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Final word on fretboard cleaning/maintenance

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(@greybeard)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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Don't forget to take it through the car wash to get the worst gunk off.   ;)

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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(@corbind)
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Joined: 22 years ago
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After going through the car wash my guitar expanded to double normal size.

I ended up not cleaning my guitar and changing strings.  I remembered on the drive home last night I have practice tonight and hate to have brand new strings when playing with anyone.  So I'll take the plunge Wednesday or Thursday night.

I went to the hardware store last night and could only find 0000 steel wool instead of 00000.  Will that work?  Menard's (hardware store) only had charcoal lighter fluid.  I grill about every weekend even in the winter and I know the smell of that stuff.  I don't want my guitar to smell like that, only my food.

Where would I find that (starts with an R) yellow bottle of lighter fluid?  A cigar/cigarette store?

Menard's didn't have mineral oil either so I suppose I'll drop into the local grocery store.

I saw two seemingly contradictory sets of advice as far as rubbing the fretboard with steel wool.  One said rub the frets and fretboard parallel to the fret.  Another said rub in between the frets with the grain (perpindicular to the frets).

Also, someone said not to use lighter fluid on the fret because it will dry them out.  That makes sense.  It dries my hands out, too.  But if you clean with it and put some oil on it a couple of hours later (after the lighter fluid has vaporized and left the guitar) it should be moisturized, right?

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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(@anonymous)
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Well i just lick my frets - it makes me feel goooood

Pet ;D


   
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(@nicktorres)
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I use the steel wool perpendicular to the neck.  No lighter fluid on the neck please, it does dry it out.

Mineral oil, scotts liquid gold, etc can be found at Home Depot or Lowes.

0000 should be fine for the neck, just go easy and see.

Lighter fluid can be found at your local 7-11 or cigar store.


   
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(@nicktorres)
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Ronco


   
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(@corbind)
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Topic starter  

I use the steel wool perpendicular to the neck.  No lighter fluid on the neck please, it does dry it out.

Mineral oil, scotts liquid gold, etc can be found at Home Depot or Lowes.

0000 should be fine for the neck, just go easy and see.

Lighter fluid can be found at your local 7-11 or cigar store.

I'm somewhat confused on why you can't put the lighter fluid on the fretboard.  I know it dries it out as it cleans but, if I'm putting human consumption mineral oil on say an hour later, it seems it would be a wash.  When I've cleaned and restrung other people's guitars they had me use stuff with petroleum distillates (soap oil, can't remember, but it was a gallon jug).  Further, I never put any oil on his guitars.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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(@nicktorres)
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Did the jug have XXX on it like the cartoons?  Careful that stuff is flammable. ;D


   
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(@greybeard)
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Did the jug have XXX on it like the cartoons

Are you suggesting that corbind watches animated porn?  ;)

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
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(@anonymous)
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Wayhay!!

Where can I get me some of that??


   
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(@corbind)
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I finally bit the bullet and got down to business last night to clean my guitar.  I ended up buying mineral oil (the kind humans can consume) and lighter fluid from the grocery store.  I bought Dunlop lemon oil and Gibson (orange bottle) guitar polish.  Each item was about $5.  Finally, I got some 0000 steel wool at the hardware store.

Everything was lined up in my room ready to go over a week ago but I knew I'd be going over to my brother's house this past Saturday night so we could play music in his garage.  A place where we'd smoke Winston ultra lights and drink domestic beer.  Not a very clean environment so I buckled down last night and got to it.

I started by loosening all the strings then finally cutting them off.  I took couple of toothpicks and ran them along the frets to get dried gunk out.  I got the toothbrush and scrubbed the fretboard well.  Then took a clean dry rag and wiped it.

Quite meekly, I broke open that 0000 package of steel wool and formed a small ball with which to make a couple of quick scrubs on the frets.  It did work in making the frets seem cleaner but I'm here to tell you steel wool will scratch your fretboard!  Even with just a couple of passes a couple of seconds.  I don't care how careful you are, it will put small scratches.  I don't really care much about how an instrument looks, rather, that it is easy to play and sounds good.  Still, I won't be using that super fine steel wool again.  Besides, after seeing some pictures of what other guitars look like, I find mine is really pretty clean to begin with in comparison.

Now I sprayed that Gibson Guitar polish on a 100% cotton wash rag (the type you use in the shower) and rubbed it on my Gibson SG.  That polish looked like ----.  Hazy, yucky and greasy.  I was not going to even use it.  Yet I  peeled a huge guitar store price label off just to see the directions and ingredients (the bottle said it had petroleum distillates).  To me that means cleaning power.  Well it may clean, it may polish, but I hated it.  Put it on my knobs and half of the front face of the guitar.

I cracked open that lighter fluid to get the Gibson polish off which it did well.  As a matter of fact, I the lighter fluid on the whole instrument except the fretboard and headstock.  Got it really clean so I'll give that a thumbs up even though is sounds like it would kill a guitar.

Now I got my Dunlop lemon oil.  It has a special cotton-ball-like applicator built right in so that is why I chose to use it over the mineral oil even though the per ounce cost is 4 times as much.  Also, I read that lemon oil is often mineral oil with lemon scent added.  Anyway, I put the oil on the fretboard and left it for about 8 minutes.  I wiped it all off again with a 100% cotton bath towel then reapplied for another 7 minutes.  Wiped it all off.  The fretboard is definitely much darker in color now which I think is good since it makes the strings easier to see.  Unless your strings are black!

Now I put the new D'Adario .11-49 NPS strings on.  Stretch, tune, stretch, tune.  You know the deal.  The last string I actually broke!  I pulled a bit too hard at the 12th fret and “bing” it snapped at the bridge.  Sadly, I had to put an EB Slinky .11 on there for now.

All in all, the guitar seems a billion times cleaner.  Hopefully I did not eternally mess my guitar up by using he “wrong” products.  I read about a product last night called Guitar Honey that is used to condition fret boards.  It's just mineral oil but I would have used that had I had some.

P.S.  There is now a no smoking sign near my guitar.  I don't want to have it catch on fire and have to throw it out the second story window.   8)

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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(@nicktorres)
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did I say go easy with the 0000?

Well the 0000 won't do then.

I use 00000, that's five zeros, all the time with nary a scratch.


   
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(@taylorr)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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So its extra nothing?  Thats crazy, it should just go negative.  Or increase the number of all the rest of it.  Yeah.  Ive taken very very very very very very very very fine sandpaper to my frets once before just to get a bit of the green stuff off.  It kinda worked but i dont trust myself.  I need to get some more experience first.

aka Izabella


   
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(@corbind)
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Hey Nick, the hardware store across the street from me (Menards) had the "4 zero" steel wool.  They did not have the "5 zero."  So likely the finer stuff will work.  I'm of the opinion that it's only necessary if you cant get stuff off with a soft 100% cloth and cleaner.  I'm actually surprised that some guitar can get so gunky they need drastic measures to get stuff off.

Maybe it's just that I don't wait months to change my strings or clean my fretboard with toothbrush and cloth.  I'm still freaked that lighter fluid worked to get it very clean and not take the nitro finish off.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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(@nicktorres)
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yep 00000 is one more nothing.  It is so fine that I don't even think twice about using it for cleaning.  


   
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(@corbind)
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Every time I look at my rosewood fretboard I smile.  It used to be light brown and, after putting the lemon oil on it, it's now a dark brown.  My silver-colored strings have such a beautiful contrast.  I was even noticing or thinking about that while a buddy and I were practicing American Girl.  :-)

Yea, the 0000 steel wool got banished last night to my workbench in the garage.  It will be used on other products.  That Gibson guitar polish appeared outta nowhere last night while I was dusting the house.  I almost gave it a quick sentence to my trash can but then remembered I was going to give it to my brother.  He likes polish.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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