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Cleaning your fretboard/fingerboard


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#1 OFFLINE   Ultimate Garage Band

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 09:54 PM

I get asked this so many times I'd figure I'd make it a sticky.;)

Cleaning Your Fretboard


In general terms, I'm referring to a rosewood or ebony board. If it's sealed maple you can still do all this but you could go with another form of cleaner as opposed to lemon oil like denatured alcohol. That evaporates quickly and it SHOULDN'T be a solvent on MOST sealers used for fingerboards, but TEST IT FIRST if you're not sure.

I'll describe what I do to the most gunked up fingerboards I see and I mean mildew is growing on them, ok? :unsure: ;)

Take the strings off. Tape a cover over the pickups if it's an electric or the soundhole if it's an acoustic. Moist gunk is easier to get off than dry gunk, but it's messier. I'll start with a small bowl of lemon oil and a soft toothbrush. Dip the brush in the oil and then start scrubbing the finger board. I work from the nut towards the bridge. It's ok to go right over the inlays.

Now I'll take a clean rag and kind of using my fingernail underneath I wipe straight across in the creavace of the fret and board to get out built up gunk. Use the rag to wipe off the whole fingerboard. Still got gunk? Use can use a soft scraper like a credit card edge. Is it still in the pores of the wood? Time to break out the 0000 steel wool. You want to avoid rubbing too hard and across the grain of the wood. But, if you HAVE to go across the grain to get very stubborn build up next to frets, that's ok, just do as little as you need too and then work it with the grain to remove those marks. You can also use the steel wool to do any minor fret dressing you might find like a small nick or if they're just dull and need to get a little layer of oxidation off. The steel wool will produce tiny steel fibers as it's waste. This is why you covered your pickups because the magnets in them really attract them. When you're all done w/the steel wool, wipe it all down again w/a clean rag using a little more oil if you have too. If it's an acoustic I'll also use oil on the bridge at this time. Carefully remove and discard your taped barriers, string 'er up and you're good to go.

#2 OFFLINE   nagukush

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 02:23 AM

Thanks UGB , Great to have you as our Mod. Great info, its really helped me !!!:)
No one can master every aspect of guitar playing, they just get better everyday.

#3 OFFLINE   gothika66698

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 08:40 AM

where is the best place 2 get oooo steel wool

#4 OFFLINE   Ultimate Garage Band

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 01:23 PM

home improvement stores, ala Home Depot, Lowes, etc, paint supply stores, hardware stores and even the hardware dept of big box stores like Kmart and Wal-Mart.

#5 OFFLINE   gothika66698

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Posted 04 February 2006 - 04:37 AM

thanks for the info i'll be down there in a bit.

#6 OFFLINE   Donna Matrix

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 01:59 AM

If you're in the U.K. (as Gothika is) try Wilkinsons, or a 'Four Candles' type hardware shop. Ask your parents if you don't know what 'Four Candles' means, or even a car body shop. Hope this helps.

#7 OFFLINE   qb punk

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 02:52 PM

lol two ronnies sketch....

#8 OFFLINE   r1p32

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 12:54 AM

well my fretboard seems to get dirty quickly, idk mayb im shedding from my caluses or something. should i take my strings off ever time i clean my guitar, cuz it kinda seems like a huge pain to take the strings off and go through all of that if its gonna get dirty after 2 songs. sorry if im coming off as a lazy bum but is there another way to clean my fretboard without taking the strings off?

#9 OFFLINE   Ultimate Garage Band

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 07:03 AM

yes, it's easier to clean with the strings off. Just plan your cleanings around string changes.

#10 OFFLINE   Bob Wolford

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 10:45 AM

Hey r1p32, Ya probably shouldn't play the guitar while eating barbecue, don't cha know!!
Keep on Pickin'
Bob

#11 OFFLINE   r1p32

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 10:10 PM

LMAO! ill keep that in mind next time

#12 OFFLINE   bluesguy

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 09:40 AM

Bob Wolford said:

Hey r1p32, Ya probably shouldn't play the guitar while eating barbecue, don't cha know!!
:lol: But what if you are playing blues at a BBQ joint? You gotta eat some ribs!?! :lol:
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John 14:21 "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

#13 OFFLINE   munky

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 12:04 PM

Bob Wolford said:

Hey r1p32, Ya probably shouldn't play the guitar while eating barbecue, don't cha know!!
I don't know, it makes sliding on the strings infinitely easier.

Bending becomes a pain though.

#14 OFFLINE   Dan Carey

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Posted 22 July 2006 - 02:14 AM

bluesguy said:

:lol: But what if you are playing blues at a BBQ joint? You gotta eat some ribs!?! :lol:


An' den ya gots ta use da bones for a slide!:jawdrop:

Dan

#15 OFFLINE   Cedric01

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 07:35 PM

What would you recommend for cleaning and moisturizing an unfinished birdseye maple neck?
"The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past." - Master Po

#16 OFFLINE   Ultimate Garage Band

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 12:34 AM

I'd use denatured alcohol preferably over naptha just because it's so much less flamable. It's flamable but naptha is essently lighter fluid. Let it dry and then treat it w/just a touch of oil; lemon, bore, boiled linseed, etc. Not tung oil though.

#17 OFFLINE   Cedric01

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 11:57 AM

Never thought about the denatured alcohol. Thank you for your advice!
"The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past." - Master Po

#18 OFFLINE   dabluz

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 08:32 PM

naptha, in fact it is an excellant all around guitar cleaner

#19 OFFLINE   kill-kool

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 05:09 AM

Juste essuyer avec un chiffon doux après avoir joué sur l'instrument.
Best Regards.

Kill-Kool

#20 OFFLINE   D-Dawn

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 07:49 AM

kill-kool said:

Juste essuyer avec un chiffon doux après avoir joué sur l'instrument.


^Just to wipe with a soft rag after having played on the instrument. ^
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