Frets Tarnished, Need Help Polishing for a NOOB

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by dreamingtele, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    Hi guys.. I'm buying a guitar as soon as the seller's quarantine and self-isolation duties are over (came from abroad)

    I've been waiting for this exact guitar for a long time, and finally found it.. Seller sent me photos to tide me over..

    but I noticed that the frets are tarnished.. see photo, click if its not enlarged..

    [​IMG]

    I'm looking for suggestions on how to polish the frets the easiest and the fastest way without affecting the fret levels? is that even possible?

    [​IMG]

    This is the first time I'm going to work on the frets since my luthier's shop is closed until further notice.
    I can do my own set up, but frets and nuts I dont have experience with.. so I'm saving all the pro work until everything is back to normal but I just want to be able to get it to playing condition and enjoy the guitar during these crazy times..

    Will taping the fretboard and use scotchbrite pad work? I also have a sand paper, but I dont want to take off any metal on the frets.. I dont know how to do fret levelling yet...
     
  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I used to use jeweler’s rouge.
    It’s a mild abrasive.
    I don’t know if it’s difficult to source, presently.
    I’d mask off the fingerboard, an apply it on a small damp cotton pad, or cotton ball.
    Works great!
     
  3. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    cut a slot out of some thin strong plastic cut to size to sit over the fretboard and leave the fret exposed to polish or fine sand... doesn't take long to work your way along the frets without all that taping up....
     
  4. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    Any home based solutions? cant buy anything since shops are closed..
     
  5. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    okay I will do that.. what to use to take those greeny tarnish out and polish it so that the frets are at least playable?
     
  6. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    or buy a set of slotted metal fretguards to do the same job....
     
  7. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    As weird as it sounds, try a little toothpaste.
     
  8. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    is it tarnish or old lacquer?... the green stuff..

    tarnish will rub off with polish/fine sandpaper... toothpaste even...;)

    lacquer will need to be scraped off, then the fret polished again...
     
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  9. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    Just tarnish from not playing the guitar for a long time..

    its a 1996 Sorrento.. I guess its just been stored for a while.. and the strings are old..

    [​IMG]
     
  10. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    This is not weird at all. I use tooth paste to polish silver and brass. It works as well as anything specifically labelled for the job and it's a simple water cleanup after you're finished. If you don't have fret guards, tape the fretboard between frets with painters' tape. It doesn't leave a sticky residue behind.
     
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  11. manoteal

    manoteal TDPRI Member

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    I use black electrical or masking tape on fretboard and 0000 steel wool to polish and remove scratches and string wear. Press lightly and work sideways across the frets doing one at a time- using coarser steel wool will remove scratches and wear dents faster, but will make frets uneven if you do it too long on one fret and still need to polish with finer wool- tread lightly and put a towel on your lap while doing it as it makes a mess of tiny bits of steel from wool falling apart and fret ‘scrapings’. I do it while watching TV on commercials and you can do it all rather quickly as it is boring work. I then use rubbing alcohol to remove tape residue and clean the fretboard of dirt and finger oil before using real lemon oil or tung oil on unfinished fretboards and of course nothing but alcohol on finished ones-
    Good luck!
    (Scotch Brite will work if just a little tarnish, but most frets need more than just ‘cleaning’)
     
  12. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    I will try this.. I just want to get rid of the greeny tarnish you see on guitars that have been stored or havent played for a while.. and get it feeling smooth, just for something to get it into playing shape again..
     
  13. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    Yea, this is actually what I dont want to do for now.. as I dont want to risk taking off some material off the frets as I dont want it to be too low, lets say Ive become over zealous in polishing it..
     
  14. manoteal

    manoteal TDPRI Member

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  15. manoteal

    manoteal TDPRI Member

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    Then try the metal polishes or toothpaste and see how it goes- Never-Dull works well too- it is cotton with polish embedded in it-
    Hardware stores are still open!
     
  16. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    Will do!

    Wait, what to rub the toothpaste with??

    just some cotton? Sandpaper? scotchbrite with Toothpaste?
     
  17. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    Toothpaste or anything mildly abrasive will work. It works on cloudy plastic headlight lenses also.
     
  18. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    what to rub it with? scotchbrite work?
     
  19. Chipss36

    Chipss36 Tele-Meister

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    For a polish job I just did...
    I used sticky notes to protect the maple neck...
    Geez man in worked fine, and was rather fast....
    No more tape ups for this guy!

    I like the stew Mac eraser deals.
    But toothpaste, sandpaper, steel wool,
    Have been use for ages..
     
  20. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    Dang, I got a lot of sticky notes here in my home office!! genius!

    wish me luck you guys!!!

    8 days to go!
     
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