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!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Somebody SET the record STRAIGHT!!What dries out the fretboard?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by XIbanez4lifeX, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. XIbanez4lifeX


    Nov 15, 2005
    The internet can be a wonderfull thing, however, it can also be too much or bad information. I have seen different threads about certain cleaning agents that can dry out the fretboard. I am confused about what it is.

    I hear lemon oil is what you should use(one person stated they heard it can dry out the fretboard)

    I have heard mineral oil(same as above)

    On another site somebody said rubbing alcohol, this may have been a prankster

    What exactly causes the fretboard to "dry out"?
  2. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    lemon oil will work fine... Do NOT use rubbing alcohol.
  3. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    General wear and tear and exposure to the elements make the fretboard dry out. However, it's not all that necessary to keep putting lemon oil on your neck all the time. It's oil, so it doesn't dry out nearly as fast unless you use some oil-stripping agents on your neck like alcohol (God knows why you'd do that but some people do). There are a lot of people who overdo it with the lemon oil, and their wood gets too moist, which is as bad for the neck as dryness. I would say once a year would be the maximum. Me, I only do it when it's obviously dried out, so maybe every couple years I do it.
  4. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    alcohol and other solvents promote evaporation and that sucks moisture out of the wood. Not generally a good thing. If you have a really dirty fretboard then you haveto clean it with something. I'm wondering if Murphy's oil soap would be too harsh. Anyone tried that ?

    I do have the perfect solution but it wouldn't be convenient. I have 1 of 2 local luthiers do a large part of my maintenance. I get more time to play, spend less time dinking around with stuff that I'm half good at and my instruments play better.

    My guys are both mid-range builders of acoustic instruments and they both do repair and maintenance work on the side. See if you've got folks like that nearby. For me it's been money well spent... of course I have to fight the 'need another acoustic disease!' Hell, I can't even spell Blu_gr@ss :)
  5. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    Wrong forum. You'll have better luck in the Luthiers section.
  6. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    Low humidity.
  7. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    And time. And how moist your hands are.

    My hands are usually dry, and in the winter it gets pretty dry up here, a lot more than in Florida say, so unlike JimmyM, my boards dry up pretty fast. I might oil 'em twice during the winter, and maybe once during the summer. If you think it looks dry, then you should oil it I say :D
  8. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Low humidity is your biggest enemy. The heating season up north is the worst. You can replenish the fingerboard with lemon oil or boiled linseed or whatever.

    I think when you hear warnings, you are either hearing people mis-remembering advice they've heard or warnings about lemon-style cleaning products, like Pledge. These cleaners will break up oils, which in itself is not that bad. It's okay to clean the gunk out of your fingerboard (steel wool will work, too) including dirty sweaty people-oil. Where people run into trouble is when they think that the lemon cleaning product protects as well as cleans, which it probably does not. Any time you clean, especially with solvents, finish it off with some oil.
  9. lem oil, it's all i use, if its the first time your applying it, get some paper towels to apply it with, and rub the frets until the dirt stops coming out of it......if it is the FIRST time you lem oil the neck, i would recomend acter the frets are all nice and clear of dirt and grim to spray some directly on each fret and let it sit for five or so minutes, the wipe it off and useing a dry paper towel rub the frets until they are dry (i.e. no picking up any more oil out of the neck)

    i would never use it, but ive heard of people using 3 in 1
  10. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    Works great. But make sure you mask off the pickups if using steel wool. Otherwise you'll have a bajillion little metal particles stuck to the magnets. :meh: