how to clean fretboard

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by hogrider16, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. hogrider16

    hogrider16 Gretschie

    Oct 18, 2017
    charles town wv
    I did a search but didn't see anything on how to clean a fretboard. Anyone have a link to instructions, or advice? Also, how to clean the body. I just picked up a '73 Gibson and it needs a pretty good cleaning.

  2. thunder58

    thunder58 I Bleed Orange

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    I always clean my fretboard with Ernie Ball fretboard wipes . I let it stand and air dry ( it' an oily cloth ) Cleaning I use ' LizardSpit '
    ZackyDog and hogrider16 like this.
  3. DownByLaw

    DownByLaw Electromatic

    Oct 27, 2017
    New Jersey
    Naptha (lighter fluid) is safe to use for cleaning fret boards. Afterwards a light coat of fret board conditioner or oil.

  4. peterjcb

    peterjcb Gretschie

    Nov 28, 2017
    I use Old English lemon oil and an old cotton cloth. It seems to pull a lot of junk off the fretboard and puts down a nice coat of fresh oil.
    ZackyDog and hogrider16 like this.
  5. Ylikessu

    Ylikessu Electromatic

    Oct 17, 2017
    My favourite for cleaning fretboard is "Dunlop fretboard 65 ultimate lemon oil".
    Im very lazy of cleaning guitars and this stuff gets fretboard as good as new in few minutes.
  6. DaddyDog

    DaddyDog Country Gent

    Sep 18, 2011
    Mississauga, Canada
    There are multiple levels to "cleaning". You'll find some products are meant to clean up fingerprints and dust. Some are meant to rehydrate and protect. Some to remove light/medium/deep scratches. Some to remove deep down grime.

    Post a few pics and you'll get some really specific advice.
  7. LA Miles

    LA Miles Country Gent

    Dec 6, 2012
    Dunlop System 65 kit should cover most of what you need - Amazon would likely have it for $20-$25. Fretboard cleaner, polish, wax etc
    MTurner and LongJohn like this.
  8. Dave-B

    Dave-B Synchromatic

    May 23, 2016
    You have to commit.

    kyletrick13 and Sid Nitzerglobin like this.
  9. hogrider16

    hogrider16 Gretschie

    Oct 18, 2017
    charles town wv
    Maybe I'll just take it to the car wash. :D
    Dave-B likes this.
  10. KuKuKu

    KuKuKu Gretschie

    Aug 28, 2016
    I recommend the funky Bot Wash. :D

    Dave-B and Sid Nitzerglobin like this.
  11. Sid Nitzerglobin

    Sid Nitzerglobin Country Gent

    Jun 8, 2015
    Came here to post this video but you beat me to it...

    This is the only way to be sure it's really clean ;)
    Dave-B likes this.
  12. hogrider16

    hogrider16 Gretschie

    Oct 18, 2017
    charles town wv
    Or I could take it apart and put it in the dishwasher for a really deep cleaning!
    Dave-B and Sid Nitzerglobin like this.
  13. Tinman46

    Tinman46 Country Gent

    Dec 19, 2011
    Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
    It all depends how much dirt we're dealing with and what kind of wood. Also if there's a finish on the fretboard.
    For unfinished rosewood or ebony I will go over it with 0000 steel wool. Also has the added bonus of buffing up the frets. Just make sure you don't get metal fibers on the pickups. If you do use the sticky side of painters or masking tape to pull it off the magnets.
    After it's all clean and buff go over it with tac cloth to remove fibers and then coat it in the product of your choice. I've been using Walnut oil lately, it was recommended to me by the instructor at a guitar repair course. Once dry it's not greasy and seems to last longer than other products I've tried.
    DaddyDog and hogrider16 like this.
  14. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    Viol is my standard fretboard and body -conditioner. It is an ancient mixture that is very highly regarded among violinists and it works perfectly. For shiny surfaces that gone bad I really like Gibson`s "restorative finish cream". It really did work wonders on my Flying.
  15. Aymara

    Aymara Friend of Fred

    Jul 6, 2013
    I use Duesenberg Fingerboard Lotion because it is colorless, which avoids a yellow cast in the binding, which can easily happen when using yellowish oils like lemon oil. Because that Duesenberg stuff is hard to get in the US, I would use colorless oil for wind instruments instead, which you can order on Amazon.

    I usually put a few drops on a white cotton cloth (old T-Shirt for example) and wipe the whole board including frets after removing the strings. I let it sink into the wood for around 5 minutes and then wipe it dry with dry cotton. Corroded frets might need several takes though. In that case make sure, that not too much oil is soaked off by the fretboard wood.

    For cleaning an old Gibson's body the Gibson Restauration Kit might be worth a look, which was developed for nitro lacquer cleaning and polishing.
  16. Junior94

    Junior94 Gretschie

    Jul 29, 2017
    So I guess that's a no to some steel wool and some running alcohol. Or 100 grit sandpaper and some bleach and ammonia.
    I'm only kidding, don't do this. Don't mix bleach and ammonia
  17. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Nothing fancy. I scrape the crud with an old credit card.
    Follow up with Paper towel or cloth to wipe the fretboard clean.
    Rosewood gets a foodgrade linseed oil treatment.
  18. Sid Nitzerglobin

    Sid Nitzerglobin Country Gent

    Jun 8, 2015
    This is typically what I do.

    Naptha and cotton rag and a little persistence gets the smutz off the board and frets most of the time. I've also got 400 and 800 grit fret erasers and board guards if the frets need polished.

    I've used Gerlitz Guitar Honey as a conditioner for any untreated wood. It does darken a tiny bit, but I haven't noticed it doing anything untoward to binding or frets after several years of use, usually every few months for the frequently played instruments. Seems like lots of stuff works just as well though.
  19. russmack

    russmack Country Gent

    May 1, 2017
    ballina australia
    Years ago, I was on a clarinet jag. And the instrument was primarily constructed of ebony.

    The oil which Selmer preferred - I have no idea. But I'll search Google. Right now I'm using Dunlop 65 Lemon Oil.

    Our humidity levels are usually around fifty-to-ninety percent. And I'm not too red-hot about oiling my instruments.

    Should I be concerned?

  20. Aymara

    Aymara Friend of Fred

    Jul 6, 2013
    Humidity levels around 50% are opimal, but 90% is extremely high. And though this Dunlop oil is great for darker woods, I wouldn't use it on a guitar with snow white binding.
    russmack likes this.
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