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cleaning a maple fretboard

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by DeepDeath, Jul 18, 2002.

  1. what kind of oil or cleaner should i use to take off dirt from a maple fretboard.
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Pure lemon oil has been the best, IME. The stuff at the grocery store usually shows it has petroleum distillates as one of the ingredients ---- you don't want that crap!

    Some, like Roger Sadoswky, will say - linseed oil. But the composition of that product varies too much for my comfort....(boiled? unboiled? et al?).

    I've used pure lemon oil for decades and it has always done a nice job on my maple fretboards.

    There may be other, better, products but I haven't found them.
  3. where can i find pure lemon oil?
  4. I'm gonna disagree. People are welcome to disagree with me.

    Maple boards are sealed - IMO oil isn't gonna do too awful much for you. I've heard more than a few times not to oil maple fingerboards.

    What do I use? Soap and water (on a damp cloth) or Windex (don't get any your bass' finish). Soap and water and a toothbrush works fine for cleaning around frets.
  5. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    Also on maple boards, if the finish wears off, that's how they get all discoloured. You can touch it up with nail polish clear-coat.
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Actually, I agree with you Allan. Lemon oil is really for porous fretboards and 0000 steel wool is the best reco I've seen for maple boards.

    But, over time, I've found that many people, like myself, want something they can keep in their bass case.

    So, the acid in the lemon oil is good for cutting through build-up, it doesn't take up much room in the case, and I can use it on unfinished wooden components, too. I'm certainly not going to keep steel wool in the case and the stuff like Windex is bad news if you get it on a finished neck, as you say. (Unfortunately, some will use the guitar polish they keep in their cases).

    All things considered, the lemon oil is just something that I find handy to use. And since it's right there in the case, I can't come up with a good excuse for not cleaning my fretboard. :rolleyes:
  7. Winston TK

    Winston TK Hairpiece Adventurer

    Oct 8, 2001
    Burnaby, BC Canada
    Why exactly is guitar polish slagged when talking about cleaning maple fretboards (or, any other part, for that matter)?

    I know that one of the commonly posted caviats is the fact that guitar polish may tend to actually ATTRACT more dirt. Is this true?

    I recently purchased a bottle of "Dr. Stringfellow" and am quite satisfied with it.

    Any help regarding this issue would be greatly appreciated.
  8. FalsehoodBass


    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    is the maple board finished (shiny and hard) or unfinished (a la stingray)?

    if its unfinished, i recently contacted ernie ball with the same question and they said to remove the neck, clean it with acetone, then use gunstock oil, then gunstock wax to refinish the neck. I was told that it can be done up to twice per year.
  9. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    DONT OIL YOUR MAPLE FRETBOARDS! It's not really a porus wood, it wont do much, you dont really have to clean them, boards liek rosewood, however, you do.
  10. im still confused. :confused:
  11. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    While most maple boards are finished, mine is unfinished. And it is porous enough to get gunk from my fingers in it. I kind of like the dirty look so I don't bother cleaning it, but I've heard from a couple different luthiers to use lemon or linseed oil. Roger Sadowsky says to use linseed oil, and its pretty hard to disagree with him when it comes to bass repairs.
  12. I just emailed Roger Sadowsky, and he said on unfinished maple, that is also un-laquered, use some kind of Minwax Oil.
  13. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I just finished cleaning mine with rubbing alcohol. I've been using it regularly since I've owned the bass. I can't see that it has harmed the finish in any way.

    I also clean the strings with it. and the plated metal parts. Hasn't hurt them either.

    I use Q-tips dipped in alcohol to remove the gunk that builds up next to the frets if I don't have the strings off. If the strings are off I use an old toothbrush.

    I don't use any kind of polish on the fingerboard. I feel that it will only end up on the strings.

    Using any kind of oil on what really is a painted surface doesn't really make much sense to me.

    I wouldn't even consider using acetone. It's way too powerful as a solvent to take the chance on.

  14. The only thing i use on my fretboard, is a few sprays of Mr Sheen all purpose furniture polish. Comes in the purplish can...

    After 4 years no sign of damage or dryness whatsoever. :p


    Bill Slevin likes this.

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