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What do you use to clean the dark grime off of your satin finish maple fingerboard?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by gfab333, Jun 5, 2001.

  1. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Have you noticed that a maple fingerboard with a satin finish tends to get discolored over time due to finger sweat and grime?

    I would really like my maple neck to maintain its light wood color and not be subject to the dark discoloration due to normal playing. What do you recommend for cleaning it (getting the dark discoloration out)?

    A friend recommended rubbing alcohol. He said it gets the grime out, and leaves the wood with its original light color. I would think that this would remove the satin finish and wood sealant.

  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I'm with you on the alcohol. If you look up "alcohol" in a dictionary, one of the first things it usually tells you is that it is a SOLVENT! I don't want a solvent even near my instruments, unless someone is removing the finish.

    Naptha, available from a hardware store, is what I was advised to use by a wood care pro. It evaporates quickly, so there is very little risk of hurting the finish. If you use it, be sure to read the proper use info. on the label.

    If the finish is dull after using naptha, guitar polish or whatever you like to use for the body will bring back the sheen best. Rubbing with a soft, clean cloth runs a close second.
  3. leftybassdog

    leftybassdog Senior Supporting Member

    To clean your fingerboard if it is real bad with grime you will need to scrape the big stuff off {you can use a light pick} 0000 steel wool works great for maple without a finish up and down not crosswise, after it is clean put wipe if off and your done, maple with a clear finish can be cleaned with lighter fluid and a rag, dont use steelwool on a finished board !and dont use lemon oil or alcohol on a maple fingerboard use gunstock oil.
  4. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Alembic Supreme Polish might be a nice product to use. Check out www.alembic.com for the particulars. It's pretty safe for most all polyurethane and laquered finishes.

    Best of luck,

  5. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
  6. chengann


    Apr 22, 2003
    hope you guys wouldn't mind a new reply to an old problem.

    i bought a used lakland 55-94 off ebay.
    nice condition but the maple neck had some
    dirt on it (just like *ALL* the other unfinished
    maple necks).

    some folks like battle scars but hey, i am not one of them.

    a search in the forum yielded advice to clean the neck by using scotch brite as a light abrasive. i tried that the first time. removed 90% of the stain. not very comfortable as i may have to do this a few times a year.

    SO i experimented with other cleaning methods and eureka! i stumbled upon a special kitchen sponge which works perfect.

    it's a "japanese magic sponge". i can't read japanese but my understanding is, this sponge is made of some micro textured material which is able to reach the fine grooves in any surfaces (where the stain remains). all i need is to add a little water to loosen the dirt and let the sponge do the work. some mild wrist and elbow work. it removed about 80 to 90% of the stain. i concluded the little experiment by giving a nice neck rub to my lakie with a coat colorless finisher wax.

    nice, clean and smooth neck.

    i am happy.
    my lakie is happy.

  7. Nuthin', The dirt keeps the funk! ;)
  8. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Actually, Rickbass, naptha is a much more powerful solvent than alcohol. More powerful doesn't necessarily mean that it's dangerous, just that it will affect more materials.

    The truth of the matter is that practically all liquids are a solvent to some degree. Plain water is often called the universal solvent because, given enough time,it will dissolve most materials.

    Water (ionized or otherwise) is probably the poorest choice of all because of the risk of water getting into the unfinished fret slots and causing the wood to swell. A solvent will evaporate away before any damage is done.

    There is a good thread and poll in the archives of setup that goes into fret board cleaning in great detail. A simple search should turn it up.


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