#1
As the title suggests, I have a classical guitar, which I ironically play rock music on, and I needed to change my strings, so I unstrung it, and realized I should clean off the thing. The body is simple, its the Ebony ( I think) fret/finger-board ( or whatever you call it), thats a bit more complicated.

Now, from what I've read, the best way to do it is do get super-fine steel wool, like, grade 0000, rub the fingerboard gently but firmly, and then put a light coating of either lemon oil or bore oil to maintain moisture so it won't crack.

Worst case scenario: I don't have either of those tools available. Its possible a music school not far from me may have it, but its not very likely, and its rather far away, too far to walk. What household items could be used to clean an Ebony fretboard?
#3
i use a toothbrush lightly damp to scrub the junk off, then lemon oil to soak in for a bit and wipe it down with a soft clean cloth.....if you do it every time you change your stings your fretboard will stay in great shape

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#5
use
fretboard
cleaner
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#6
A toothbrush will definitely work. I usually use a cloth and just rub the fretboard quite firmly. using very fine steel wool is mainly for cleaning the frets more than the fretboard. steel wool might be too abrasive for the fretboard.
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#7
Alright, thanks. As I said before, I don't have any access to typical fretboard cleaning supplies, but anyway, a toothbrush might work. The fretboard isn't really crusty or visibly dirty, its just that, when you tilt the guitar certain angle, you can see all these shiny grease spots from various fingers. So, I'll try out a rag and rub firmly and a dry toothbrush. Thanks.

Everyones saying "use lemon oil", but, as I said before, I dont have that, so I thought, what if, after I clean the fretboard dry, that I just rub my fingers on it which will probably coat in oil etc. or would that just be going back to square 1? Or should I simply clean the grease off and not do anything else to it, and leave it dry and keep on playing?
#8
If you can purchase and change strings every now and then, you shouldn't have a problem with "having access" to a cleaning solution, because you can get both at a local guitar store (or can order online). Really, you should clean your fretboard each time you change strings (or at least every other time), unless you have a non-wood board like the Martin 16 series.
Last edited by TokyoNeko at Jun 7, 2008,
#9
Again, I don't have access to a safe, designed-for-guitar cleaning solution here, at least at a convenient distance (and I dont even know if its availabe), and ordering it online would be near impossible where I live. I'm trying to find alternative ways to clean it, which is why I'm on here.

Anyway, what I've done thus far, I've found an old toothbrush, I spat on it (the toothbrush), and I brushed the frets firmly, and then I rubbed them dry with a cloth. In the end, I didn't see much of a difference. The only change is that the greasy sheen is a bit more dulled.

I'm beginning to wonder if my guitar REALLY needs to have the fretboard cleaned...its not that bad... I dunno.
Last edited by Wood & Metal at Jun 7, 2008,
#10
In the future, don't use spit. Your mouth has all sorts of bacteria in it that you don't need to be spreading all over your fretboard. In high humidity areas of the world, this could lead to mold growth, and you certainly don't want that on your guitar. Plain tap water is by far better to use than spit. Just brushing it dry is better yet. All you're really trying to get off is any excess buildup of gunk leftover from your fingers.
As for doing a thorough job of cleaning the fretboard, what you read about using 0000 steel wool is perfectly fine, and won't damage anything. It can be purchased from most hardware stores or auto parts stores. If you're satisfied with the results you're getting from the toothbrush, by all means, stick with that.
#11
Okay, so you live in Serbia, which I imagine could complicate things a little bit. Even so, if you treasure your guitar enough, then I think it's worth making an extra effort to get what's best for the guitar. I mean, you DO change strings from time to time, don't you? With any luck, you can find cleaning supplies where you get your strings, too.

Also, make sure to wipe your fretboard (including strings) with a soft cloth after every time you play. That will also keep the fretboard clean (and help the strings last longer) in between string changes.
#12
Indeed, I read online from another guitarist that spit isn't a bad idea Well, whatever the case, thanks for the information about that, I won't be using spit in the future.

If I find super-fine steel wool, I'll certainly get it, but no stores that are guaranteed to have it around here pop into my mind, but I'll keep a look out for it.

Would rubbing alcohol be good in removing the grease? But wouldn't it leave the fretboard dry, and therefore susceptible to cracking? That's when I would need lemon oil, I suspect.

I'll also certainly remember to wash my hands before and after playing, and wipe the guitar off when I'm done.

By the way, thanks everyone for replying to my dilemma! I appreciate it.

The problem at the moment is that I'm impatient and want to play my guitar .

Yes, I've removed the strings and have gotten new ones, thats why I'm all about cleaning the fretboard. I unstrung it cause my A string broke, which happened because I left it in Open E tuning, which tightens A up to B. The other strings looked a bit old and worn too. I think the last time it had been restrung was a little more than a year ago.

Anyways, I've got rubbing alcohol, with a strange name (Isopropil, I think thats how its spelled), so would that work?
Last edited by Wood & Metal at Jun 7, 2008,
#13
Quote by Wood & Metal
Indeed, I read online from another guitarist that spit isn't a bad idea Well, whatever the case, thanks for the information about that, I won't be using spit in the future.

If I find super-fine steel wool, I'll certainly get it, but no stores that are guaranteed to have it around here pop into my mind, but I'll keep a look out for it.

Would rubbing alcohol be good in removing the grease? But wouldn't it leave the fretboard dry, and therefore susceptible to cracking? That's when I would need lemon oil, I suspect.

I'll also certainly remember to wash my hands before and after playing, and wipe the guitar off when I'm done.

By the way, thanks everyone for replying to my dilemma! I appreciate it.

The problem at the moment is that I'm impatient and want to play my guitar .

Yes, I've removed the strings and have gotten new ones, thats why I'm all about cleaning the fretboard. I unstrung it cause my A string broke, which happened because I left it in Open E tuning, which tightens A up to B. The other strings looked a bit old and worn too. I think the last time it had been restrung was a little more than a year ago.

Anyways, I've got rubbing alcohol, with a strange name (Isopropil, I think thats how its spelled), so would that work?

Lemon oil is sold at any store that carries furniture cleaning supplies. You can get it at a hardware store or even a grocery store (which is where I get mine). Just make sure that it's lemon oiil.
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#14
Rubbing alcohol will indeed dry out the wood of the fretboard. Please don't use that. For this time around changing strings, just go ahead with the dry toothbrush and get along the edges of the frets. A clean, lint free cloth after that to wipe everything down is about all you should need to do. You can dampen it SLIGHTLY with water if there's smudges you want to remove from the glossy finish, if you have that finish. Use the toothbrush to clean out the nut slots too while you're at it. Do you have any vasoline handy? If so, put just a small dab onto each slot of the nut. A toothpick works good. Or a match stick. This will help a lot with tuning. Strings are metal after all. Metal usually needs lubricating so that it can slide without binding. Then go ahead and string it up. Please try to do it correctly as well. Now's the time to learn the proper way to wind up the strings at the tuning machines. Here's a nice tutorial for you to follow:

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musician/Guitar/Setup/SteelStrings/Stringing/ststringing1.html

While enjoying your newly strung guitar, you'll have time before the next string change to try to find the other items you need to do a thorough job of cleaning it. The guitar will be fine for the time being.
#15
Well, thanks for all the advice, but my strings are nylon, not metal. So rubbing alcohol is out of the question unless there is an oil, such as lemon oil, to re-moisturise it. Anyway, I've done quite a bit of brushing and wiping, but those sheeny spots dont seem to come off. I think they're actually part of the wood now. I compare 'em to the highest frets, where the wood is dry as a bone, whereas the lower ones are shiney and smooth. Is it better that way? I've learned all sorts of preventative measures, e.g., wiping hands, strings and fretboard, washing hands, etc. I'll also try out those lubricating methods too, thanks LeftyDave.

By the way, this is off topic, but would anybody know how hard it'd be to get a pickguard for a classical guitar? Or should I leave that to a guitar store? Or is it a common practice?

Anyways, thanks everybody for your input, I'll go ahead and string my guitar, and keep an eye out for those supplies.
#16
Pickguards are considered unnecessary on a classical because you rarely use a pick on them, if ever. They (classical guitars) are primarily a finger picking instrument, therefore no pickguard.
I posted the wrong link to frets.com. It should be this one:

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musician/Guitar/Setup/Classical/ClassicStr/classicstr1.html

Thought I'd better clarify that in case you started in on restringing and went to the site only to find that it's for steel strings. lol
Apart from appearance, the shiny spots on the fretboard won't do any harm. Actually, it means you've been playing it. Keep doing that.