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Old 04-07-2013, 12:42 PM   #1
Minimallamb
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Adding colour to a guitar neck?

Is it possible to change the colour of the guitar neck using ink? I much prefer unfinished necks to the lacquered ones so I was wondering if staining the wood with ink would keep its colour without rubbing off, without having to lacquer it.
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:04 PM   #2
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Just use wood stain...
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:27 PM   #3
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Do you want to stain it for the color, or to keep in unfinished? If you only want it to be unfinished, then just sand it down and put a coat or two of tru-oil on it. It will feel unfinished, but it will be protected.
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Old 04-07-2013, 04:06 PM   #4
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I wanted a colour (probably red) but with the feel of an unfinished neck. So a coloured neck without lacquer. Wood stain looks like the best option, thanks
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Old 04-07-2013, 04:41 PM   #5
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You can't use the neck raw with stain, it'll warp.

What wood is the neck made of? Some necks can be used raw so long as they are at least sealed decently. Others can't be used raw, period. Some are fifty-fifty. Similarly, some woods can be dyed, some stains, some can't take anything other than paint.

Wudtone are your best bet for a simple coloured finish that can be applied to most common neck woods and it can be left satin so it doesn't have a glossy feel.

Whatever wood you have, a smart thing to do would be to paint it accordingly and then spray it with satin poly. Satin nitro eventually rubs glossy, but satin poly stays satin. Most necks that people think are unfinished actually have a few layers of satin poly on them. Poly is easy to spray.
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Old 04-07-2013, 05:14 PM   #6
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I don't have a neck at the moment, it was a hypothetical question. If I were to buy one, it would probably be a maple neck. Thanks for the advise, its really helped me out
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFlibble
You can't use the neck raw with stain, it'll warp.

Please elaborate.
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:43 PM   #8
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Maple necks (among many others, but let's go with maple as an example because that's what OP will probably use) can't be used without a finish. They are prone to warping over time; the wood simply isn't strong and stable enough without a hard finish (some people consider oil finishes enough protection, too). A wood stain does not constitute a hard finish and will not protect the neck sufficiently to stop it twisting. Additionally, rock maple does not take stains or dyes well (the maple you often see dyed on guitar tops is a different type to the stuff used for necks, which has to be denser). So OP couldn't use stain on it and even if they could they would still need to give it a thick finish anyway, which isn't what they're after. Raw maple is out of the question unless you don't mind setting trashing necks and having to buy new ones.
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Old 04-07-2013, 07:07 PM   #9
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I dont see how something as hard, dense, and straight-grained as a rock maple neck isnt strong or stable enough, even with a truss rod.
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Old 04-07-2013, 07:11 PM   #10
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Because being dense and hard isn't enough. There's a good reason why companies such as Musikraft and Warmoth deny you a warranty if you choose to buy a maple neck without a hard finish on it. As someone who has repeatedly had to fit new necks to guitars ruined by owners stripping the finish off their guitars' necks, I can vouch for the danger this poses.
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Old 04-07-2013, 07:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Invader Jim
I dont see how something as hard, dense, and straight-grained as a rock maple neck isnt strong or stable enough, even with a truss rod.

It's not about strong or stable it is, it's about moisture changes and how they affect the wood. I suppose if he lives somewhere that doesn't experience big humidity changes, and he never travels, he could leave it unfinished.

I'm going to say it again, tru-oil. It will protect the wood while still feeling unfinished. And it it super easy to apply. I'd use an alcohol based aniline dye or an oil based stain, and then hit it with tru-oil.
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Old 04-07-2013, 07:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFlibble
You can't use the neck raw with stain, it'll warp.


That is completely not true...
Being exposed to the air doesnt cause a piece of wood to warp. It will cause it to change a bit, not just completely warp 100% of the time.

The only thing that actually causes a piece of wood to warp is if its not dry when used, then it dries out.

Wood doesnt just warp for no reason. If that was true then every bit of raw lumber would be twisted and warped. I have had raw wood for about 6 years in my garage, and it never warps, because it was already dry when i stored it.

OP,
You dont want a raw piece of wood with just stain. It will come off and smudge forever.It needs to be sealed with something.
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Explorerbuilder
That is completely not true...
Being exposed to the air doesnt cause a piece of wood to warp. It will cause it to change a bit, not just completely warp 100% of the time.

You dont want a raw piece of wood with just stain. It will come off and smudge forever.It needs to be sealed with something.

Very true, just think a bit about it... It's not like lacquer is a magical wood-dryer.

Also, leaving stained wood raw is just asking for trouble, it just sucks so very hard to stop playing and realizing that your hand is suddenly purple. If you want a somewhat fast feel, just use a non-glossy finish.
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:17 PM   #14
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Nobody ever said lacquer was a wood dryer. sure it helps keep out moisture and such but wood is gonna move and change no matter how dry it is or how much finish is on it. thats why necks are made of such hard woods and have truss rods to counteract these effects.
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Invader Jim
Nobody ever said lacquer was a wood dryer. sure it helps keep out moisture and such but wood is gonna move and change no matter how dry it is or how much finish is on it. thats why necks are made of such hard woods and have truss rods to counteract these effects.

Dude, I was saying that you both guys were right.

Are you familiar with 'hyperboles'? that was one. I greatly exaggerated the fact that the lacquer isn't what makes the wood hard.
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Old 04-08-2013, 04:37 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Explorerbuilder
Words
Completely missed the point, as usual. Re-read, please.
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:49 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Explorerbuilder
That is completely not true...
Being exposed to the air doesnt cause a piece of wood to warp. It will cause it to change a bit, not just completely warp 100% of the time.

The only thing that actually causes a piece of wood to warp is if its not dry when used, then it dries out.

Wood doesnt just warp for no reason. If that was true then every bit of raw lumber would be twisted and warped. I have had raw wood for about 6 years in my garage, and it never warps, because it was already dry when i stored it.

OP,
You dont want a raw piece of wood with just stain. It will come off and smudge forever.It needs to be sealed with something.


Wood is never completely dry though. Though out its existence, it will absorb and let out moisture, causing it to warp when string tension is applied.

A guitar neck has much less margin of error on what is and isn't considered warped than raw lumber. I've yet to pick up a piece of wood for a guitar that doesn't need some sort of planing to get it strait enough to used.

A finish will slow the moisture exchange, thus keeping the neck more stable. A truss rod will allow for adjustment for bowing, caused by the tension of the strings. But routing the channel actually lessons the stiffness and the rod itself doesn't add any to counter act this. Either way, a truss rod does absolutely zero in fixing the warp of a neck, which is caused by excessive moisture exchange in the wood.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:44 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundjam
A truss rod will allow for adjustment for bowing, caused by the tension of the strings. But routing the channel actually lessons the stiffness and the rod itself doesn't add any to counter act this. Either way, a truss rod does absolutely zero in fixing the warp of a neck, which is caused by excessive moisture exchange in the wood.



Warping is a vague term. A bow in wood is a technically a form of warping... in which the truss rod does counteract said warp... Now looking at other forms are warp, like crooks and twists (probably the worst of warps) these can be minimized greatly with the proper piece of maple... A hard piece of quarter sawn maple will have minimal warping in sense of crooks and twists because of how the grain is aligned in the cut and in respect to string tensions, also quarter sawn wood tends to dry more evenly and as a result warp more evenly in a more controlled manner, once again due to the grain orientation. On top of that The hypothetical neck in question could be quarter sawn pieces laminated in order to enhance the stability.

Anways more on topic for the op's sake, In the even't you get this hypothetical maple neck, I'd recommend using an oil finish, as they are much smoother than lacquers, and do offer some resistance to moisture content in wood. As for colouring the neck, if you have issues getting the colour rich enough, you can try a stain conditioner, or even wipe a very lightly water damped cloth on the neck and allow it to dry and then apply stain. What this does is raise the grain of the wood, which allows you to get a darker and more consistent colour of stain or dye. Although... this may be the last thing you want to do, add more moisture to a neck you want to leave unfinished (which i wouldn't do if you were staining it...) oil at the very least, but that will probably darken the stain more, as most oil finishes darken wood.
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