a coat of clear lacquer over the neck. Let it dry for an hour, then spray another coat. Let the second coat dry for at least eight hours. After the lacquer is dry, clean any dirt or residue off the frets. Use your fingernail to scrape off any remaining lacquer. Wipe the neck clean with a dry cloth.

  • Choose a colored lacquer to suit the neck wood of your guitar. Refer to a Fender catalog if you wish to match vintage neck shades. From a distance of about twenty inches, lightly spray the neck with a color lacquer. Examine the color and repeat if necessary until the shade appears correct.

  • Spray a coat of clear coat lacquer over the top and allow thirty minutes to dry. If the color is too light, re-spray one coat of the colored lacquer then spray clear coat on top and allow to dry. Repeat this process until the color looks correct.

  • Apply three coats of clear nitrocellulose lacquer to seal the neck. Let the neck dry for a week, then run a fine cloth over the fretboard. Reattach the neck to your guitar. If the surface or color is not to your liking, repeat the process and vary the lacquer shade.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practice spraying the neck lacquer on wood that is similar to the neck of your guitar.
  • Spray the lacquer lightly to avoid streaks in the wood. Use lacquers in a well ventilated area and do not inhale.
  • Ensure that you use a fine grade of sand paper to sand the neck.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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