Disinfecting a Bass' Fingerboard???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jokerjkny, Sep 2, 2003.

  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    Hey all,

    a buddy of mine recently scored a sweet early '60s Fender Jazz from a gentleman down in philly. its in ok condition, and tho, the body is beatup, its a cool looking beatup. ;) but, all in all, it plays fantastic!

    anywho, i'm sorta writing on his behalf. seems that a few days after getting it, he tells me that the bass' neck is starting to smell rather fishy.

    its not the usual metallic smell you get on your fingers after playing it for awhile. but a really fishy odor. we didnt think too much of it, but the smell has gotten progressively worse! and not just that, but the smell has migrated to his other newer rosewood Fender Jazz that he plays regularly!!! :eek:

    i know this story's kinda gross, but can anyone help? anyone know what's going on? is there something not as harsh as Lysol or the disinfectant wipes that he can use on his bass' fingerboard?
  2. I use Orange Glo to clean my fingerboard and it leaves an orangey scent. It's pretty good, you should give it a try.
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Just try some warm water with some soap.
  4. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    thx guys!

    i just spoke with him over the phone, and he tried using some Lysol wipes, even tho i told him to wait! at any rate, the smell is still kinda there. :(

    soap and water does sound "nice" enough, but now, would it really be tough enough? the orange Glo stuff sounds intriguing, tho.

    some questions? considering how porous rosewood is, would he have to recondition the board with something like Dr. Ducks?

    also, how hard are we allowed to scrub, and how long can the water stay on the board? what precautions should we take, so we dont hurt the board?
  5. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Not knowing the overall condition of the fingerboard, i would say NOT to scrub it hard or leave water on there at all.

    It's very likely that most of the wood on the fingerboard is exposed, i.e., very little coating left, thus, you don't want to risk having anything "soak" into the wood. If you scrub it too hard, you'll likely scar the exposed wood.

    Just be very, very careful. If at all nervous, you might want to take it to a luthier to take care of it. The age of this bass dictates that extreme care should be taken.

    Also - try asking the folks on the Luthier's forum. They could probably give the best advice.

    I'd love to see a pic of this bad boy.
  6. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Try it first, you can always get to the harder stuff, it's better than unnecessarily damaging the finish by accident.
  7. when I was on vacation in April, I left my strat in the same room as this hermit crab..it died and began to rott while we were away and my guitar stunk so bad!..since I didn't know what to do, I just left it in the big family room and let it air out for a week...no biggie considering I'm a bassist that seldomly messes around with metal licks on a guitar.
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    ... probably used cod liver oil to "condition" his fretboard.
  9. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Well, he could try changing strings for one. Certain strings, like Roto flat's I've noticed, leave odd smell on your fingers after a while. I've thought it must be the special metal alloy they use reacting with skin chemicals.
  10. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA

    they both have nickel Labella Slappers on 'em.
  11. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    I'm sorry, but this is just hilarious!!!
  12. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Take off the strings and throw them away. Rub the neck and frets down with extra fine 0000 steel wool (be sure to tape up the pickups, else you'll have filings all over them). Wipe the fingerboard down good with lemon oil, let it soak in for several minutes, then wipe off. Put on a new set of strings.

    If the smell is still there after that, you have a pretty bad problem. You might want to consider wiping the board down lightly with a substance called "Odo-Ban". It will leave a heavy eucalyptus smell (whihch will go away after awhile), but it will de-stink ANYTHING. I used it inside a freezer once that smelled like death, and it neutralized all odor.
  13. japhy4529

    japhy4529 this is only a test... Supporting Member

    i think the majority of the problems lies in the strings. they are probably ancient and the dude could have worked at the philly fish market!

    did the bass come with a case or gig bag? if so, do the "sniff test" to see if the odor is eminating from there. either way, leave the bass out of it's case/bag for a while to air out.

    as a last resort, have your friend wear those little "finger condoms" when he plays! :D

    good luck!

    - tom
  14. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    thx for all the info guys!

    we did the string change thing, and realize "it" is still on the board.

    will defintely check out that "Odo_ban" stuff.

    btw, i called the Sadowsky shop just in case, and Frank was there to help us out (as usual... ;)).

    he said that we could just use some alcohol to really kill whatever's on there, then rub down with some linseed oil.

    another idea he gave us was to use a "foamie" version of Windex cleaner you can get in hardware stores. gentle, yet very effective in getting the gooey crap they get on many a vintage bass that goes thru the shop.

    i'm kinda partial to just using the alcohol or even the Orange Glo, only cause i want something a bit more organic, and dont wanna kill my bud and i when we jam around and are eating pizza or somethin'. :eek:
  15. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    "Your playing is fine, but your bass sure stinks."

    Depending on how deep the funk has infiltrated the instrument, you might want to go so far as to remove the neck and make sure nothing oozed into the neck pocket.

    I'm glad until after I ate to read this thread....:eek:
  16. TRU


    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    That bass is one mean funk machine! :)

    I take care of my rosewood fretboards with alcohol (isopropanol 'cause the stuff to drink is too expensive here) and linseed oil. If that doesn't work...
  17. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!

    This thread is crackin me up!
  18. jdombrow

    jdombrow Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I think the guy's blaming it on his bass, 'cause he's too embarassed to tell you where his fingers have been!
  19. ................ouch!

    LMAO that is a possibillity:ninja: :ninja:

    I've heard of the song called Stinkfist by Tool......not StinkBassneck!!!!

    sorry jokerjkny if that ticks you off...
    g\l with getting rid of that smell btw...
  20. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    hardy har har, guys... :rolleyes:

    but, took y'all long enough with the jokes. ;) :D