Is it possible to lightly roll the edges of a finished maple neck?

LaMarr-Bruister

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I have a tele with a nitro finished maple neck. The guitar is outstanding in every way but the sharp edge on the fingerboard. It's not a 90*, but it isn't as rolled as the American Deluxe that I have. My thumb tends to hang over a bit and after playing a long session with it, I can occasionally feel the difference in comfort.

Is it possible to lightly roll the top edge of a nitro-finished neck or would it require refinishing the neck? I don't want to go down that path. I'm also pretty content to take it to a pro if that's a better option - no shame in this game :)

Thanks!
 

gb Custom Shop

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Just about any method of rolling the fretboard edge will cut into the laquer coat. You don't necessarily NEED to recoat it, but it would probably look better if you did 🙂

If you do decide to do it yourself, just be cautious not to overdo it. You don't want to lose any playing real estate (i.e have your e strings slip off the edge too easily)
 

Slowtwitch

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You'll need to touch up the nitro, or leave the edge unfinished as stated above. Dan from Stew mac has a vid of using a cheap airbrush. that's how he does it
 

telemnemonics

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If youre keeping the guitar you can just seal the tiny bit of bare wood with a wipe on "Tung oil finish" product.

But also consider that if you consider yourself a musician and play a lot, your hand will toughen up just like the old days before rolled fingerboards became a thing.

If you do decide to sand off material, remember that the fret ends are at the exact edge of the board.
So if you sand the whole edge the way some rolled boards are done, you then have to file all the fret ends, and may even notice your low E is too close to the ends of the frets.

That is one style of rolled fingerboard done on some FCS guitars for maximum confort, but I have to wonder if it only serves the collector who doesnt really play music as much as collect beautiful guitars.

As far as feeling a slight difference between one neck and the other?
If you are always in the first position playing oen chords, sanding between the frets without removing and metal may help.
But if you use the whole neck and slide barre chords or slide up and down at all, its the fret ends your thumb feels.
So you need to renove metal to change the feel into a more comfy soft edge.
 

schmee

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You'll have to recoat the edge. You cant roll it, but could file or sand it. I find almost universally it ends up with a "scalloped roll" , non uniform between frets if filing or sanding along the grain. Across the edge seems to have a better chance of being uniform.
If the frets are not in the neck, then the opposite.... and that's when to radius the edge.
I HATE sharp edge fretboards and they disappear from my gear immediately.
 

Fenderbaum

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Done it on all my Maple necks.. i lightly roll them to knock of the sharp edge..I just leave it as is afterwards except for tinting them to match the color of the rest of the necks. I could recoat with a brush but i see no point for such a small detail.
I play my guitars, i don´t study them..
lAjstWL.jpg
 
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Boreas

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One reason to refinish afterward is to keep the fret tangs sealed, otherwise they can corrode. Probably easiest to just use a coupla coats of tinted wipe-on product after you shape/polish the fret ends.
 

Boreas

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I don't carve around the fret ends when rolling.

Then it may not be an issue for you. Just bringing it up since you asked.

If the finish on the wood is gone, the raw maple can absorb sweat, and along with that, body acids that can corrode the frets - turns the tangs green or sometimes black - just like strings. Most people won't sweat enough for it to matter, but some people do. The tangs never get much physical rubbing, so the corrosion builds. it isn't the end of the world if it does, but could require a refret to get rid of.
 

ponycar

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I will slightly roll maple necks unless it's a really high end guitar that I may give a damn about eventual resale. I try not to preserve my things for someone else. I first take a 3m Xtra fine sanding sponge and run along the edges both parallel and perpendicular to the length of the neck varying the angle.
The compliance of the sponge helps. Once the finish is thinning and the fret end bevel is softening I carefully use a chrome plated screw driver shaft perpendicular to the neck length to round the edges between each fret. Vary the angle. Consistently. Gently. Sand again. Gently. In general I then tint the edge with either tinted shellac or Stew Mac straw dye in alcohol, depending on the original tint. To seal a laquer neck I mask and hit one light coat of clear spray satin. With poly finishes one sparing wipe of an appropriate poly. Polish with Finesse or an appropriate compound.
Practice on a a cheap neck.
 




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