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Cleaning fretboard

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Staffan
(@staffan)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 125
Topic starter  

Hello! I´ve got a string-change coming up, and I´m thinking it´s about time I also cleaned the fretboard on my Les Paul. I´ve searched the forum a bit and found some references to commercial products for this, but I was wondering if anyone has any tips for cleaning it without having to resort to any brand products, i.e can I just use a damp (or dry?) cloth or something?

Also, is there anything in particular that I sould be wary of while doing this (with commercial brand or house-cloth) - so as not to damage the fretboard or cause any unnecesary "stress"? (I like my fretboard relaxed) :roll:

Thanks in advance!

/S

AAAFNRAA
- Electric Don Quixote -


   
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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

I just scrub mine with a damp cloth and oil it with olive oil, wiping off the oil after a few minutes. Works. I've got a bunch of commercial stuff from Fender and Gibson, but never have gotten around to trying it.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Crow
 Crow
(@crow)
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Joined: 13 years ago
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I scrub with denatured alcohol from the hardware store and oil with mineral oil from the pharmacy.

Ric, you use olive oil on new strings, too, don't you?

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." - Frank Zappa


   
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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
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Yep.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Blueline
(@blueline)
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Olive oil works great for the fretboard. You should keep the wood well oiled.

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


   
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Blue Jay
(@blue-jay)
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I used to be ultra picky and 'politically correct' and used only Dr. Stringfellow's Lem Oil. Then I ran out and had plenty of Hawe's Lemon Oil on hand, which I still have, except it has changed its name to Old English, and I bought it too, to compare. For no reason, except I like variety and a good supply, I have been using both Orange Glo and as a real treat, super sleek "Circa 1850 Terra Nova NaturOil", from Home Hardware. It is thin, penetrating, smooth, clean and natural.

http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userportal/show_product.do?pid=12403


Do not let the oil sit on the wood for long, a few minutes is plenty, and buff off with a cloth. Forget you saw this electric?

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.


   
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Musenfreund
(@musenfreund)
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I use "Premium Fingerboard Oil". Bought a bottle for $4 about 6 years ago and have used maybe 1/3 of the bottle keeping several guitars strung and clean. Pretty good deal.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon


   
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Staffan
(@staffan)
Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 125
Topic starter  

Thanks guys!

I know what to do now; I´m gonna go with wiping the fretboard with a damp cloth and then put some olive oil on there. Let the oil sit for just a few minutes and then wipe it off with a dry cloth.

Sounds like a plan, eh? :)

(Might even check out some products at the store, since Musenfreund here practically states that it lasts forever.)

Again - thanks for the tips!

/S

AAAFNRAA
- Electric Don Quixote -


   
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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
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Posts: 7833
 

There are lots of things that work fine. That's just what I use, and it works. Don't leave a really oily film on either fretboard or strings, though. It will eventually attract dirt and get sticky. Wipe it off after you put it on.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Blue Jay
(@blue-jay)
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Doctor John (Rico) will never steer you wrong. The man has uncanny good sense, or is decades of education cheating? :lol:

Anywhoo, I came across this cleaner on my link, which is used as a pre-oil treatment, except there are several pure cleaners on the market and many people use naptha. I don't really care for the smell, but I bet Jimi would have gladly put the torch to it? :shock: And one more thing, I use a toothbrush. But I don't brush my teeth with any lighter fluid or naptha. :oops:

Enjoy the process, is it good to have fine materials, and a nice fretboard in hand, to patiently and lovingly clean. Take your time, and see if you can give those frets a little smoothing and shine. Again, forget that you saw the buffer in my pics. :?: That didn't happen, okay, :mrgreen: it was a figment of our imagination, or hallucinatory from too many naptha fumes.

They also have teak soap & many other boat cleaning and wood maintenance supplies.
http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userportal/show_product.do?pid=12407&familyName=Circa+1850+Terra+Nova+Furniture+Cleaner
http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userportal/search.do?freeText=teak%20cleaner&resultPref=all&page=GRID&history=7ad0ar2o%7Cother%7CfreeText%7E1850+oil%5EresultPref%7Eall%5Epage

Maybe avoid the complications, since you can't use caustic 2 step methods containing acid, and requiring heavy rinse - I am not showing the water-based stuff either, only the one which reads as being safe. You won't have to overdo it cleaning fish blood or fuel stains. :roll: Seriously naptha cleans, but I wouldn't want it to splash.

Finally, I use several good car products, Mother's and Meguiar's but let's not overdo it. You can't use silicone either, really. So be wary of any shortcuts or garage products such as tire shines and of course NEVER Armor All. It eats lacquer!

Oh and while I'm here writing an essay, for your own good, be careful with contact cleaners. They are lacquer eaters too.

Shine on! (FWIW reflective clarity shows difference between hand-made polished nitro lacquer and gold polyester finish).

Dark rosewood with lo-sheen. "Assorted yuck" on frets is reflected textured ceiling or thats my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.


   
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Staffan
(@staffan)
Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 125
Topic starter  

Hi all!

Although I´m sure the olive oil would have done the trick, I actually ended up going to the local Axe-shop and buying something called Dr Ducks AxeWax (sounds really good doesn´t it :lol: )! Seriously, the guy in the shop told me he´d used it himself a lot, and that it worked for the whole instrument i.e body - front & back, fretboard, strings. And it also works on Gibson cellulose finishes and that sounded about right for my setup. It wasn´t expensive either and should last a couple of years so...

The result: Well, I´m happy - the fretboard looks clean and shiny, but not "oily or sticky" or anything, so I guess it worked out nice!

Ps. The product doesn´t contain any real "wax" - that´s just in the cool name :roll: Ds.

Again, thanks for your input!

AAAFNRAA
- Electric Don Quixote -


   
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Blue Jay
(@blue-jay)
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Sounds great. Just keep
it insured with Aflac? :lol:

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.


   
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Hyperborea
(@hyperborea)
Prominent Member
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Posts: 827
 

Seriously, the guy in the shop told me he´d used it himself a lot, and that it worked for the whole instrument i.e body - front & back, fretboard, strings. And it also works on Gibson cellulose finishes and that sounded about right for my setup. It wasn´t expensive either and should last a couple of years so...

The product you'd want for the unfinished wood of a rosewood / ebony fretboard is different than what you'd want for a finished wood body. For the fretboard you want something to penetrate the wood and keep it from drying out. For a finished piece of wood all you should need is to keep it clean (a good microfibre cloth most of the time and occasionally maybe some naphtha).

Don't overdo it either. You should only need to treat the fretboard a couple of times a year depending on your climate and how you store the guitar. Do it too much and too often and you can soften the wood and cause all sorts of fret problems.

Yes, the names of guitar products can often be kind of wacky. I've got Guitar Honey that I use for fretboard conditioning and as has already been noted you really will end up going through so little of it that I might if I live long enough need only one more bottle.

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


   
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Boogieman
(@boogieman)
Trusted Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 79
 

I have some Dunlop's fretboard cleaner and preserver. It's a two step process. Unfortuantely, it also says NOT to be used on MAPLE fretboards.

What do you guys use on Maple?


   
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Staffan
(@staffan)
Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 125
Topic starter  

Sounds great. Just keep
it insured with Aflac? :lol:

I will... but only the bottle of AxWax :P

AAAFNRAA
- Electric Don Quixote -


   
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