#1
Hi!
I've just read a book by John Carruters and I'm Halfway through another one by John Levan, both are about guitar maintenance.

I've also been wathching many videos, reading posts, articles... And I'm a mess right now.

So here I am wanting to know your thoughts on the matter...

Some people use lemon only, naptha+lemon, steel wool... cloths, toothbrush, gorgomite, freatboard conditioners... Clean, hidrate, Conditions....

So many names and products... I've only managed to have two clear ideas:
-I wouldn't use steel wool...no matter how soft it is, sooner or later scratches will appear on the freatboard...you may damage your electronics, or some lost particles could ruin your finish... Sounds like taking many risks for me
-The frequency. Once a year (maybe twice) is more than enough, as long as you clean your guitar with a clean cloth after playing. And whatever product or oil you use, small quantity, and always remove the excess (like lettinh the wood take only what it needs)

Oh I'm refering to Rosewood fretboards of course!
#2
Are you asking what we use or what should you use or...?

I'll bite though. I generally use something specified for conditioning wood/fretboard wood. I have used the same one for years now, can't remember the name but it does the trick. I usually only use it one or twice a year depending on the environment that the guitar is in or has been in. I always wipe away any excess that is used and I only use steel wool to polish the fret wires. Hope this helps.
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#3
There's so much snake oil and marketing bullshit when it comes to this sort of thing.

Basically, linseed oil and mineral oil are fine. Lemon oil isn't actually made from lemons; its simply a mineral oil with a lemon scent added. Naptha is a great cleaner, but is hygroscopic (it dries the fretboard out). So it's suggested that after it evaporates (and the fretboard is clean), to give the fretboard a bit of oil.

Other than that, you're on track about pretty much everything else. Marketing departments make it seem like much bigger a deal than it really is with all their pretentious buzzwords but most of them are meaningless.
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#4
Well my current main guitar has a gloss maple fretboard, but every other guitar I've had has been rosewood and I've never had to go beyond the point of wiping any nastiness off when I change strings.

Quote by 12beatblues
-I wouldn't use steel wool...no matter how soft it is, sooner or later scratches will appear on the freatboard...

Wrong. This is not how grades of steel wool work. 0000 is fine enough that you can use it to clean windows without leaving scratches. Note that it's fine--->coarse, not soft--->tough. Quite simply if you want to get nasty stuff off your fretboard, 0000 steel wool will work and will not leave a mark. You do have to vacuum off any particles, yeah, but it's not particularly difficult.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
There's so much snake oil and marketing bullshit when it comes to this sort of thing.

I hear that snake oil stuff is great for moisturising your fretboard; really lets the wood breathe
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I'm a moron tho apparently and everyone should listen to you oh wise pretentious one
#5
Many quick replies! Great, keep it going, it never hurts to know other's opinions
And I'm glad to hear that after all I wasn't all wrong
#6
I never use abrasives, just wet wipes or the like, followed by Dr Duck's, very sparingly so it doesn't seep under the frets, and only very occasionally.

Drying/oxidising oils like linseed are good preservatives, but I wonder if they dry sticky. Olive oil and the nut oils eg (walnut, macadamia) should be good.

EDIT I forgot the cheapest one, canola oil.
Last edited by Tony Done at Nov 13, 2015,
#7
I've always used this giant bottle of pure mineral oil I bought years ago. It was only 4 bucks, due to being labeled as a laxative and not "GUITAR FRETBOARD MIRACLE 9000"...had no clue mineral oil was even used as a laxative until I went to the store looking for it lol.
#8
the thing about lacquer and maple fretboards is they are sealed, honestly even windex as it isn't acidic. Polish the frets with micro mesh or something along those lines and a new set of strings doesn't hurt.

the worst is when people apply too much lemon oil (for example) i've seen but having a maple fretboard is very low maintenance , it's right up there with phenolic resin (composite material) so you're lucky.

polished frets return the shine but protect the fretboard, , they turn dull or rusty frets which kind of make this scraping/crunching sound back into smooth music making frets. With micro mesh it goes up to 12,000 grit so you're removing so little material that you'd need a microscope to see it. Remember though even bending strings or every day play removes material from the frets so micro mesh is a good idea. You get it at stewmac or i'm sure a bunch of other places.

I totally agree with T00deepblue though about so much snake oil and bullshit out there. I like the pure lemon oil and lighter fluid method he mentioned.
Last edited by Tallwood13 at Nov 12, 2015,
#9
Aside from rubbing down the entire guitar with a clean dry microfiber or cotton cloth, I'll use either a small bit of mild dish soap & water or Formila 409 (Glass Streak Free version) to slightly moistened (barely dampen) a clean microfiber or cotton cloth to clean any residue. The quick wipe down never leaves too much moisture on the guitar. Then finish with a Clean Dry cloth. Works great! Got the Formula 409 suggestion from a rare vintage guitar luthier and service tech after watching him work his magic on several guitars far more valuable than mine. He finishes with a bit of Maguire's Carnuba Car Polish on his Client's guitars! I also like using Dunlop 65 Cleaner Polish. It works very well, and comes in handy small pump top spray bottles. On Rosewood or Ebony fretboards, a tiny bit of Dunlop 65 Lemon Oil from it's built-in swab top dispenser works really well. Just rub it off after a minute or so.
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#11
Quote by 12beatblues
And I'm sure none of them is wrong :P

What about methylene chloride and sandpaper?
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#12
Since Gibson is the provider of the warranty of my guitar, I went with this (steel wool, oil). I normally use linseed oil, but next time I will be using lemon oil because I have a roasted maple fretboard that I decided I want to look like ebony.

And no, linseed oil does not dry sticky.

P.S. I was doing some reading, and apparently linseed oil can get sticky, but I haven't experienced this. I put it on, let it soak in for about 10 minutes and wipe it clean (there was a video on Gibson's site (that I can't find) that said to do this. I had no problems doing it this way (I didn't dilute it either).
"Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect." -some dude
Last edited by Prime2515102 at Nov 21, 2015,
#13
I think the fretboard is like voodoo,
mess with the fretboard too much and evil spirits come out,
little too much water or some other substance raises a spot
on the wood of the fretboard and suddenly your guitar sounds DIFFERENT.....
I clean it gently with soft brush,
scrape off (gently) the dead cells from your skin mixed with oil and dirt)
wipe it with a clean soft rag and leave it alone
sunaj
#14
Quote by Prime2515102
Since Gibson is the provider of the warranty of my guitar, I went with this (steel wool, oil). I normally use linseed oil, but next time I will be using lemon oil because I have a roasted maple fretboard that I decided I want to look like ebony.

And no, linseed oil does not dry sticky.

P.S. I was doing some reading, and apparently linseed oil can get sticky, but I haven't experienced this. I put it on, let it soak in for about 10 minutes and wipe it clean (there was a video on Gibson's site (that I can't find) that said to do this. I had no problems doing it this way (I didn't dilute it either).


Gibson's blog writers are far too often simply wrong.
Best advice so far has been MusicLaw's, IMHO.

And yes, linseed oil *can* end up being sticky (and can be a sticky mess for a very long time). Linseed oil is a polymerizing oil that's very different from things like mineral oil. It's essentially a wiping varnish. *Boiled* linseed oil (originally it was actually heated, but these days the term refers to added chemicals) exists to speed drying when it's used as a finish.

There's really no point in using linseed oil in any form. Neither rosewood nor ebony nor baked maple require oiling, actually, and have enough internal oil to survive without a finish for centuries. Using mineral oil is largely cosmetic, but it does help prevent liquids from carrying sweat acids and dirt into the wood fiber ends.

Mineral oil is both cheap and recommended. The "Lemon oil" recommendations refer to the Olde English-type furniture polish, which is largely mineral oil and actually contains no lemon at all. Real lemon oil is used in cooking, and should NOT be used on your guitar. Other concoctions sold as guitar-specific (Fret Doctor, etc.) are generally not harmful, except to your wallet. There are no additional benefits to using any of these.

Don't use 0000 steel wool on your frets if you have open-coil pickups. The shards are pulled into the coils by the magnets and, as they rust, the crystals formed penetrate the very thin coil wire insulation starting a progression of corrosion and microshorts that will eventually ruin your pickups. If you need to polish your frets, check out the fret erasers from StewMac.

I wax my guitars with carnauba paste wax (both the finish and the metal) and I will sometimes apply a tiny bit of Break-Free oil (do NOT spray it on) to metal bits, especially screw threads and Floyd knife edges.
#15
Don't use baby wipes. I happened to have some close by last time I was changing the strings on my RG450 and, knowing how good they are at getting all manner of sh*t off stuff (including babies' rear ends) while still being gentle, I gave all the crud around the pickups a quick wipe while the strings were off. Lovely.

A couple of weeks later...



...and I've got a bit of a cleanup job on my hands. Oh well. Won't make that mistake again.
#16
Quote by von Layzonfon
Don't use baby wipes. I happened to have some close by last time I was changing the strings on my RG450 and, knowing how good they are at getting all manner of sh*t off stuff (including babies' rear ends) while still being gentle, I gave all the crud around the pickups a quick wipe while the strings were off. Lovely.

A couple of weeks later...



...and I've got a bit of a cleanup job on my hands. Oh well. Won't make that mistake again.



Oh boy...that hurts...