Fix my guitar's neck
February 23, 2006 3:02 PM   Subscribe

I have a Martin Backpacker Guitar that I love. I bought it 2nd hand and haven't taken all that good care of it, so the back of the neck has a fair number of small dents (like it would get from being banged against sharp edges) in the wood. This looks crappy and is distracting when moving up and down the fretboard, especially using a slide. What method could I use to fix theses nicks? I'm thinking some sort of wood-paste and fine sandpaper, but don't want it to come out looking like crap. Please don't use brand names, as I'm in Chile and while I can probably find the same products, they'll have different names.
posted by signal to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
Maybe you don't need as much filler as you think. Try this.
posted by flabdablet at 3:28 PM on February 23, 2006

Try this.

But don't put polyurethane on the neck of a Martin (even a backpacker), please. And don't sand the neck, as it could compromise the integrity of the neck and cause you action & intonation problems. You could sand a little tiny bit of the neck and be ok, probably, but don't sand big sections of it.

(or perhaps there's a real luthier out there who will say I'm overly alarmist, but sanding a guitar neck scares me)
posted by JekPorkins at 3:39 PM on February 23, 2006

Response by poster: I'm trying it in 2 spots, let you guys know how it works out.
And don't worry, JekProkins, the sanding would be very small and precise.
posted by signal at 3:58 PM on February 23, 2006

When my bass needed repairs (a crack in the neck right at the stock), I couldn't find a luthier at the time, and took it to a music store specializing in band equipment. They sent it out to someone who usually repaired violins. He charged much less than his usual fee because it was a simpler fix for him. (I don't know why, maybe because it didn't require as much precision?) Perhaps that's an option for you if the home fix doesn't work?
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:16 PM on February 23, 2006

I would try a build up of shellac. Just wipe the neck down with a fairly heavy cut (3-4lb) every other day. It'll fill in the dents with numerous coats and is reversible.
posted by Mitheral at 6:55 PM on February 23, 2006

As an amateur luthier, my suspicion is that you will not be pleased with your results.

Have you tried steaming the dents out? Martin necks are, I believe, finished with nitro - steam goes right through it, inflates the crushed wood fibers and can sometimes remove a dent. Don't overdo it.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:55 PM on February 23, 2006

My advice? Get thee to a luthier. Chile has them, too, I'm sure of it! Yes, the Backpacker is not a standard guitar, but that shouldn't really matter too much, especially for this kind of repair.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 10:20 AM on February 24, 2006

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