#1
I recently inherited two guitars from my family, one nylon and one steel-string (one from my grandfather and one from my mother). Both are very beautiful guitars, and have survived decades. Unfortunately, they haven't been cleaned over decades either. When sitting down with them, I took out some fretboard cleaner and tried to get the grime off, but it barely penetrates it. I haven't had this problem with any of my guitars before (then again, they've been up-kept over time). So, any advice on where to begin with getting these like new again?
#2
Use liberal amounts of lemon oil and let it soak through. If you have sure hands you can use something hard (straightedge or something) to remove some of the worse bits, but be very careful you don't scratch.
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#4
Don't use too much oil to soften the years of residue, remove as much as possible by other methods, i've always used an old toothbrush its ideal for working along the frets without damaging them. Another good tool is an old credit card to scrape away heavy build up. Some ppl use very fine grade wire/steel wool but even the finest grade wire/steel wool can damage the fret board.
Once you have removed as much as you can then use more oil, again work it with the toothbrush then wipe off with a clean cloth.
Another school claim virgin olive oil or boiled/purified linseed oil is good for cleaning fret boards.

Don't forget to cover the sound hole before starting any cleaning so nothing falls or spills into the body.
#5
This is the stuff I use.



Twice a year or so I'll do a thorough job of cleaning the fretboards of my guitars by using this and some 000 or 0000 steel wool. The steel wool won't harm the fretboard, shines up the frets and is just abrasive enough to remove any built-up gunk from the wood of the fretboard. But it's not so abrasive as to do any harm. And, contrary to popular belief, you can scrub against the grain of fretboards. I had always thought that I had to go with the grain, but have since learned better. Typically rosewood and ebony are used for the fretboards, and these woods are very hard and actually quite difficult to damage with plain steel wool.

And if you prefer a walkthrough of how a professional luthier does it, follow the link below for a detailed description. He states using simple mineral oil to condition the wood of the fretboard, which I completely agree with, but since I had already bought the Gerlitz stuff, I figure I may as well use it before I buy a bottle of mineral oil. Your choice of course.

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musician/GenMaint/Cleaning/cleaning01.html
#7
no, don't do that! you can loosen the frets and binding. the toothbrush is worth a shot, but LeftyDave's suggestion of very fine steel wool is one may be a bit more effective.

Quote by gwitersnamps
Use liberal amounts of lemon oil and let it soak through. If you have sure hands you can use something hard (straightedge or something) to remove some of the worse bits, but be very careful you don't scratch.
#8
The excellent Frets.com site reccomends the fine steel wool approach, with perhaps a very small amount of lemon oil as a finish.

This is a site every guitarist should have bookmarked; a professional repairman with tips on all aspects of guitar maintenance.
#9
Well one of mine acoustic is in a worse situation, It got mold :/
How do I clean it withou the use of fretboard cleaners (here where I live they don't sold them ¬¬
#10
Desmond, just use the steel wool and mineral oil. Go to frets.com to find the article on how to use them.