Shaving/Sanding Down Les Paul or PRS Neck? - Van Halen  
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Guitar Room

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Old 11.06.07, 02:29 PM   #1
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Default Shaving/Sanding Down Les Paul or PRS Neck?

I'm thinking of picking up a used Les Paul Studio or a similar PRS SE guitar but both of these necks are chunky for my smaller hands. The LP Studio has the fat 50's neck and the PRS's have 'wide-fat' necks. Anyone have info, experience, etc., on shaving/sanding down the neck to a thinner profile? I think Zakk's neck is unfinished and I know Jimmy Page had his neck shaved down thin. The thought of an unfinished neck on a LP seems like a great idea anyway to me....

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Old 11.06.07, 02:54 PM   #2
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I hand sanded down the neck of my Strat, eons ago. (It was one of three guitars I used at the time, so I did not miss it while it was out of commission.) I was honestly afraid of using a belt sander or drill with a flex plate sanding base, as I feared I'd take off more in one area than another. So basically what I did was remove the neck, got some heavy grit sandpaper to start (to remove the finish-as time wore on, I switched to a lesser grade sandpaper) and sat on the back porch during baseball season. I'd drink beer, watch a game or two and sand away. Over several weekends during 162 games, I managed to remove the finish and take the neck down roughly 1/8 of an inch at the sides to almost 1/4 at the back.

I do not recommend this practice to anyone, as it was a fairly reckless manner to do things. I did not measure or truly plan it out, I merely kept sanding until I liked the overall feel of the neck. And as stated, it was a time consuming process. I did not finish or seal it whatsoever, so over time my hand's sweat seeped into the neck, truly giving the guitar character.

Since then, I can not imagine playing a finished neck. Perhaps the connection to baseball is significant, as the feel is much like that of a good bat.

All I can recommend is that you are patient and extremely careful with the process. (I was very lucky I didn't ruin the damned thing) Be sure to plan out what you'd like to accomplish, and also take into consideration the purchase of an unfinished replacement neck, which would also save you considerable time and effort. Besides, if you screw up the original, you'll need one.

Good luck.
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Old 11.07.07, 04:04 AM   #3
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I did this to my 90's era Les Paul DC Studio. Frankly, unless you're a luthier I wouldn't suggest doing it yourself. On my DC, the neck is set in the body, so I sanded away and of course, I made goofs and whatnot. When I was "done", I played for about a year with my work on it and some light finish to keep the neck nice, but it was really terrible (and I even took my time and did my homework on the concept).

Never-the-less, I ended up taking it to a Gibson service guy (Pete Morino, Kalamazoo, Michigan - BEST guitar service tech in our area) and he reshaped the neck and gave it a perfectly matched satin finish on the neck ... oh, its like butter now.
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Old 11.07.07, 05:39 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by chefcraig View Post
Be sure to plan out what you'd like to accomplish, and also take into consideration the purchase of an unfinished replacement neck, which would also save you considerable time and effort. Besides, if you screw up the original, you'll need one.

Good luck.
Unless you're an experienced luthier, consider buying a thinner replacement neck as CC suggested. I have the same issues with thick necks as you do and have found the Warmoth standard-thin necks to be perfect replacements for any necks that are too thick for me. The standard-thin is great, but their Wizard (aka, Ibanez) profile is even thinner. Good luck!

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les, neck, paul, prs, shaving or sanding

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