#1
My guitar's fretboard is starting to get quite dirty and grey. Tomorrow I'm going to go get some lemon oil but is there anything else I should use to clean it?
Also do I have to unstring the guitar to clean it? Because I'm not going to get new strings.
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#2
i know that you should never take all strings off at once for pressure reasons on your guitar. It really isnt good for it. I suggest taking the strings off one at a time and cleaning under the string you just took off. But my 2 cents is to do it one at a time.
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#3
Quote by s12k17
i know that you should never take all strings off at once for pressure reasons on your guitar. It really isnt good for it. I suggest taking the strings off one at a time and cleaning under the string you just took off. But my 2 cents is to do it one at a time.

I've heard this isn't true?
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#4
get a tissue and just go underneath the strings this will clean th strings aswell
#5
Quote by IIjakeH
I've heard this isn't true?



trust me it is.... i saw my guitar teachers guitar after he took all of his strings off at once to change them. He left his guitar for a couple hours when he went out and was going to re string it when he got back. He brought it in with strings on to show me and it had warped. Not much but enough to be VERY annoying. Doesnt sound good anymore so he ended up buying a new one. He showed me a couple of years back just so i wouldnt do it.
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#6
Quote by s12k17
trust me it is.... i saw my guitar teachers guitar after he took all of his strings off at once to change them. He left his guitar for a couple hours when he went out and was going to re string it when he got back. He brought it in with strings on to show me and it had warped. Not much but enough to be VERY annoying. Doesnt sound good anymore so he ended up buying a new one. He showed me a couple of years back just so i wouldnt do it.

Kay, I won't risk it. I'll just do a string at a time
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#8
Quote by IIjakeH
I've heard this isn't true?


Don't worry about it. I do a lot of work on guitars....setups, fret levels, re-frets, etc.... everything will be fine. If the neck is going to be unstrung for more than a couple of days or so I would relieve the tension from the truss but that's about it...

If your strings are pretty new and don't need to be replaced, just loosen all the strings enough that you can pull them out of the nut and then tape them off to the side (3 on one side, 3 on the other). Now you have full access to the fretboard.

I would recommend mineral spirits to clean and then mineral oil to condition (rosewood/ebony/no need to condition maple). Most 'lemon' oils are nothing more than mineral oil with lemon scent added. Some even contain ingredients you wouldn't want on your guitar.
#9
Quote by s12k17
i know that you should never take all strings off at once for pressure reasons on your guitar.


ive heard this before and ive also heard that its not true.personally i think its perfectly fine to remove all the strings when your cleaning or replacing the strings.i always remove all the strings and i find theres nothing wrong with it. just put the strings on as soon as possible. a few days is allright but i wouldn't go more then a that just in case. and its easier to clean it when they are all off

on topic - it would be better to wait till you need to replace the strings to clean your fret board so when its all done you'll have a nice clean guitar with fresh strings.
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#10
Quote by Rocketface2112
ive heard this before and ive also heard that its not true.personally i think its perfectly fine to remove all the strings when your cleaning or replacing the strings.i always remove all the strings and i find theres nothing wrong with it. just put the strings on as soon as possible. a few days is allright but i wouldn't go more then a that just in case. and its easier to clean it when they are all off

on topic - it would be better to wait till you need to replace the strings to clean your fret board so when its all done you'll have a nice clean guitar with fresh strings.

I'm getting a new guitar in about 20 days so I'm not really sure if I should buy new strings. They have been on for about 2 months and are pretty dirty though.
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#11
Iv had my instruments for I dont know how long and all but my edge 3 have all the strings removed at once. The strings aren't as tight as people think.
It is more then ok to take all your strings off at once. I had a cheap 30 dollar 3/4 acoustic and a guy that worked for d'addario was doing a restringing at the local shop....he took all of them off at once, guitar still worked great.
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Last edited by teamhex at May 28, 2010,
#12
Quote by teamhex
Iv had my instruments for I dont know how long and all but my edge 3 have all the strings removed at once. The strings aren't as tight as people think.
It is more then ok to take all your strings off at once. I had a cheap 30 dollar 3/4 acoustic and a guy that worked for d'addario was doing a restringing at the local shop....he took all of them off at once, guitar still worked great.

Okay, that makes things easier. Thank you

I'm not sure what to clean it with though. Everyone uses different things.
My fretboard is dirty and dry so what do I clean it with and in what order?
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#13
There is no issue with removing all the strings at once. At all.

For cleaning the fret board - if the lemon oil doesn't remove the gunk you may have to take more serious measures. Rub the lemon oil on thinly over the fretboard, rub in with a paper towel. Let the oil soak in for about 5-10 minutes then wipeoff any excess. Check the grunge on the fretboard - if its not gone you can get some 1500 and 2000 grit sandpaper - its very fine and gently apply the 1500 fret wire to fret wire, then the 2000 fret wire to fret wire. This is quite time consuming, but if you're patient the fretboard will like new once your done.

Other options - #0000 steel wool rubbed gently across the fretboard, green scubbing pads - again gently.

All depends on how dirty the fretboard is and how much effort you want to put into cleaning it. Might also be a good time to polish the frets while you're at it.
#14
Quote by progrmr
There is no issue with removing all the strings at once. At all.

For cleaning the fret board - if the lemon oil doesn't remove the gunk you may have to take more serious measures. Rub the lemon oil on thinly over the fretboard, rub in with a paper towel. Let the oil soak in for about 5-10 minutes then wipeoff any excess. Check the grunge on the fretboard - if its not gone you can get some 1500 and 2000 grit sandpaper - its very fine and gently apply the 1500 fret wire to fret wire, then the 2000 fret wire to fret wire. This is quite time consuming, but if you're patient the fretboard will like new once your done.

Other options - #0000 steel wool rubbed gently across the fretboard, green scubbing pads - again gently.

All depends on how dirty the fretboard is and how much effort you want to put into cleaning it. Might also be a good time to polish the frets while you're at it.

How do I polish the frets?
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#15
Personally I use Ernie ball fretboard wipes to clean and condition my boards. I never sand my boards, then again Iv never had a guitar that dirty.
As far as polishing the frets....any metal polish will do. Just try to get something that doesn't have alot of grit in it, you dont want to wear them down more then you have too.
Hell even some tooth pastes will work. I recommend some stuff called MAAS metal polish. Its hard to find unless you get it online though. Its also going a bit overboard. Just any polish will do.

Defiantly change your strings if they look dirty. If you dont know much about guitar your better off spending 30 bux and getting it setup. Unless its already setup that is.
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Last edited by teamhex at May 28, 2010,
#16
The only reason to not take all the strings off at once is if the guitar has a floating trem where retuning it is a total pain in the ass. If a guitar has a fixed bridge is little risk to removing all the strings at once.
Bhaok

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#17
Quote by Bhaok
The only reason to not take all the strings off at once is if the guitar has a floating trem where retuning it is a total pain in the ass. If a guitar has a fixed bridge is little risk to removing all the strings at once.


Quote by teamhex
I use Ernie ball fretboard wipes to clean and condition my boards.


I'm glad I read this thread today, I bought strings, cleaned my fretboard, and restrung this evening. The luthier at the shop said that 1) It's Ok to take all the strings off if it's a decent electric with a fixed bridge and 2) Lemon oil is not good, he recommended the Ernie Ball wipes, although the wipes did smell suspiciously like citrus. TIFWIW.
Last edited by Rt1Rebel at May 28, 2010,
#18
Quote by s12k17
trust me it is.... i saw my guitar teachers guitar after he took all of his strings off at once to change them. He left his guitar for a couple hours when he went out and was going to re string it when he got back. He brought it in with strings on to show me and it had warped. Not much but enough to be VERY annoying. Doesnt sound good anymore so he ended up buying a new one. He showed me a couple of years back just so i wouldnt do it.



I have no other way to respond to this than:

lmao wat?


Removing all your strings will not warp your neck and will certainly not cause enough damage to require a new guitar.
#19
Quote by Rt1Rebel
I'm glad I read this thread today, I bought strings, cleaned my fretboard, and restrung this evening. The luthier at the shop said that 1) It's Ok to take all the strings off if it's a decent electric with a fixed bridge and 2) Lemon oil is not good, he recommended the Ernie Ball wipes, although the wipes did smell suspiciously like citrus. TIFWIW.


Yeah their scented, my guitar polish(Ernie ball) smells like oranges.
Glad everything worked out for you.
Gibson Les Paul Traditional - 11
Fender Stratocaster MIM - 04
Fender Mustang - 04
Taylor 214ce - 10
#20
  • Get inkless, dry, microfibre lens cleaning cloths. They're cheap and you can pick them up from any opticians.
  • Wipe in soft, slow, even circles. Do not apply any more pressure than it takes to get the cloth to contact the fretboard (i.e. basically none).
  • If there's a particularly tough spot of dirt, wipe ove it again in the same way until it is gone. Do not scrub at it.

And that's it. That is all there is to cleaning a fretboard, or in fact any other part of the guitar. There is absolutely no need whatsoever for any chemicals and you should not use any other kind of cloth to service the guitar. Some very old rosewood fretboards may need the slightest dab of lemon oil once every couple of years, but that's it and is a different subject.
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#21
I thought that with rosewood you only need lemon oil to make sure it's not too dry.

For cleaning I've always proceeded with the microfibre cloth + the tiniest bit of water trick. Always gets off the gunk.

For when you have those nasty bits caked on the sides of the frets I've heard a toothbrush (a clean one) is best for this. Though I've not tried it yet. Need to on the telecaster though.

EDIT: plus I'm very suspicious about all this scented Ernie Ball Guitar masturbation sheets, and Fastfret and all this lame stuff. I doubt Jimi would sit around dabbing oils on his fretboard. If there's gunk remove with a tiny bit of moisture, job done. Don't waste money on these silly products.
Last edited by Duv at May 29, 2010,
#22
Quote by Duv
I thought that with rosewood you only need lemon oil to make sure it's not too dry.
Exactly. And if you play the guitar on a regular basis, it should take about two years before a good rosewood fretboard even begins to slightly dry out.

For cleaning I've always proceeded with the microfibre cloth + the tiniest bit of water trick. Always gets off the gunk.
Don't use water. At all. Even a small amount could seep in to the wood and cause a fret to spring or cause a crack in the nut or binding.
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#24
Yes, even just a little amount. If your guitar is made of anything close to decent wood, it is very important to not introduce moisture to it, at least no more than is already in the air around it. There's also the problem that wetting any type of cloth will loosen the fibres a bit, meaning they can come loose and get stuck in various parts of the guitar. I also wouldn't advise you continue the pick thing either, you should be using as little pressure as possible.
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