dry fretboard

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by crcic, Dec 25, 2019.

  1. crcic

    crcic TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    63
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2019
    Location:
    macedonia
    hi guys

    one guy that plays guitar much longer than me noticed that the fretboard on my fender strat is dry. he advised me to buy some lemon oil from pharmacy but since i'm not that advanced into guitars is it ok to listen to him and use that product? or maybe you can recommend me what to use? or what to order online, because i live in a third world planet and we have nothing here. price in not a problem as long as i can order it from ebay

    thanks
     
  2. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    6,770
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2014
    Location:
    Sacramento, California
    Is the fretboard rosewood? If it is, yes, you should oil it. I use mineral oil on mine every 6 - 12 months. Wipe on a thick coat, let it soak in for 10 minutes or so, and then wipe it off. I've oiled maple boards, but it seems to just wipe right off because the grain is so tight.

    Lemon oil may be alright, but I've never used it.
     
    crcic and daddyplaysbass like this.
  3. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    4,501
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Get a small bottle of bore oil instead. You can find it easily online and a small bottle will last you many years. It is the oil used in wooden wind instruments to prevent rot and dryness....works great and only takes a tiny bit to revive the fretboard. Lemon oil really is more of a cleaner than anything else, so you really need something else although you will get conflicting opinions on that.

    I purchased an early '90's Strat a few years ago where the fretboard was so dry it was starting to develop small cracks. Used the bore oil and that fretboard looked like new afterwards and retained that quality ever since.
     
    El Tele Lobo and fatcat like this.
  4. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,085
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2010
    Location:
    Very Deep South
    +1..

    I use the lemon oil cleaner when I change strings, but about once a year I use the bore oil.
     
    El Tele Lobo and Milspec like this.
  5. bumnote

    bumnote Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    345
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2018
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Lemon oil will work fine, some don't recommend it and others do. My main conditioner is this stuff called "Lizard Spit", but I don't know if you'd be able to get it in Macedonia.
    I have a 40 year old Ibanez acoustic that had a very dry fretboard, the stuff I normally used worked a little but not enough. I have a problem with dry skin in the winter and use Argan oil for it....tried it on the fretboard and it worked great. A little went a very long way, it's dirt cheap and should be very easy to find in your area. It's edible and doesn't have any chemicals in it, didn't discolor the fretboard. If it's safe to ingest or rub into your skin, it should be fine on wood.
     
  6. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,919
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2014
    Location:
    South London UK
    Bore oil is better in my experience. Lemon oil is ok for cleaning.
     
    Milspec likes this.
  7. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    3,190
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Ive never oiled one in 50 years and don't intend to start now.
     
    fatcat, Fretting out, stevemc and 2 others like this.
  8. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    8,908
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    I've used linseed oil. Now days I use mostly WD40 for cleaning and oiling.
     
    Gardo likes this.
  9. bumnote

    bumnote Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    345
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2018
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Personally I'd avoid WD-40. It has lubricating properties, but it was designed be a solvent and to displace moisture, it's name came from "Water Displacement, 40th formula". Lots of posts on various forums, including this one, about problems from long term WD40 use.
     
  10. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Holic

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    986
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Location:
    Paris, France
    The problem with lemon oil is that you don’t know what it is. True lemon extract, or the stuff labeled lemon oil in guitar stores.

    « Lemon oil »:Every single guitar store and guitar related brands have been advertising lemon oil as a fretboard conditionner for years. But the stuff they sell may contain anything and it is never specified. One could expect a mix of mineral oil (liquid paraffin) and a few drops of lemon oil for scent. That you can do yourself fo cheaper and you will know exactly what you paid for. But read next:

    Mineral oil ( paraffin oil). It is a byproduct of petrol. Not necessary harmful for people. Never dries or evaporate. The use with wood is really controversial. Most woodworkers will say that this kind of oil or grease may soften the wood. So I would avoid , except if the wood is already conditioned with linseed oil,then it will not sink into the wood but instead stay on the surface.

    « Essential lemon oil » : you can get what is the true lemon oil from a pharmacy (or herborist), it is a « spirit », very good solvent for cleaning dirt and has a nice smell, but it will mostly evaporate so it is not really acting as you expect it to cure the dryness of your fretboard. I use it, to clean my fretboards.

    Bore oil, no one really seem to know what it is really made of either, but it is the stuff used by clarinet and flute and other instruments makers, for ages. There is no reason why it wouldn’t work.

    Pure linseed oil, is a good natural product to protect wood, but it has the property to cure, or harden while drying. It is a bit unpredictable and can build up as a varnish or it can get sticky too. So I wouldn’t advise to use it on a fretboard on a regular basis. Plus, it gets darker and yellow/ brown with age. I happen to use it as a conditionner when a fretboard is really dry and clear and has never been treated. But I don’t use it as a cleaner after that.

    WD-40: Why not drink it? ... Can’t you read? They made drawings too. The label say implicitly that it shouldn’t be used anywhere near humans. But on your fretboard, well, of course, if is made of steel, why not.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2019
    Loaded Goat and DuckDodgers like this.
  11. Dan German

    Dan German Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    9,390
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Left of the Left Coast
    Actually, I do know what Lemon Oil is. It’s mineral oil. Sure, there are actual lemon oils out there, but they’re going to be specialized products that trumpet the fact that they are Real Lemon Oil.

    Actually, I do know what bore oil is. It’s mineral oil. Sure, there are some brands (Music Nomad?) that are not, but they are specialized products that trumpet the fact that they are non-petroleum.

    Mineral oil is not really that controversial when it comes to fretboards. Used by many, for many years. Works for me.

    I have been using the same bottle of lemon oil (mineral oil with lemon scent) for many years. I would use baby oil, but I like the smell of lemons better than the smell of babies.

    Now, I’m-a go find me a relic vs tube amp thread or something...
     
  12. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    3,190
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    I think the sale of real baby oil was banned by CITES... :p
     
  13. 50ShadesofOrange

    50ShadesofOrange TDPRI Member

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    99
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2019
    Location:
    Tejas
    Besides the smell, having babies around and guitar playing are pretty incompatible. I’d dodge that smell for that reason alone.

    I just use unscented mineral oil.
     
  14. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,232
    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Location:
    netherlands
    on rosewood like fretboard i use rustins danish because it has some wax in it so it does not stay kind off sticky
     
  15. mabinogeon

    mabinogeon TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    95
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2019
    Location:
    Upper Michigan
    Boiled linseed oil user here. Really light coat, maybe once every couple of years.
     
    Jerry J and Gardo like this.
  16. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    50
    Posts:
    15,222
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2012
    Location:
    Seattle
    The only time I oil my boards is if I have just given them a good cleaning, which strips all of the old oil out of them. Otherwise, the oils from my fingers keep them from drying out just fine.

    And no way in hell am I going to go near the whole 'which oil is best' train wreck. I've got stuff that I like, I've been using it for 25 years, and I'm happy with the results.
     
    Dan German and rangercaster like this.
  17. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,680
    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    portland, or
    Apply natural human skin oil daily by hand for a minimum of one hour ...
     
  18. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    4,501
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Location:
    Nebraska
    A lot of the "lemon oil" products that I see at GC are just naptha with lemon scent. Sure, it would do a good job at cleaning, but there is no conditioning agent in that. One has to do some research when buying such products....if you can even find the ingredient list on them these days.
     
    Fretting out likes this.
  19. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    50
    Posts:
    15,222
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2012
    Location:
    Seattle
    Naptha is what I use to clean/strip the fretboard.
     
    Milspec likes this.
  20. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,146
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2013
    Location:
    San Francisco
    I believe that had to do with the methods used to extract it. :(
     
    RoyBGood likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.