What do you use to clean frets?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by sricabla, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. sricabla


    Jul 4, 2003
    San Francisco
    Ever since I moved to Hawaii my frets have gotten tarnished. Even with the regular playing they are getting a dull green. I clean my neck with lemon oil, but the frets? what should I use?

    I want to keep away from steel wool for obvious reasons. Is Brasso OK?

    Thanks in advance
  2. Best thing is 0000 steel wool. But you can try an ink eraser, or brass cleaner first
  3. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    A 3M pad works great. It doesn't shed particles like steel wool.

    A pencil eraser works pretty well but if they are turning green you'll have to do quite a bit of rubbing.

    I would avoid Brasso. That's some pretty caustic stuff although it is fast to use.

    I live right on the coast also and the salt air rusts and tarnishes metal quickly. I use a little paste wax on mine but they tarnish eventually anyway.
  4. I'm a 0000 steel wool guy but I recently was polishing a poly refinish on a maple neck with some Meguiars Swirl remover. MAN! this stuff took the steel wool shine and brought it up x2. They look as deep silver as sterling.
  5. Last two times, I just used Dunlop 65 lemon oil (for the fretboard) and applied some to a dremel buffer pad...
    did this on an acoustic guitar (rosewood board) and a bass (ebony board)...the frets, they were a GLEAMING!!!
  6. FunkyLemz


    Oct 17, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    You can use the steel wool on the pickups, bridge, and tuning pegs too - right?
  7. You definitely want to avoid the industrial strength stuff and the treated wadding like Nevr-Dull. It's too easy to get it into the wood. I use the Cape Cod stuff with care on brass nuts/saddles only.

    I wouldn't recommend it. It can make quite a mess. You'll not only dull the hardware's finish but it's also easy to get those fine steel fibers everywhere, possibly including in/on your pickups. Whenever I polish/clean frets with #0000 steel wool I mask the fingerboard, where the FB meets the top and the pickup covers as well. Even after all that, the fibers still somehow manage to find their way into many annoying places.

    For my basses, I don't normally go the next level and use a buffing wheel on the frets. Several of my clients regularly request the super-duper buff job but I think it's overkill. Jens Ritter might disagree! :D Just make sure you use the brown wheel, not the white one!

    I just started doing this recently:
    After a good polishing, I take off the tape and wipe down the FB with a clean cloth. If the FB needs oil I apply it then. After another clean wipe, I then apply some ProGold (now DeoxIT Gold) from Caig with a Q-tip to each fret. If it's the first time, I apply the treatment twice. Then I wait and wipe down again before restringing. :bassist:

    It keeps the frets looking and feeling amazing for a really long time. I remember being intrigued when I first read the claims on the product's label. Among the claims, the label states that ProGold effectively "reduces (industrial and apparently MI) fretting corrosion, reduces wear and abrasion, penetrates plated surfaces and seals and protects base metals." That convinced me to try it on my frets and I'm glad I did. Be aware that I do not work for Caig nor do I sell the stuff. It simply works for me. Remember there's no good substitute for a little elbow grease (barring the Plek Pro, of course)!
    Alik likes this.
  8. Not only is Deox-It a good idea, but automotive wax works great.

    Guard bare fretboards, though.
    Alik likes this.