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Neck Speed Meme


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I heard about this somewhere a couple of years ago, and I’ve been hearing it ever since.

 

The notion of players being encouraged to lightly abrade the back of their glossy guitar necks in order to improve speed moving up & down the neck.

I was of the opinion that this idea was nonsense.

 

A while ago I found this being advertised as a custom guitar design feature at a luthiers website. This disappointed me and lessened my confidence in the man altogether.

At a shop in Exeter a salesman pointed out this ‘silken’ neck finish as a desirable feature to ‘improve speed’ until I told him I was a sceptic.

 

Or is it nonsense?

I’m prepared to be convinced that it works for some people.

 

It doesn’t work for me. I let go of the neck when changing hand position. But even if I didn’t, is it going to speed me up? I don’t think so.

 

Sometimes at a gig, my hands may get sweaty. So I go and wash them at the first opportunity. It doesn’t matter what surface finish the neck has, excess sweat will be a nuisance. Even so, it’s never speed that is impeded, just the feel.

 

Is this advice just another myth that some people are taking seriously? I suspect it has spread amongst the metal-shred young players because the trigger word ‘speed’ is being used.

 

This idea concerns the back of the neck. What about the front? We know that many players keep fingers in contact with the strings because we hear it at concerts & on recordings. The ‘swishing sound’ of fingers dragging across wound strings is unmistakable. There is certainly some friction involved there, so why are we not encouraged to swap over to flat wound strings for the same reason?

 

I find it strange.

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The best way to increase your playing speed is practice.

 

Practice as fast as you can but still playing accurately. Do it again and again and again and again and the speed will come all by itself.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

 

The advice specifically targets movement up and down the neck, not playing speed per sae.

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I've got 20 guitars with all different types of finishes.

 

My US fender maple necks are totally different than my USA Gibson and Epiphone necks.

 

My taylors have a satin finish on the necks, my alvarez 1978 DY74 is gloss..

 

I honestly don't notice any difference what so ever in moving around on them I don't even think about it..

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I find that as you pointed out, it's more a matter of feel than actual speed, but I prefer a satin neck. A gloss finish under hot stage lights with damp/sweaty palms makes my hand feel like it's dragging up & down the back of the neck. Just my particular comfort zone...

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The notion of players being encouraged to lightly abrade the back of their glossy guitar necks in order to improve speed moving up & down the neck.

I was of the opinion that this idea was nonsense.

 

Why would you think this to be nonsense?

I take a Scotchbrite pad to all my poly coated necks and make them satin smooth.

Takes very little time and money. And makes a world of difference for me.

Makes it much easier for my hand/thumb to slide.

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Guest Farnsbarns

I tend not to grip the neck when I'm sliding my hand along so I find the drag coefficient between my hand and the neck to be so minimal as to not notice. Obviously a satin finish will feel different but does it make me play faster? I don't think so. I rarely play that fast that my hand is flying up and down the neck though. If I am playing a fast run I tend to play across the strings instead of a long them. Not conciously, it just happens.

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I don't on the old nitro finished guitars, but on the '84 Strat-ish guitar (poly) I do rub it with steel wool to remove glossiness during summer as I live in an environment that is quite humid then and i find it gets slightly sticky. i much prefer the feel that way. as for speed, there are far more limiting factors for me than the neck finish [laugh]

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My living room guitar a Yamaha Compass is the only one I have sanded down with 1000 grit and wee bit of water. This being a glossy black guitar the neck was always a bit sticky regardless of sweat or frequent cleanings. I thought I went to far when I saw another paint tone coming thru. Well the guitar felt and played much more pleasantly. I wouldn't recommend this technique on just any guitar.

 

And the back of neck turned back to glossy black in a couple of months, could never tell it had been sanded, (until I sanded again), takes a few months but that darn black gloss will reoccur and cause a bit of friction.

 

 

 

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Why would you think this to be nonsense?

I take a Scotchbrite pad to all my poly coated necks and make them satin smooth.

Takes very little time and money. And makes a world of difference for me.

Makes it much easier for my hand/thumb to slide.

 

Good answer. You find it easier.

 

If you read the OP fully, it answers your question.

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