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Rosewood Fingerboard Conditioning and Cleaning. Help!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by JohnPatton18, Nov 15, 2018.

  1. JohnPatton18


    Nov 15, 2018
    So I'm fairly new to the whole conditioning and cleaning thing. I just got a nice used bass that is very gorgeous, but the fingerboard looks kinda nasty, and not in a good way. I know its a rosewood fingerboard, are there any suggestions on how to clean and condition it?

  2. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    Clean with some lighter fluid and paper towels.
    Condition with a small amt of linseed oil.
    Wipe it off till you can’t get any more off.
    Should be good for a long time
  3. briandavismurph

    briandavismurph Supporting Member

    Jul 1, 2013
    agree 100%
  4. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    I suggest you do a search on TalkBass. This topic has been covered many many times. Even more than that.
  5. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    Do you disagree with the advice given?
  6. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    There are dirts that will clean with lighter fluid, and some that won’t. I suggest some dish detergent in water as a first step - don’t soak the ‘board, just a bit on a rag. Finishing up with a wee bit of linseed is a good idea.
    202dy and Zooberwerx like this.
  7. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I use Naptha (same as lighter fluid) to clean the board, haven’t found any ordinary filth it won’t remove. If you want a little sheen on the board after cleaning, the Stewmac Fingerboard Oil is nice stuff. It’s a very thin penetrating oil, like thinned Tru Oil, that dries fast and leaves a smooth finish that seals against moisture and crud. Stupid easy, wipe on, let absorb, wipe off, buff a little.
  8. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    How nasty is it? I'll hit really filthy necks with some 0000 steel wool to clean up both the rosewood and the frets. Be sure to tape your pickups if you do not remove the neck, metal shavings and magnets are a bad combo. You will definitely need to apply some oil afterwards though.
  9. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    A lot of the lower end basses have real “dry” looking rosewood, not sure why that is. Just an oil finish makes them look better.
  10. chadhargis

    chadhargis Jack of all grooves, master of none Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    I've never found the need to "clean" my rosewood boards. I typically condition them at every string change with some Gerlitz Guitar Honey.

    You'll get suggestions for conditioning your board with everything from mineral spirits to lemon oil. I tried Guitar Honey and it works. I have no issues with my boards, so I'm sticking with it.
  11. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    No steel wool! It isn’t worth the hassle, even if you mask the pups, it leaves tiny invisible particles of rusting steel everywhere. If it’s really cruddy, use one of the finer scotchbrite pads, white or grey. I’m guessing it’s just dry. Plus, you can polish the frets with a white scotchbrite.:D
  12. speyer

    speyer Supporting Member

    +1 there. I avoid steel wool altogether these days. Fine scotchbrite is a fine replacement.
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  13. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    whereas i use 4x0 steel wool every day and haven't found anything that can replace it! scotchbrite leaves you with satin-finish frets, not pleasant

    keep the flakes away from your pickups, otherwise it's fine and "cuts" better than anything else out there to shine frets and clean off the gunk in between on rosewood. naphtha is good to pre-soften really nasty built-up gunk before attacking it with the steel wool.

    as for "conditioning" it afterwards, somebody please tell me what that word even means...

    rosewood is naturally oily, i've found it best not to introduce any more stuff onto it.
    Jamie_Funk, Joshua and 202dy like this.
  14. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Some crud dissolves in water. Soap helps water do the job quicker.

    Some crud doesn't dissolve in water. Naphtha takes care of that.

    0000 (four aught!) steel wool works fine.
    Joshua likes this.

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