i have a jackson dk2m, love the feel of the neck, it's doesn't have a satin feel to it but it doesn't feel like a gloss neck like my strat. If i slide my palms around the jackson dk2m's neck, it feels very smooth and fast while doing the same with the strat i can feel slight resistance.

according to jackson the jackson dk2m has an hand rubbed oil finished neck, is this completely different from a gloss coat or a satin coat?

basically an unfinished neck finished with oil?
Last edited by musicandthewave at Sep 15, 2014,
Usually when we talk about a gloss or satin coat, it means there's some sort of polyester/nitro/lacquer sealer on the neck. A gloss coat and some satin coats have another finish layer on top of the sealer.

With a gloss neck, you're just feeling the paint. With a satin layer, it feels like you're playing on bare wood. You're not really, but the finish is much thinner and you can feel the grain.

Oil finishes are even more minimalist than a satin poly coat, they are rubbed with an oil that seals the neck to some degree (to protect it from moisture) but leaves a very 'raw' finish, basically like playing bare wood.

A very few places make an actual raw neck, without no sealer or protectant whatsoever, but there is some concern that those necks might warp or twist because they have no protection against moisture. Manufacturers don't generally like the risk associated with that, so it's very rare to see a truly raw neck. Oiled necks are a favorite substitute, they feel raw but protect the wood enough to satisfy most customers. A downside is that the oil is more porous, so if it gets dirty it's going to stay dirty without some serious work. Gloss finishes are much easier to clean.

So, the short answer is that it's different from what we usually call a gloss or a satin coat, since it uses a different wood sealer and has no top layer of lacquer or paint. Visually, you could reasonably call it a 'satin' finish and not be wrong, but typically a satin finish on a guitar implies some sort of sealer.
It is a neck finished only with oil, yes. The reason not all necks are done like this is that it just make the neck much more suspectible to warping, since moisture from the environment or the player's sweat can get into the wood and ruin it. With some brands, mainly Charvel and the like which focus on the "shred"-genre, it is a feature because the necks are much smoother and it is generally preferred for that type of playing. It is a trade-off that is done for the feel.

A satin or gloss finished neck is generally completely sealed with either nitrocellulose laquer (mainly Gibson) or a poly-finish. This makes the neck much more resistant to changes in humidity, since not much can penetrate the finish. This is by far the most common way to make guitar necks, and also the traditional, for obvious reasons stated above.

With that said, not all oil-finished necks get ruined. It is just more likely.

Another trade off that isn't as drastic is that an unfinished maple fretboard turns very dirty with playing as oils from the player's hands is taken up by the wood, and this is hard to clean without sanding the neck.

Taking care of an unfinished neck is done in different ways. Some players lightly sand their necks with fine steelwool and apply new oil to them after a few years, others just play them.

Be careful about letting it absorb moisture and you will most likely be fine.
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Quote by HomerSGR
It is a neck finished only with oil, yes.

With that said, not all oil-finished necks get ruined. It is just more likely.

Just to be clear, "oil-finished" necks are actually finished with something like linseed oil (usually boiled linseed oil) or tung oil finish (which may not contain any tung oil in raw form at all). These are actually "wiping varnishes", and soak into the wood and polymerize there. Oil finishes don't give you much protection against dirt and moisture, and are usually better for closet queen guitars that won't see much use. They ARE a satin-finish in most cases (though you can build up a good semi-gloss with them) and they're used because some guitarists think they're less sticky than gloss finishes.

The better option (in my view) is to finish the neck with a satin poly. It's easily the most durable choice, offers better ding, moisture and dirt protection, and still provides all the benefits (fast play) associated with an oil-finished neck.

I have two koa guitars finished with tung-oil finish, including one that's also got tung-oil finish on the body. They're gorgeous when new. I have one, however, that was used extensively, and the body is filthy and it's nearly impossible to reverse this without sanding the thing down to bare wood. I'd never, EVER order a guitar with an oil finish new unless it were mostly going to be a showpiece that saw minimal use.

Just as a side note; I used to make black walnut stocks in highly figured woods for very high-end firearms, and the finish of choice was always "hand-rubbed oil" -- meaning boiled linseed oil (available these days as "Tru-Oil"). It was a time-consuming process that produced beautiful results, but a large part of my business was re-doing the stocks after a couple of years of hunting. The hunters who did a LOT of hunting eventually swapped out their blued guns and walnut stocks for stainless guns and plastic (or laminated wood impregnated with resin) stocks. Not as pretty but infinitely more practical.