It was missing the pickguard, nut and the bridge wasn't correct. I tried to talk them down on the price and they said that they couldn't go down on the price and I started looking at other stuff. Then they offered me a Johnson Strat free if I bought the M72. Well....I guess so!
I like the feel of the neck. The nut is a little narrow but once I go up a few frets it’s fine. Mine was a learning tool too. I’ve done more than a few mods. Some I liked , some I changed back . Like you’ve been told ,it may be a rabbit hole but it’s worth it to gain skills
The headstock is not "unvarnished". It and the neck were originally finished with SATIN poly. Somewhere along the line, part of the neck was oversprayed or finished with a different material that is shinier - perhaps as part of a refret. You would need to test it to determine what the overspray is. If you want less gloss and to blend in with the headstock satin, you can use 3M light gray scratch pads (0 steel wool equivalent).