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Solving a Sticky Fingerboard

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by iantrevor, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. iantrevor


    Jul 16, 2011
    Little Rock, AR
    (Note: feel free to skip the background info, I'm just attempting to absolve my guilt over defacing my bass)

    I've been playing EB for about fifteen years and picked up the DB because my wife is a high school theater teacher and needed me to play in her musical orchestras. I found an old Kay bass on the cheap and was half delighted and half horrified that someone had notched fret markings on the right side of the fingerboard. While familiarizing myself with the double, I grew to rely on the markings and was shocked during our first dress rehearsal that dimmed lights made them impossible to find. In my haste to fix the problem, I grabbed some bright gaffers tape from the theater shop and affixed small pieces over the notches. FF a few months later and I removed the tape only to leave sticky residue that won't seem to budge.


    Do you have any suggestions as to how to remove the residue without damaging the fingerboard?

    Thanks for any help you can give me.
  2. MysterMunky


    Jan 14, 2008
    El Paso, TX
    If it is an ebony fingerboard, just use a little alcohol. Fine steel wool works too.
  3. JEBassman

    JEBassman Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2008
    I'd agree with using some rubbing alcohol. I wouldn't use the steel wool, personally, as I'd worry about scratching the fingerboard.

    Once you have the tape residue removed, wipe the fingerboard down with a damp paper towel or washcloth, to remove any excess alcohol.

    Good luck!
  4. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    0000 steel wool is pretty much a "standard" for cleaning an ebony board. Alcohol can dry the wood but would seem to be a reasonable choice if applied sparingly and locally to the areas of residue. Being alcohol, it evaporates very quickly, so unless you've soaked the board with it, there's no need to remove any excess.
  5. JoeyNaeger

    JoeyNaeger Guest Commercial User

    Jun 24, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Bass Specialist, Lisle Violin Shop
    From experience, I have replaned fingerboards lightly and still had tape residue in the wood showing. #0000 steel wool will get rid of all the gunk that's on the wood, but that will be the best you can do. I would skip the alcohol.
  6. MysterMunky


    Jan 14, 2008
    El Paso, TX
    Both work. I used both methods with success while I did repair at a violin shop.
  7. iantrevor


    Jul 16, 2011
    Little Rock, AR
    Thanks for the help! I'm not too concerned about the appearance, just the feel of the board.
  8. uprightben


    Nov 3, 2006
    Boone, NC
    Oil gets rid of tape residue. For a fingerboard you can use boiled linseed oil.
  9. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    A lot of glues don't let go with alcohol. The corner of a rag dampened with mineral turpentine or white spirit will get rid of 99% of sticky glue residues and won't hurt the fingerboard or the varnish. Rubbing alcohol or meths, on the other hand, can damage spirit varnishes. So I go for turps first. And I think it tastes better.
  10. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Naphtha (Zippo lighter fluid) works well do dissolve residual adhesive without damaging the fingerboard; so will WD-40.

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