A General Guitar Maintenance Question

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Paul in Colorado, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    What is the best way to clean a rosewood fingerboard? When I last changed my strings I realized that my Strat neck is starting to get a bit gunky. I don't want to use steel wool. (Magnetism) A liquid cleaner and elbow grease with a rag? What do you do?
     
  2. lammie200

    lammie200 Tele-Afflicted

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    Acetone/lighter fluid works pretty well. Evaporates fast and leaves no residue.
     
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  3. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Even just a lightly moistened, soft rag will do it.
     
  4. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I use lemon oil and a clean rag; just don't use too much oil, as it will build up and form its own gunk.

    As far as your (well-founded) fear of metal bits sticking to your pickups, here's a tip: Cover your pickups with blue painter's tape. Use your steel wool for whatever you want to do. The steel bits will still be attracted to the pickups and will stick to the tape. When you're done, use more tape to cover the tape with the metal bits on it. Then peel everything off at once and toss.
     
  5. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have used a razor blade before scraping backwards if its real bad, then micromesh pads to remove any marks and applied lemon oil to finish it off.
     
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  6. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I just use that dunlop 65 cleaner.... if there's lots of gunk, a toothbrush might help get all the grunge loose with the cleaner...

    then wipe it all off with a clean rag...
     
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  7. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I use lemon oil and an old nail brush, and remove the residue with old, clean cotton rag.
    Works like a charm.
     
  8. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    Once or twice a year I will :

    -'dry clean' RW fretboard ( Strat and Martin) and polish frets
    with a teeny wad of 000 ( run it on fret tops/along edges- some filings stick on neck PU, but I wipe off with rag)

    - a few drops lemon/furniture along fretboard just using a rag to work in

    - buff everything out with a clean hand towel
     
  9. Fretting out

    Fretting out Tele-Holic

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    I second just using a moist towel or rag.
    If the gunks really tough then you go to the lighter fluid.
     
  10. Robert H.

    Robert H. Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Qtips along the frets
     
  11. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Ouch! Those aren't the same at all. Acetone is a really strong solvent ... it will melt wax! Don't put acetone on wood, it can damage the fibers and one day your fingerboard will be messed up.

    Lighter fluid is like naphtha, which is much milder. Used sparingly, and occasionally, it will clean the fingerboard. Unless it is super dirty, I wouldn't even use that. There's a violin cleaner I use for really dirty necks, it's called Fiddle-Brite. It can be used on lacquer or varnish, and won't hurt bare wood in TINY amounts. Unless the fingerboard has been out in the heat and humidity plus dust and sweat .. I just use a damp terry rag. Just barely damp. Wood absorbs water, and will swell. Oils can deteriorate wood, and it will go soft and develop divots. Use oils, solvents, and even water very sparingly, dry it off thoroughly, and don't use acetone.
     
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  12. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Just the slightest dab of lemon oil with a rag once a year during a string change. Rub in well and rubs out the gunk.
     
  13. lammie200

    lammie200 Tele-Afflicted

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    Sorry I meant to say naptha as strat a various pointed out. Brain fart. I don’t buy it anyway because I only ever need the small amount that you can get with a Ronson lighter fluid bottle, but thanks for pointing out my mistake.
     
  14. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Just watching out for your neck, brother. Lighter fluid is OK in small amounts. Some folks use too much.
     
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  15. jamesepowell

    jamesepowell Tele-Meister

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    Like a lot of people have said, a little lemon oil and a rag and some effort. I don't get much hard buildup because I clean the neck every time I change strings. If I needed more than a rag can do, I'd use an old toothbrush.
     
  16. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Naphtha is my preferred solvent for guitar work. Use it with a soap-free green scrubbie pad, and scrub the gunk right off. It dries quickly, and dries out the rosewood, so IMHO this is the only time you need to oil the board with mineral oil (so-called lemon oil). Put the oil on medium heavy and let it soak in. Then perhaps one more light coat, and buff it until the board looks rich.

    Naphtha won't hurt any guitar finish, but the scrubbie will, so just use it on the fingerboard.

    Acetone is a very different, much harsher solvent, that I wouldn't get anywhere near my guitars. It's great for melting plastics, like binding, pickguards, knobs...


    Sadly, I just learned that Connecticut is making it difficult to buy naphtha going forward. Home Depot has stopped carrying it here. When I discovered this, I ran over to our last remaining local lumberyard, and scooped up two gallons. Thinking about going back for a couple more. It's on their discontinue list, too.

    Thing is, naphtha is benign compared to so many other readily available products - right on the same shelf. The Home Depot guy pointed to some product brought in as a replacement for naphtha. Main ingredient? Acetone! Yikes.
     
  17. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

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    I think Hendrix tried that with somewhat mixed results. Lol.
     
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  18. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

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    I've bought guitars that were a caked on mess. For those extreme guitars I used the lemon oil to soften it and the edge of my pick to scrape. The pick is hard but not metal hard and doesn't marr the wood. You can get right into the fret edges too. Then a little elbow grease to finish off.
     
  19. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

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    I find steel wool leaves the fretboard looking dry and you can see the micro scratches.
     
  20. Artslap

    Artslap Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Only use 0000 grade steel wool. Everything else is too harsh.

    CP.
     
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