Any tips on keeping my Rickenbacker neck beautiful?

conanb

Member
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1,057
I'm talking about the varnish/seal that's painted in the fretboard. I love it and would hate to see it damaged or decay due to my negligence. Any tips? Or just leave it alone?
 
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GrungeMan

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6,501
Put it in it's case...close the lid...never touch it again or, don't worry about it, play the guitar and let it wear naturally. What did you buy it for?
 
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conanb

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1,057
Yeah, I'll be honest with you. Not that helpful.
It's my #1. I play it at every rehearsal and gig. It's got a really unique finish on the neck and I'd like to preserve it as it is. I've seen all kinds of treatments for various types of wood that keep a fretboard from wearing out too much over the years but they're all for wood finish. This is a varnish/seal finish. It's a vintage Rick (90's) so it's getting to that point where it's age may become a factor in upkeep. Any Rick owners out there that do anything to maintain that lovely gloss finish? I've seen some pics of cracks forming in the varnish/seal and I'd like to avoid it if at all possible.
 

Dubious

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2,155
imo that neck finish is terrible and bound to get worn if it's indeed your number one - just sooooooo thick and goopy.

i was out at my buddy's / luthiers shop a couple weeks ago:


 

treble

Member
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40
Yeah, I'll be honest with you. Not that helpful.
It's my #1. I play it at every rehearsal and gig. It's got a really unique finish on the neck and I'd like to preserve it as it is. I've seen all kinds of treatments for various types of wood that keep a fretboard from wearing out too much over the years but they're all for wood finish. This is a varnish/seal finish. It's a vintage Rick (90's) so it's getting to that point where it's age may become a factor in upkeep. Any Rick owners out there that do anything to maintain that lovely gloss finish? I've seen some pics of cracks forming in the varnish/seal and I'd like to avoid it if at all possible.
I have a '89 330 and noticed cracks forming in the finish as well after years of gigging. I would wipe it down after every practice and gig, and give it a once over every sting change btw.

I took it to one of the most respected shops in my city, and asked the luthier to give it a once over.

I specifically asked about the cracks in the finish, and he laughed, saying that many pay good money for relics and I had the authentic kind.

Time and the climate up here in Toronto aren't always kind to instruments, but there's not always much we can do. Take solace that a Ric's finish is much more durable than most other guitars and enjoy it :)
 

drive-south

Member
Messages
2,280
Lacquer cracks due to extreme temp and humidity. Keeping it in a safe environment and you can avoid most problems. Wipe it down with a little lemon oil once every blue moon.
 

great-case.com

a.k.a. "Mitch"
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5,748
I love my lacquered fret boards... slick and smooth. Bends are infinitely easier than on any of my open pored woods, but I have to admit that the sound of my Brazi RW and Ebony ƒretBoards is quite a bit more snappy compare to my lacquered maple ƒBoards.

There is no way to keep the lacquered fretboard from eventually showing the strain of sting contact and fingernails strikes. The gloss is going to weather, but well after the shine is gone, there is probably plenty of lacq left for a few (and I mean only a few) buffing sessions. Eventually, a refinish is warranted, but it shouldn't be necessary any more frequently than a fret job.

If it is cracking, you need a better storage solution. Moisture variations are very easy to eliminate. At the min, look into Ameritage™ and HumiCase™ - nice cases at great prices. I also design and build storage solutions if you have the time to look me up. Next time you're in Cleveland OH, go into that little museum they have there and you'll see my work hosting a couple nice guitars.
 

misa

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,612
Enjoy it and if the fingerboard lacquer ever gets to the point that it bothers you, you can have it refinished.

Moisture control and not abusing the fretboard should suffice.
 

conanb

Member
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1,057
Lacquer! That's the word! Its stored in a dry house that doesn't suffer from humidity/damp issues and here in Ireland we don't get too extreme weather or much in the way of drastic temp changes. No sign of cracking or much wear and tear yet. Suppose I'm just pre empting but thanks for all the tips.
 

Clark GriswoId

Looks Great. Little Full, Lotta Sap.
Silver Supporting Member
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3,755
Wipe it down to take the oils off and let it be- what happens happens
 

Jonny G

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1,513
Am curious at this discussion. There's another Rickenbacker thread (NGD 360) where the owner made the comment that in order to become more playable, its better that the gloss wears off as they are a bit slidy for solo guitar work - this was in answer to my query that Id heard Rickenbackers are good rythm guitars but maybe not so great for the twiddly stuff.

Curious on your views on this
 

conanb

Member
Messages
1,057
Am curious at this discussion. There's another Rickenbacker thread (NGD 360) where the owner made the comment that in order to become more playable, its better that the gloss wears off as they are a bit slidy for solo guitar work - this was in answer to my query that Id heard Rickenbackers are good rythm guitars but maybe not so great for the twiddly stuff.

Curious on your views on this
I really don't see why a "slidy" neck would make lead work more difficult. As I stated above, its my #1 and I'm the only guitar player in the band so I do both rhythm and lead. Mines also short scale so I can imagine for some its the absolute nightmare scenario but as someone who has spent most of his life playing a Les Paul I can tell you that this Rick, with its short glossy neck, is the most comfortable guitar I've ever played and it suits me best. Horses for courses, I guess you'll never know til you actually try one out.
 

Jonny G

Member
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1,513
I really don't see why a "slidy" neck would make lead work more difficult. As I stated above, its my #1 and I'm the only guitar player in the band so I do both rhythm and lead. Mines also short scale so I can imagine for some its the absolute nightmare scenario but as someone who has spent most of his life playing a Les Paul I can tell you that this Rick, with its short glossy neck, is the most comfortable guitar I've ever played and it suits me best. Horses for courses, I guess you'll never know til you actually try one out.
Thanks - fair enough. In classic TGP fashion i suspect there will be five different opinions amongst four guitartists, so to speak, hence the need to ask around. They are pretty rare animals - particularly in Europe so not a lot of chance to check them out.
 

Gray

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128
Rickenbacker finishes typically don't "wear off" like other guitars. Prior to 2010 they were using a conversion varnish that ages a bit like nitro but is much tougher stuff. My Rick is ~36 years old and despite showing wear and tear elsewhere the fretboard is still perfect due to the finish. After 2010 they began using a UV-cured poly finish that's even tougher, but i'm not a big fan of poly.
 
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conanb

Member
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1,057
Thanks - fair enough. In classic TGP fashion i suspect there will be five different opinions amongst four guitartists, so to speak, hence the need to ask around. They are pretty rare animals - particularly in Europe so not a lot of chance to check them out.
So true. I'm in Ireland and its the only lacquered neck I've ever tried so it must be more of a U.S. thing. I'd love to try more tho :)
 

conanb

Member
Messages
1,057
Rickenbacker finishes typically don't "wear off" like other guitars. Prior to 2010 they were using a conversion varnish that ages a bit like nitro but is much tougher stuff. My Rick is ~36 years old and despite showing wear and tear elsewhere the fretboard is still perfect due to the finish. After 2010 they began using a UV-cured poly finish that's even tougher, but i'm not a big fan of poly.
Very interesting (and encouraging). Cheers
 




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