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Care and feeding of my guitar

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KR2
 KR2
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I have a handsome guitar and I want to keep it that way (similar to Isabelle's (whom I affectionately refer to as Iz)).
I want to know is there something that I can do to the Rosewood fretboard to keep it looking good?
I use tung oil on our mahogany front door (which also has that rich dark color as the rosewood) so I was wondering if it is ok to put tung oil on it or would that be a mistake?
The instructions that came with the guitar didn't mention anything like that.

Future rock star,
Ken

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


   
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Hyperborea
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Yeah, oiling the fretboard is good. You want an oil that won't go rancid over time or become sticky. There are all sorts of special guitar fretboard oils, some use lemon oil, and others olive oil (though I wonder about this going rancid and smelling) so tung oil might be ok too. One of my local luthiers suggested I should do it about once a year as too often is bad too - softening the wood and causing fret problem. Dan Erlewhine mentions the same potential problem in one of his books.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


   
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Chris C
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Hi Ken,

I'd reckon that there's no universal answer to this one.

It probably depends a lot on the individual player and also where they live. Some people have oily skin and need to periodically wipe accumulated oils off the neck. Others live in dry climates, or have wood-unfriendly settings on the climate control in their buildings and may need to apply something to 'feed' the wood from time to time.

So I'd get a few opinions (especially from musos in your area) and see which seems to suit your conditions best.

Cheers,

Chris


   
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Ricochet
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Tung oil is a finish, not a lubricant or "conditioner" (whatever that may really be.) It dries to a gum. If you use it, be sure that you wipe off all excess leaving ONLY what's soaked into the wood. If you use any lubricant (like my favorite olive oil, or "lemon oil," or the myriad commercial fretboard lubes and "conditioners"), be sure to wipe off the excess well, also.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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coleclark
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i was told to only oil a fretboard if absolutely neccessary as the oil absorbs sweat and in time it smells, to back this up i was shown some 20+ year old guitars that had been oiled and...damn...i dont wanna oil mine now :S


   
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Hyperborea
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like my favorite olive oil

Doesn't it go rancid?

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


   
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Ricochet
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Nope.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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oldnewbie
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The guy at my shop told me bore oil (for horns) could be applied lightly every 6 months or so... though I haven't tried it yet.

The inside of my guitar case stays at a steady 55% relative humidity and my fingers sweat alot, so I'm not worried about anything drying out or cracking (at least I don't think I should be)

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Ricochet
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Oil's not for preventing or curing drying out or cracking of fretboard wood. It's for a (very light) lubrication that makes bending and sliding go smoother, and just makes it look better. Don't saturate it, and wipe it off after you apply it. Don't leave a puddle of it on the wood. That's nasty. Same goes for string oiling.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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KR2
 KR2
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Topic starter  

Thanks, Ricochet.
I bought some "Orange Oil" and put it on that mahagony door to test it out.
I'm going to wait until I replace the strings to put it on the fret board.
I'll have a better looking and "fruity smelling" guitar after replacement and enhancement surgery to my guitar.

My guitar's master,
Ken

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


   
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dubyatf
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IIRC, doesn't Dan Erlewhine mention using 100% Pure Raw Linseed Oil? If so, he says it's available from art supply stores.


   
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Ricochet
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Linseed oil (raw or "boiled") WILL turn sticky and eventually solidify into a gum that'll rub off in balls like dried rubber cement if you leave it as a film built up on the surface. If you use it, wipe it off really well. Won't stay slick for long, either. It's a wood finish, not a lubricant. Olive oil doesn't dry like linseed does. Neither does mineral oil, which is what "lemon oil" for applying to wood is. White medicinal mineral oil with a lemon scent. Baby oil's the same stuff with a floral scent. They don't squeeze lemon oil out of lemons, or baby oil out of babies. Be careful about using real citrus peel oils. They're solvents closely akin to turpentine. You folks who aren't from the South and don't drink iced tea probably haven't experienced this: Squeeze a piece of lemon into your iced tea in a styrofoam cup. Pick up the cup with the hand you just used to squeeze the lemon. Your fingerprints will etch deeply into the cup, and may eat right through it and cause your tea to leak out. Lemon peel oil dissolves polystyrene. Probably would dissolve some wood finishes and paints. Citrus peel oil is widely used as a degreaser. I first ran into it as a bicycle chain cleaner.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Hyperborea
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IIRC, doesn't Dan Erlewhine mention using 100% Pure Raw Linseed Oil? If so, he says it's available from art supply stores.

I just had a look at his book Guitar Player Repair Guide and he say lemon oil a couple of times a year.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


   
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dubyatf
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IIRC, doesn't Dan Erlewhine mention using 100% Pure Raw Linseed Oil? If so, he says it's available from art supply stores.

I just had a look at his book Guitar Player Repair Guide and he say lemon oil a couple of times a year.

That's interesting - maybe he changed up. Dan's How to Make your Electric Guitar Play great specifies the non-boiled (raw) linseed oil and he actually goes on to talk about avoiding lemon oil.

To be honest I must have enough oils in my hand because my fret board is usually clean and not dried out looking.

Ric - I'm relieved to hear that baby oil isn't actually from babies! LOL! :mrgreen:


   
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Ricochet
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I suspect any of the above can cause problems with overuse, and that any of the above can give good results if used carefully and judiciously.

My original reason for avoiding the petroleum derived oils (like "lemon oil") is from seeing the results of overuse of mineral oil in gun actions. Lots of old guns have the stocks absolutely soaked with oil around the action, and the wood gets very soft and punky over a long time with oil soaking. Mineral oil is a solvent, not a very good one but a solvent nonetheless, for the lignin that binds together the cellulose fibers in wood. It'll eventually soften it.

Use it sparingly, wipe it off well, and likely there'll never be a problem.

Besides, some of the guns I have and actively use are over a century old. Not many of our guitars are going to be in playable shape that long. Guitars just aren't built sturdily enough to last and last like violins do.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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