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What's your fretboard conditioner of choice?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by steamthief, Jul 18, 2012.


  1. steamthief

    steamthief

    Jan 25, 2006
    Mentone Beach
    I've been using a bottle of Lizard Spit for the last five years or so, which I really like. It darkens rosewood nicely and has the awesome smell of fresh oranges.

    It's now almost empty, and I bought it at a shop that's an hour away. Is there another product that's better? Please share your fretboard conditioner of choice and why it's your go to product.
     
  2. pedroims

    pedroims

    Dec 19, 2007
    Michigan
    I have a set of Dunlop fretboard cleaner and conditioner, it works good, I only use them once a year so I still have plenty of them :), if happens that I bought a used bass with chunks of grime around the frets then I use windex and a used toothbrush.
     
  3. FronTowardEnemy

    FronTowardEnemy It is better to go unnoticed, than to suck Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    Plainfield Illinois
    I use lemon oil sparingly on my rosewood boards once a year if that. Penetrates really well, looks and smells good after application. I use to use Lizard Spit all the time until about 6 years ago. My youngest son, 5 or 6 at the time, asked what I was putting on the board. I told him Lizard Spit. He then asked if they had to squeeze their necks to fill the bottle. Too funny! I always will remember that.
     
  4. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    None. They don't need it.

    I've never owned a bass that needed any, including my 1963 P which has a 1972 neck on it, and my 1964 EB-0 - both untouched by any ju-ju, magical bird poop or other alleged conditioner. And they've lived their entire lives in low humidity environments.
     
  5. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    None. All leave a residue. In 44 years I've never put anything on my fretboards except my fingers. I have cleaned them, of course, but a simple wipe with a damp cloth followed by a dry wipe is all it ever takes.
     
  6. moebass

    moebass

    Jan 4, 2011
    wyoming
    I used Conn fingerboard oil for years. The bottle lasted like almost 10 years.I think it was intended for chello's and such.Its a little thicker than lemon oil, worked great.
    Now I just use plane old lemon oil.
    I think oiling a frettboard is more of an issue if you live somewhere dry, like I do. Anyway I use lemon oil because its cheap and works just as good. I oil about 3 times a year.
     
  7. grinx

    grinx

    Mar 24, 2003
    Raleighwood, NC
    Formsby's Lemon Oil (which is really just mineral oil with lemon scent, i think) on rosewood (for 24 years no problems), ebony (16 years no problem) and tung-oil finished BEM (1 year no problems).
     
  8. If Rosewood has a natural oil, and if that oil dries out, then it is probably important to try to replace it. Most of the available fretboard treatment products are good but they are mostly mineral oil (baby oil) so, plain old baby oil is probably as good as anything. The only real danger IMO is using too much oil and softening the wood to the point that the fret tangs don't grip properly and frets start to lift. For cleaning the goop from the fretboard and polishing the frets, 0000 steel wool is probably good as long as you protect the pickups. That's my opinion, for what it's worth. :eyebrow:
    Rocky
     
  9. I use Formby's lemon oil as well. I oil all my uncoated boards (rosewood) about once or twice a year. I never did it until I had a problem with one of my import MTD's. After shipping the bass off to Mr. Tobias himself I got a call from him and got somewhat scolded that the rosewood board was very dry and that I needed to start conditioning it. Once that happened, I've been pretty religious about it ever since. If The Man says it needs to be conditioned, then in my book, it needs to be conditioned.
     
  10. sqadan

    sqadan

    Oct 29, 2010
    Philly Area
    Gerlitz Guitar Honey here... on unfinished rosewood / ebony anyway. Once a year at most.
     
  11. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2012
    Norway
    I use that Fret doctor stuff. Seems to be working. I bought it a while ago because the masking tape I used when painting the neck on a couple of basses seemed to draw out all the oil from the wood after sitting for a while. None of my local music shops had any oil in stock.

    The fret doc stuff is pretty cheap compared to any stuff i can find in stores around here anyway, so. :)
     
  12. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Planet Waves Lemon Oil.

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...ampaign=none&gclid=CLO04rr8o7ECFQgEnQodr31IdQ

    I received a used guitar (eBay) with a fretboard so gross with gunk that I didn't even want to touch it. Lemon Oil cleaned it up in a jiffy. It works well on dry fretboards as well. A couple years ago, I got a bass that was manufactured in 1993 and I don't think it had ever been treated. It took several treatments over a few weeks, but has looked fine since that time.

    With regard to conditioners, use common sense. If the board is dry or dirty, it needs treatment. Otherwise, leave it alone. I have a classic guitar with a very dense ebony fretboard. It has never been treated even though it's over 30 years old and I plan to leave it that way.
     
  13. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Reno/Tahoe
    Dr. Duck's Ax Wax (contains no wax!)
    Been using it for years
     
  14. iJazz

    iJazz

    Jan 9, 2012
    Sussex, WI
    Doubtful though you may be, Miracle Polishing Cloth is fabulous. I bought several of them for my gui**** friends and they all loved it. Cleans the fretboard beautifully with no residue and polishes even severely dulled frets to smooth shiny perfection with no loss of metal. Rosewood looks very rich after use. The coconut fragrance is great, too.

    I've seen many references to the use of Miracle Polishing Cloth on several other forum boards and every one of them swear by it as well. The common thought is that the Gorgomyte product sold to the guitar market for the same purpose is just a repackaging of the Miracle Polishing Cloth.

    The only thing to remember is that if you are using a maple board, it will blacken the worn areas of exposed wood on the board. I don't recommend it for maple boards.

    iJazz - I'd never think of using anything else. :hyper:
     
  15. darkstorm

    darkstorm

    Oct 13, 2009
    Dunlop fretboard conditioner. Used when I first get an in strument and about once a year after that.
     
  16. geddeeee

    geddeeee

    Jun 30, 2006
    Linseed oil only folks!!!
    Stay away from the 'lemon' or other 'oils'. They dry out your fingerboard over time.
    Linseed conditions the wood and stops the 'nasty' stuff getting in.....
     
  17. Lemon oil, once a year or less.
     
  18. Arvin

    Arvin Underwound Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On the bench

    +1 on the Fret Doctor product.

    And also +1 on the "use it sparingly, if ever" advice. Most people oil their fretboards too much, IMO. I use it when I get a new instrument or neck that has a dry-looking, pale fretboard, and usually only once.
     
  19. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    +1 None of my basses require "conditioning," including the ebony fingerboards on my double basses.
     
  20. superdick2112

    superdick2112 Mile High Bassist Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2010
    The Centennial State
    D. Stringfellow's Lem-Oil (real lemon oil), followed by Gibson Fretboard conditioner (mainly mineral oil). I apply them once or maybe twice a year.
     

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