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Disinfecting a Bass' Fingerboard???

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by jokerjkny, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    Hello master bass luthiers!

    hope you guys can help us out.

    a good 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!!!

    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? what do the pro's use when faced with this dilemna?

    a few people in the general board mentioned using Orange Glo or just warm water & soap. someone else mentioned that the previous owner might have used Cod Liver Oil to condition the board, but that sounds more like a sarcastic joke. :rolleyes: anyways, would i also have to "recondition" the board with something like Dr. Ducks to bring it back to life?

    and btw, my bud on an impulse used some Lysol disinfectant wipes on it, cause he couldnt take the smell. it didnt really do anything he said, but make the strings dead.

    any other ideas?
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Geez, at least take the strings off before you go spraying stuff on the board.

    Get ahold of some Naptha. Naptha is a solvent. It's VERY flammable so be careful. Rub the fb down thoroughly. This will break down the oils and you should be able to rub any nasty stuff out. Follow this up with lemon or boiled linseed oil to seal & protect the board. Do not use the "lemon scented" furtinture polish like Pledge.
  3. To add to FBB's good advice -

    IF and it's a big IF, the fretboard really has a bacterial infestation(?) the naptha won't disinfect it. The Lysol should have done it but if it didn't, I would use a straight isopropyl alcohol wipe and then get the neck out into the sun for a little UV sterilization. This should take care of the critters.

    A fishy smell huh?...I wonder if the previous owner used a fish oil on the fretboard. Cod Liver oil is readily available and perfectly natural so someone being smart by half might think it to be good for wood. :rolleyes: