#1
Hello,

I played a guitar at my local guitar center that was from the 80's, had a wide neck that I've always been looking for, and sounded really good. The only problem is that the fretboard feels like it was played by a sweaty person for years and so it's kind of sticky. Is there a very easy fix for a sticky fretboard/neck that would make the guitar a good buy, or is this a complicated issue that makes the guitar not worth the trouble.

Thanks in advance.
#3
Quote by wherewulfe
Hello,

I played a guitar at my local guitar center that was from the 80's, had a wide neck that I've always been looking for, and sounded really good. The only problem is that the fretboard feels like it was played by a sweaty person for years and so it's kind of sticky. Is there a very easy fix for a sticky fretboard/neck that would make the guitar a good buy, or is this a complicated issue that makes the guitar not worth the trouble.

Thanks in advance.


The guy at the guitar store sold me lemon oil (I think it was the Gibson brand). Worked for me. Only about $6 a bottle, and you use very little.

I bought a used guitar and the fret board wasnt exactly sticky, but it wasnt silky smooth if you know what i mean... i used fret board cleaner when I changed the strings. I'm not a germ-a-phobe but after cleaning the fretboard, My cleaning cloth was pretty gross...
#4
If it's really bad, try gently sanding down the fretboard. Don't go too far, obviously, but some sandpaper might pick off the real nasty stuff. Then just moisturize it with some lemon oil, put on fresh strings, and boom. Nice guitar.
#5
What sort of wood is it? A rosewood will just need a light oil treatment to slick it back up again.

If it's maple you could try a few things. Shoot a couple of clears + cut & polish/ tru-oil / polish with 0000 steel wool or a scotchbrite pad
Quote by SlackerBabbath
My ideal woman would be a grossly overweight woman who would happy go jogging, come home all sweaty and let me put my dick under her armpit while she shuffles a pack of cards.

Stay classy, pit.
#6
Hey, thanks for all the fast suggestions. It's a rosewood fretboard. I've been hearing good things about scotchbrite pads, like the green-colored ones.
#7
Yeah man they're like superfine sandpaper. They'll clear the grime pretty quickly if that's what is making it sticky. Make sure you oil it again though. I wouldn't be surprised if it hadn't been oiled in a long time.
Quote by SlackerBabbath
My ideal woman would be a grossly overweight woman who would happy go jogging, come home all sweaty and let me put my dick under her armpit while she shuffles a pack of cards.

Stay classy, pit.
#8
I haven't heard the best things about lemon oil, like there's a specific type that you have to get or it will damage the wood. Do you know what I'm talking about? It would be cool to get this guitar since it's an Ibanez DT-350 destroyer. Seems like you wouldn't be able to get one of these just anywhere.
#9
Maybe not a destroyer from the 80s...

Yeah that's right you can't just buy any lemon oil. There's a ton of brands out there. I've just used dunlop's fretboard conditioning set but that's just because I was lazy. You could probably find cheaper stuff if you tried.

Not that I recommend it but I've used olive oil in a pinch during the past too when cash has been tight. Again, not advocating that but it did the job for me.
Quote by SlackerBabbath
My ideal woman would be a grossly overweight woman who would happy go jogging, come home all sweaty and let me put my dick under her armpit while she shuffles a pack of cards.

Stay classy, pit.
#10
Do NOT sand that fretboard.

Pick up some naptha (Rossignol lighter fluid) and a single edge razor blade. You're going to use it as a scraper, not as a cutter. Naptha is one of the few solvents that you can use that will get the gunk but not damage the finish (try some in a place under your cover plate just to make sure). It's been recommended by Gibson for years, until they started selling their own expensive stuff in tiny bottles. Wipe some of the naptha onto the area where you'll be working. That'll start to loosen up some of the gunk. Put the blade right next to the fret and just drag it to the next fret. Then go from that fret backwards. Wipe the board down with naptha, let it dry, and see if it's still sticky. If it is, wipe the board down with naptha again.

Once you've got the board clean and nice, you can oil it. The "lemon oil" you want is something like "Olde English" lemon oil furniture polish. It's essentially mineral oil with some solvents in it for cleaning. Wipe a few drops on (do NOT soak the board), let it sit for a couple of minutes (do NOT let it sit for a few hours) and wipe it off with a clean rag. You're not "replacing vital oils" or any of that BS. This oiling serves two purposes: it makes the board pretty and it acts as a bit of a barrier to moisture (from your sweat) in liquid form. Moisture in vapor form will have no problem getting in or out. It's not essential that you use lemon oil. Since 99% of the expensive crap you buy in tiny bottles is mostly mineral oil, ordinary mineral oil will work just fine. You can buy a gallon of the stuff at a hardware store for about $11 if you shop around. If you're paying more than that for an ounce or two with a brand name on it, fine -- it's your money. If you prefer having the stuff in a one-ounce bottle, go to a hiking store (REI in my neighborhood) and pick up some one-ounce plastic bottles with the flip top.

While you're at it, check out this thread on setting up an Epiphone (including conditioning the fretboard): http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/epiphone-les-pauls/14714-complete-epi-custom-setup.html
#11
In case dspellman didn't make it obvious:


DO NOT SAND THE FRETBOARD
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#12
Quote by wherewulfe
I haven't heard the best things about lemon oil, like there's a specific type that you have to get or it will damage the wood. Do you know what I'm talking about? It would be cool to get this guitar since it's an Ibanez DT-350 destroyer. Seems like you wouldn't be able to get one of these just anywhere.



it's because not all Lemon oil is Lemon oil anymore , most store bought Oil is a synthetic Lemon oil substitute
#13
Quote by Fumble fingers
it's because not all Lemon oil is Lemon oil anymore , most store bought Oil is a synthetic Lemon oil substitute


There are two kinds of Lemon Oil.

REAL Lemon Oil (which you do NOT want) is used in cooking*.

"Lemon Oil" furniture polish usually doesn't have anything "lemon" in it at all; it just has a sort of lemony smell due to whatever solvents have been added to the mineral oil. This stuff is okay to use.


*Don't use "Rosewood Oil," either, if your sister has some <G>. First, it's not from the same kind of rosewood, and Second, it's used for aromatherapy. In any case, it should not touch your fretboard.
#14
Wow, thanks for the detailed responses. Good instructions, dspellman. It looks like cleaning the fretboard is easy enough so that I can actually buy this guitar.

Thanks!
#16
Just a passing thought.
Never use ordinary linseed oil on a fretboard. It may NEVER dry, and you'll have a sticky mess until you figure out what solvent to use to take it off.
#17
I am in the process of taking classes with a world class luthier and just spent a whole day learning the method dspellman says to use. He is exactly right. Follow his instructions and you'll have a beautifule clean fret borad. I did this to my (heavily used) 1982 Ibanez AM-50 Artist and the fret board looks brand new and feels fantastic. The guitar has now become one my favorites once again after not playing it much for a few years. (I did a fret dress also so that helped make a big difference)
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Oct 20, 2014,
#18
Ibanez wasn't a company in 1892, did you mean 1992?
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate