Factory Defects on Satin Poly Neck - 2016 American Elite Strat

Wooly Mammoth

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I have a 2016 American Elite Strat that I got heavily discounted ($1200) from Adorama in 2016.
I bought it on a whim as it was such a good deal I couldn't pass it up. I was afraid to really play it much so it sat in the case mostly for several years. I'm not sure why these didn't sell but I love the color (Sky Burst Metallic), neck, gen4 noiseless pickups, hardware and S1 switching.

I love pretty much everything about it except it has some very small pitting (under a microscope they look like small empty circles) in the Satin finish on the bottom of the neck.

Recently I decided I'm going to play or sell it and I discovered the issue with the finish on the neck. I'm past warranty obviously and Fender can't even find an authorized dealer who they can recommend to refinishing. They will not go anywhere near recommending how to smooth out the imperfection other than saying you can buff it out to be glossy. Not an option.

This is the only imperfection on the guitar and unfortunately you can feel it quite well when you slide you hand up and down the neck.

Is there any way to sand this imperfection down while also retaining the satin finish?

If it were gloss finish I would just wet sand it with some micro mesh all the way to 12000 grit. I do not know what to do with a Satin finish however.
The satin neck is really nice and no way do I want to sand it gloss. Under the microscope I can tell there is enough material there to remove some of the poly build up without going to wood but again the trick is keeping the satin feel.

If I repair my camera macro lens I may be able to post pictures of the pitting. Let me work on that now.

(PLEASE DON'T MENTION SCOTCH BRITE OR STEEL WOOL. NOT GOING THERE!)
 
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lonewalk78

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I would try sanding with very high grit and see what it feels like. You can always move down in grit but if you start to aggressive you risk taking off more then needed. I've sanding many necks down to get a feel I like and it's never been an issue.
 

Wooly Mammoth

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I would try sanding with very high grit and see what it feels like. You can always move down in grit but if you start to aggressive you risk taking off more then needed. I've sanding many necks down to get a feel I like and it's never been an issue.
Have you ever sanded a Satin Poly neck this way? Most of the videos and tutorials I find are people trying to turn their gloss neck into a satin type finish. Not starting with a satin and trying to keep it that way.
 

Wooly Mammoth

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Sounds like someone left some air bubbles in they forgot to sand out. Hank Coffey did a spot repair like yours and posted a couple of videos. I don’t see any reason you couldn’t sand out the spots and finish with a satin poly like Hank did.
Thanks. That's a good video. I don't think I will need any satin poly or a brush. I do have 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000 etc but I am going to go ahead and order that Micro Mesh I've wanted since learning about it on Phillip McKnight's channel.

I normally dive right in with new tasks/jobs but this is a guitar and job I am experienced enough to now not to dive in until you really have a solid plan and done research.
 

schmee

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Without pics, my opinion is to leave it. Mention it when you sell , if it's minimal tell them something like "you cant see them from 2 ft away" (if it's true!) If they are visible, it could take a lot of finish removal to get them out.
You could easily make it worse.
 

Wooly Mammoth

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Without pics, my opinion is to leave it. Mention it when you sell , if it's minimal tell them something like "you cant see them from 2 ft away" (if it's true!) If they are visible, it could take a lot of finish removal to get them out.
You could easily make it worse.
I am going to err on the side of leaving it if I don't have confidence of doing it right.

That being said I will get it fixed one way or another. The problem isn't the way it looks. What really bugs me is its a functional problem on one of my favorite parts of the guitar. I love the neck feel, compound radius etc.

I have another guitar I love (DBZ Royale FM with Seymour Duncan Hot Rodded PUs) that has a chip on the god awful headstock design but it's cosmetic so I got over it quickly.
 

johnnylaw

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I had Musikraft build me the ideal Tele neck some years back. Not unlike myself, the guitar passed through some rough patches, questionable accommodations, and a lady you would not bring home to meet your mother.
Among the resulting scars are a collection of significant dings and depressions on the back of the neck down around the fourth and fifth fret area. (From an awesome guitar strap buckle.)
I play that guitar so much that I have to think about it to notice them now.
There is nothing like mileage. Flog that puppy!
 

schmee

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I had Musikraft build me the ideal Tele neck some years back. Not unlike myself, the guitar passed through some rough patches, questionable accommodations, and a lady you would not bring home to meet your mother.
Among the resulting scars are a collection of significant dings and depressions on the back of the neck down around the fourth and fifth fret area. (From an awesome guitar strap buckle.)
I play that guitar so much that I have to think about it to notice them now.
There is nothing like mileage. Flog that puppy!
New song title: "Flog That Puppy"! Or is that a band? 🤪
 

Wooly Mammoth

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I have pics of the blemish.

As I said before its very obvious while sliding your hand down the neck. This is a close up to give some clue as to what the blemish is.

20220119_215609_HDR.jpg
 

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stratisfied

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Are those spots discolored like that? If so, you'll have to sand the back of the neck down and refinish. If they are shallow, you may be able to sand them out. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. A stain wipe on poly refin on the neck up to the cove where it meets the headstock would be undetectable if done right.
 

Wooly Mammoth

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Are those spots discolored like that? If so, you'll have to sand the back of the neck down and refinish. If they are shallow, you may be able to sand them out. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. A stain wipe on poly refin on the neck up to the cove where it meets the headstock would be undetectable if done right.
The holes are much smaller. Keep in mind this was a significantly magnified picture. You can't see holes with a naked eye but you sure can feel the increased friction in the area and see some spots.

From what I see magnified, which you can tell better in real viewing than the images, the holes don't seem to go down to wood. I'm hoping to just sand them out but I want to keep the satin finish as close as possible so going to a high grit sanding paper is probably not a good idea.

I wonder how Fender finishes their satin poly necks?
 

naneek

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Have you ever sanded a Satin Poly neck this way? Most of the videos and tutorials I find are people trying to turn their gloss neck into a satin type finish. Not starting with a satin and trying to keep it that way.
yes and it works. I used high grit sand paper to take the thick uneven satin finish on my squier down to a more comfortable and even satin finish.
 




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