1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Removing rosin from fingerboard/bridge?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by tplyons, May 8, 2005.

  1. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    How should I remove powdered rosin caked onto the bridge and end of the fingerboard without causing any problems? It's getting really gross and sticky in thumb positions.
  2. :crying: I never understand why people let it come that far.
    The only way to really get the rosin of is to prevent it happening. Clean your bass and your strings each time after you’ve played ! its about 10 sec. work and avoids these nasty things from happening. Let me Guess, it’s Pops.. in that case you will be having an even harder time getting it of. I’ve seen it happen with allot of violin players in my orchestra. I’ve never seen one who really got the Rosin of.

    Well good luck and if you find the solution let me know I know some other people who really would like to know.

    P.S. I know one way to get it of the strings.. change them. ;)
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    My strings are fairly clean, and so is the end of my fingerboard. It's not white or anything, but you can feel it being a bit sticky down there. I do clean it most of the time.

    However, it never occurred to me that the top of the bridge would collect it either, so it's pretty gross down there.
  4. Wiping the strings with iso-propyl (rubbing) alcohol at the end of each session will usually do the trick. You might try to keep the bow working between the bridge and the end of the finger-board to avoid getting rosin into the Thumb-Position (technique? :) )

    - Wil
  5. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Thanks Wil, but that doesn't do anything for a pre-gunked fingerboard and bridge. I usually do wipe it down with a soft microfiber rag in my bag.
  6. Tom Hutton

    Tom Hutton

    Nov 22, 2004
    I just did a few experiments and Poops rosin kinda dissolves in non-polar solvents ie mineral spirits, lighter fuel, isopropanol etc. so you might want to try one of these on a rag and a bit of elbow grease.
    My somewhat geeky interest has been piqued by this, so I might take some different rosins to work tomorrow (in a chemistry lab) and see what is the ideal solvent for cleaning them off :)
    Whatever you do though, just take great care to keep solvents away from any finished areas of your bass...
  7. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I've always used a very exacting mixture of naptha and heptane. Ronsonol calls it "lighter fuel" but don't let them fool you: it's really bass rosin remover.
  8. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA

    That's the real kicker. Anything good at softening the rosin will also soften the finish.

    I like to use denatured alcohol, but then again I like to live on the edge. :cool:

    Just dampen a coarse rag with some kind of solvent away from the bass and make sure it isn't wet enough to drip. It'll be fine.
  9. I don't know if it works any better than ronsonol, but Petz makes a Rosin Remover product. It's $5 for just a few ounces. If the ronsonol stuff works, it is probably better than this stuff. When I got my first bass, it had globs of rosin everywhere on the top. I got the Petz stuff, but it is pretty mild and doesn't cut to the chase real quick. I don't know what they were using for rosin, it was harder to remove than pine sap on auto paint. I use Pops and it isn't as bad as whatever was stuck all over mine. One thing that will help keep it from sticking if your bass is glossy finished is to apply some guitar wax like Gibson makes. It makes the surface resistant to sticky stuff. It won't help you out on the FB and bridge though. You just need to wipe off the dust before it gets too thick there.

    Applying the rosin only when you need it also helps. It takes rosin already on the bow a few drags before it warms up and starts to grab so bow a little bit before you decide to put more rosin on. You'll find that you use a lot less rosin that way.
  10. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    How much rosin are you all using? I've been taught to put rosin on my bow about 1 in every 5 times I play. Also, keeping the bow in between the end of the fingerboard and the bridge is mandatory. Frequent cleaning will prevent most problems, too (this takes seriously 10 seconds). Finally: avoid pops and buy some Carlsson rosin. Pops is one step up from glue, I don't know why anyone would want that on their bow when a good rehair is so expensive (I know I pay about $65). Or on their strings, considering how much they cost....

    Rosin has never been an issue for me -- but no matter how diligent I am, I end up spending a half hour rubbing dead skin off my fingerboard about once a month. That seems to be a less avoidable issue for those of us whose hands sweat a lot.
  11. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Alcohol is good for lots of stuff and this is one. There's also a chemical called toluene or toluol available at most hardware stores that will cut thru rosin like butter and I have yet to see it affect a varnish. Test of course first in the proverbial inconspicuous area. Try not to let in get in your DNA though.
  12. I find these comments just a little odd since I used Pops daily for 2 years with none of these "clean-up" issues. I'm willing to grant everyone his/her personal preferences, but I wonder if you've ever tried Pops for any considerable time? It sounds like you wouldn't even consider it. One reason I used it is that my conservatory trained teach recommended it. All I've ever noticed with it is some white powder that easily wipes off the strings with no solvent required. The Carlsson's is OK to me, but for the 5 string low BB, it doesn't start as quickly or as surely as the Pops. Maybe I'll get used to it. Incidentally, I didn't clean or rehair when I started using Carlsson's. If there's too much rosin on the bow, it usually wears off onto the strings pretty quickly.

    Tbeers, what strings are you currently using? I'm just curious. There was a great deal of difference in the way the Pops sounded when I started using the helicore orchestras.
  13. My teacher, also a luither, said all they use in their shop is the Kolstein's cleaner.
    I got the cleaning kit from Lemur for around $20, cleaner, polish and a couple of cotton cloths.

    Probably too much $ for what's really in it, but not too much for the peace of mind that it won't harm the finish.
  14. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I play a S&D 7/8 bass, full Obligato set, an Ary France bow (decent bow), and I use Carlsson. I used to use Pops, but I switched at my teacher's recommendation and have never looked back.
  15. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Many years ago I got a great big fat eyeball full of toluol. That's right: a big wad of it right in the eye. I was painting streetlights out on the street for the electric company. I thought my eye was toast -- it felt like it had melted in there or something. There was searing pain and blindness. Got water at a house on the street, rinsed like crazy and was back painting 20 minutes or so later.

    It's wicked sh*t, but it's not likely to hurt the finish on your bass. I've tested it on my eyeball and can tell you it hurts like freaking h*ll.

    I think it's a petroleum distillate, in't it?
    noelpaz likes this.
  16. Heifetzbass

    Heifetzbass Commercial User

    Feb 6, 2004
    Upstate, SC
    Owner, Gencarelli Bass Works and Fine String Instruments, LLC.
    Damon- the bretheren in Canada, may not be able to get the Naptha that we can in the US in big cans of solvent. You can buy it in most hardware stores- works pretty well on Pop's. I just used it a couple of months ago on a bass that I refurbished for a friend. I started with Denatured Alcohol, but it was a lot of work and was afraid of thinning the varnish as I was going to french polish after. The Naptha zipped it right off- and let me tell you that the top of this Grunert bass felt like 60 grit sand paper- ugly!

    Carbosol is by far the best cleaner I have used to clean instruments. Works like Toluene but is a little easier on the body- at least in my experience. But as Jeff mentions- please use these solvents, even the alcohol, in a well-ventilated area and use a respirator if at all possible.

  17. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    I usually just use spit an elbow grease after every time I play. Seriously. I was needing a liquid cleaner at an outdoors gig and found spit to be the only thing I had. I worked wonders!!!
  18. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    i keep some of those little alcohol wipe packets in my bag and they do the trick juuuuust fine.
  19. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Toluene will dissolve nitrocellulose lacquer but it shouldn't affect a varnish finish. Alcohol is good for rosin, but wil dissolve a shellac-based finish.

    I use orange oil- real orange oil, not orange scented mineral oil- I get at a Rocklers store to clean off rosin. Rocker's also sells a mix of orange oil and beeswax that I use a very thin coat of to protect the bass and some of my guitars.
  20. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    How much solvent are you guys using that it's dripping all over your bass? I wet a rag with a little naptha (ok, ok, Ronsonol lighter fuel) -- not enough that the rag is anywhere near dripping, just a little bit -- and clean the strings between the end of the board and the bridge. A tiny amount of solvent does the job very quickly with no mess or danger to the bass.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.