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Fingerboard care

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Tsal, Sep 13, 2000.

  1. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    How do you take care of your fingerboard anyways?
    There seems to be some dirt especially near the frets
    and I though of cleaning it properly with perhaps
    some old toothbrush and liquid soap when changing the strings. Rosewood fingerboard I think, on Ibanez Soundgear. Should I use some oil after that, or should I
    perhaps use some different method for removing the dirt?
  2. Every time I re-string I put lemon oil on my fretboard. Makes it shine!

    -Woofy Out
  3. Tsal -

    I was taught by some really good repairmen/builders too clean my fingerboard (unless it's maple) with 0000 steel wool, then use red oil to oil it. Woofy, lemon oil was not recommended by these guys, they said it had a tendency to dry out unfinished woods, which is a VERY BAD thing. If you have open coil pickups (i.e. standard Fender Passive p/u's), be careful to cover them to keep the little steel wool fibers out, they could get inside the windings and short out the p/u. I cover my p/u's (EMG Humbuckers) with masking tape when I clean my fingerboard as a precaution, never had a problem. Hope this helps
  4. Seruiosly!?!

    Gard-I think alot of people use lemon oil. What's the difference between Red Oil and Lemon Oil? Where can you find this Red Oil? I'll definately quit using lemon oil if it dries out the wood. Later

  5. Woofy -

    Yes, from my understanding lemon oil will dry out unfinished wood, so if you've got a rosewood/wenge/pau ferro/ebony fingerboard, it's not a good choice. On the other hand, it's great for cleaning/polishing FINISHED wood, so if you've got a maple board, go ahead. I get my red oil at the local Albertson's (grocery store), I'm sure if you checked at any hardware store, they'd have it too.'

    A note on using it: All I need to coat an entire HUGE 6 string finger board is 3-4 small drops. A little goes a long way, there's no need to douse the entire fingerboard with it. A few drops, spread them with your fingertips, and let it sit a couple minutes (I usually polish the rest of the bass while it's soaking in, that works out perfectly time-wise). Then take a paper towel and wipe up any excess. Using too much oil and/or not removing the excess will effect string life, the oil will get in the windings and attract and collect dirt. Hope this helps.

    I get the feeling this thread should actually be in the set-up forum..... ;)
  6. I think there are a lot of varying opinions out there on how to maintain a fret board and I'm not sure if one is right or wrong. I've heard that you shouldn't use lemon oil on the fretboard but Carvin, who produces a lot of instruments a year, recomends it:

    "For Carvin basses with the natural tung oil finish, apply a good furniture oil such as 'Old English' lemon oil and wipe off the excess. This should be done at least twice a year.

    The ebony fingerboard should also be oiled with lemon oil twice a year."

    Also, it seems to me that lemon oil is designed to penetrate the wood surface and therefor should be used on unfinished wood. You would normally use furniture wax or polish on finished wood.

    I have used lemon oil on all my instruments and never had a problem with the wood drying out.
  7. 5156246


    Sep 6, 2000
    Hey, that's Come together, right?

  8. Huh...Yeah ;)
  9. reel big bassist

    reel big bassist

    Mar 27, 2000
    I've never applied any type of oil to my fingerboard.

    Every month I usually just clean and polish
    the body of my bass, and wipe down the neck
    and fingerboard with a moist cloth. Then I use a dry cloth to dry it off. What's the advantage
    of using oil vs water to clean the fingerboard?

    By the way I've had my bass for about 2 years.

    Greg P

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