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Fretboard Cleaning

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by QUSP, Dec 17, 2002.

  1. QUSP


    Aug 8, 2002
    Hercules, CA
    How often should a fretboard be cleaned? What should be used depending on if it's a maple, rosewood, ebony or wenge board?
  2. ah yes iv been wondering this myself what should i use i have nasty dead skin stuff all over my fret board :eek:
  3. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    That's MOJO, leave it there!
    But really, I just wipe the fingerboard down with the same cloth that I use to wipe down the rest of the bass. I've never cleaned any fingerboard on any of my guitars or basses with anything else since I started playing almost 30 years ago, and haven't had a problem yet. I do wipe the fingerboard down pretty good though when the strings are off during a string change.
  4. Idealy give it a whipe down before/after you play it.

    I normally give the board a good whipe down with lemon oil every time I change the strings.
  5. I use Paganini Violin polish & cleaner...it's great stuff for fretted basses too. I clean my fingerboards with it. Plus it has a nice oil in it that is great for your rosewood or maple or whatever kind wood you use.

  6. yea i use the same polish stuff i use to shine up my bass on the fingerboard but i wuz like hmmmm theres this weird black **** on it now and i wuz like maybe the stuff was making it do that but its the same crap all over my strings poor dead skin it dies and lives on forever on my bass
  7. Swerve


    Nov 22, 2002
    Tigard, Oregon
    I've heard someone say you can use furniture polish on a rosewood fretboard but I've been reluctant to try that. Has anyone else heard of or use this?
  8. wouldnt that be a little to strong ?!? id immagine that it would rip the finish to ****
  9. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Lemon Oil it when you change the strings. That is advice when it is new.

    If it gets scummy, use Dr. Duck's Axe Wax.

    If it gets really horrible (and you have a rosewood, ebony, phenolic, pau ferro board), clean it as best you can, then use #0000 Steel wool. Works great and cleans the frets too. DON'T DO IT ON MAPLE!!!!
  10. mm good mr ducks alright cuz yea mines really scummy my strings get groody too n i gotta stand there after im done playing and scrape it off my strings
  11. Hey Nick.
    Try this before playing.

  12. I use Windex on maple boards and boiled linseed oil on everything else.

    I used to use lemon oil but after seeing a note Roger Sadowsky posted to TBL I switched to linseed oil. Roger said lemon oil dries out a fingerboard faster than not treating it at all.

    Let me see if I can dig up the email. Yup - here it is:


    From: Roger Sadowsky
    Date: Sat, 10 Feb 1996 08:30:28 -0500 (EST)
    Subject: Re: oiling fingerboards

    >FROM: Dalton L Tomlinson (K3-MO112)
    > SUBJECT: Oiling fret boards question

    > When I oil the fret board, I take off all strings, oil up and soak over

    > night. I HAVE NOT loosened the truss rod. Do you see this as a problem?

    The issue of adjusting the truss rod when oiling a fingeboard is not an
    issue. The issue is what kind of oil you are using and how long you
    are "soaking". I recommend linseed oil and DO NOT recommend soaking.
    Just cover the entire fingerboard with enough oil to just "wet" the
    board, let it stand no more than 5 minutes, and wipe off all the excess
    with a dry paper towel. If you want to let it "air dry" overnight
    before you restring--that's OK--but don't "wet-soak" the board for long
    periods of time.

    Oils that are sold for wood finishing like tung oil preparations get
    too gummy feeling in my opinion. I have always found lemon oil (as in
    Old English) to make boards dry out faster than if left alone. After
    24 years of this, I still like linseed oil the best.

    Roger Sadowsky

    Sadowsky Guitars Ltd.
  13. haha funny thc yea i usually forget to wash my hands b4 i play ;)
  14. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    The Linseed Oil is a good idea...I go to the local Home Depot, pick up a quart of it, but the salesguy tells me how volitile it is....says it can spontaneously combust and such. He really freaked me out talking about all the times he's heard about the rags catching fire. I talked to a few Luthiers and they said boiled Linseed Oil is a hardener/sealer as opposed to a cleaner. I dunno but the quart is sitting on a shelf until I find something else or gather enough courage to try it. So far I have been using a little scouring pad (the cheap ones you buy to wash dishes) and gently wiping all the nasty Jizzlober off of the fretboard very gently with Martin guitar cleaner and then wiping it down with the same after the cleaning is done....It's working well but until hearing Roger Sadowsky's opinion on the Lemon Oil I was gonna try that....guess I'll stick with the pad and the generic guitar polish/cleaner.
  15. Benbass


    Jan 28, 2002
    Yup, be sure to properly dispose of rags that have linseed oil on them. It really isn't a cleaner. But it is the best oil treatment I've found for my fretboard. Lasts a good long time. It can be a little messy for the first day or two though even after you wipe off the excess. As far as cleaning I'm wondering about all those wood soaps they sell at the grocery store.
  16. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    You shouldn't worry TOO much about them spontaneously combusting. This tends to happen when there is excessive heat and dryness. Oil paint is about 30-65% linseed oil, so all the paintings you see hung up in museums are basically oily rags. The difference is that linseed oil cures after a certain amount of years-this means it becomes rigid and glasslike, and very fragile. Movement and vibrations tend to crack a layer of oil at that point (hence the reason most oil paintings have cracks are from moving and storage). So make sure if you do use linseed oil as a fingerboard oil, you keep your layers very thin; wiping it off shortly after applying it is better than leaving any layers at all, actually. Otherwise, it's possible for your fretboard to get a cracked appearance because of the vibrations it emits in as little as 2-10 years.