Sticky fretboard

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Rattlebone, May 23, 2019.

  1. Rattlebone

    Rattlebone TDPRI Member

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    I recently bought a used Baja. As soon as I played it I noticed the frets felt a bit tiny, as I could touch the fretboard, not much of a big deal but something to get used to. The issue became a lot more apparent as I restrung her with 9's (as opposed to the 11's she came with) now not only do I touch the fretboard a lot more, but it feels really sticky. This is a 50's Baja, hence a maple , poly finished fretboard. Any suggestions to reduce the stickyness? The neck isn't a problem, it's just my fingertips feel like they're gliding through honey.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

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    The previous owner might have smoked around it. You could try cleaning it with a rag dampened with hot soapy water.
     
  3. Cheap guitar guy

    Cheap guitar guy Tele-Meister

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    Definitely start with a good cleaning.
     
  4. Lord_Ingipz

    Lord_Ingipz Tele-Meister

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    sand off the lacquer from the neck and polish the fretboard with some gunk cleaner.
     
  5. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

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    No cleaning agent will hurt the poly, but you don't want liquids to seep into the fret slots. So get a rag damp with a cleaner and rub away. I have found that using different cleaners, one at a time seems to work best. Water (windex, spit, soapy water) alcohol, naptha... I keep on using a fresh section of a white rag, and when I can see the rag getting dirty I keep using that solvent until no more colored gunk comes off. Then I use another solvent. Before I get through them all twice the crud is gone without needing any hard scraping.

    My theory is that the fingerboard gunk is a mixture of different ingredients so sometimes one cleaning solvent will clean out one ingredient, allowing another solvent to get to the ingredient that it can dissolve.

    Never use lacquer solvent on nitro, but you can use it on poly. Test it on an out-of-the-way spot to make sure.
     
    JL_LI likes this.
  6. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Holic

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    If after you clean it the sticky feel doesn't go away here's a trick I've used. A small amount of talc in the palm of your fretting hand rubbed over the back of the neck will help and lasts a long time.

    Or if you don't have talc handy and are cheap like me, cornstarch in a shaker bottle works just as well. You can find it in any grocery store and doesn't show up like white talc. Both won't hurt the finish.
     
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