cleaning fender 2008 USA J bass neck (maple) with WD40

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bobulibobium, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. hi, ive been recommended by a friend to use WD-40 as a way of cleaning my basses maple neck, maple fret board and frets. there has been grime building up on the fretboard, and the back of the neck has become a bit sticky, and not as smooth as it was when i first bought it.

    ive heard certain cleaning items should not be used on lacquered necks/fretboards, and i was wondering if the members of tb thought that WD-40 was a safe product to use and not destroy the finish on my neck.

    any other cleaning items to recommend as an alternative would be appreciated.
  2. BadB


    May 25, 2005
    Uh, that's a new one. WD40 is a rust preventative/water displacer, so I would vote no.
  3. thats what i thought when reading the can, it didnt seem like a good choice. the guy seems insistant it will work, but i have this feeling im gonna destroy my neck if i do
  4. Slax


    Nov 5, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    If that's the case, insist he does it first on his guitar/bass and then still not do it. jk :D
  5. RFord04


    Apr 8, 2009
    Flint, Michigan
    Sounds like a really bad idea to me.
  6. im glad you guys agree, cause i allmost went out and bought myself a can of this stuff, and it would be silly to spend money to ruin my bass.

    any alternative suggestions to achieve what i want to do to my neck?
  7. GlennW

    GlennW Inactive

    Sep 6, 2006
    For the frets I tape off the fingerboard (before cleaning) and use 0000 steel wool.

    I've found denatured alcohol to be a finish friendly cleaner.

    I recently tried some Goof-Off and wouldn't recommend it, too aggressive.
  8. THand


    Jun 9, 2008
    naptha (aka, lighter fluid)
  9. Andy_D


    Nov 28, 2009
    Corpus Christi, TX
    How about a wet cloth for starters. since it's maple everything should be sealed and you should do no harm so long as it's not dripping wet. For tough spots try some rubbing alcohol which evaporates quickly. As always test anything you try on a small inconspicuous spot. In other words start with the least aggressive approach and work your way up.
  10. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California

    Naphtha will remove the grime and a good guitar polish will restore the "slick" feeling. For future cleaning, a damp cloth or liquid guitar polish will do the trick.

    If you want to polish frets, you have several options. The fastest method is to use micro-mesh abrasive cloth (I use MX1200 for frets) in conjunction with fingerboard guards from Stew Mac. This allows you to quickly polish the frets without masking the fingerboard. A small sheet of Micro Mesh is around $3 from Micro-Surface and the fingerboard guards are $6 from Stew Mac.

    The other method is to mask the fingerboard using blue painters tape and then polish the frets using metal polish and a cotton cloth (or a Dremel with a polishing wheel).

    I would avoid steel wool unless you have a shop with an air compressor to thoroughly remove the filings and extra time to mask off your pickups. In addition to being needlessly messy, steel wool doesn't polish frets nearly as well as the two methods described above.
  11. Stradavus


    Oct 21, 2005
  12. +1
  13. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    FWIW, WD-40 is in fact and excellent cleaner. It removes sticky residue from labels and tape, and is gently on finishes.
  14. GroovinOnFunk

    GroovinOnFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Endorses Cleartone and SIT Strings
    crap, lol... the description says nothing about maple fretboards.

    I have a dunlop fretboard lemon oil based product that straight up says "DO NOT USE ON MAPLE FRET BOARDS"
  15. IbanezGirl


    Sep 26, 2012
    WD-40 is good for cleaning the bridge hardware, but use GHS Fastfret or furniture polish/lemon oil for fretboard. Good luck!:p
  16. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    Are you telling us that you don't have a can of WD 40 around your house or garage?

    Isn't that a man card violation?
  17. Rocky McD

    Rocky McD

    Jun 28, 2005
    San Antonio, Texas
    For starters, your neck finish is not Lacquer, it is Polyurethane. Poly is impervious to almost everything,so there is not much chance of damage. Naphtha is fine, so is WD-40. Don't soak it, just a little on a cloth and it will clean off the gunk. For the frets, just mask them off (including pickups) and use 0000 steel wool. When finished buff everything brilskly with a soft dry cloth. Repeat about one per year.
  18. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    water, guitar polish, naphtha, in that order of aggressiveness. water and naphtha mixed together on a cloth or paper towel works surprisingly well, and they both evaporate away clean.

    no "oils", as you're just smearing oil on top of finished wood. as such, WD-40 just leaves a bunch of WD-40 all over your guitar, which you then have to use something else to clean it off with!

    (in general, WD-40, like wood putty, electrical tape and gorilla glue, has no place in guitar repair.)