Which fretboard oil?

oregomike

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My small bottle of lemon oil is almost empty and I'll need to get something to condition/oil the rosewood and ebony fingerboards of my guitars. I want to try something new and don't want to pay Stew Macs shipping fees. What can you all recommend for a good inexpensive fretboard conditioner. Would like something guitar specific and not generic stuff from the hardware store or supermarket.

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Boos Block oil.
 

JIMMY JAZZMAN

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Go to the little Italian store, in the neighborhood. Pick out a bottle
of pure Virgin Olive Oil. Works great on rosewood and PF fretboards.
 

Valkyrie

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I clean my fretsboards once a year or less with some naphtha on a cloth then let it dry off. I follow that with a one pint bottle of lemon oil I bought from Walmart about 15 years ago. It smells like lemon but it’s just mineral oil with a lemon scent or something. I just put a couple drops on a clean cloth and wipe it on and wipe any excess away. It seems to work fine and the bottle is still basically full.
 

Marc Morfei

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I bought a bottle of this many years ago for $5 and at this rate it will last the rest of my life. Only takes like three drops to do a whole fretboard. I use it rarely. Once a year at most, maybe less. Although I will say a "master luthier" I went to a couple times warned me that fretboards should never be oiled at all, since the wood needs to breathe. Who knows? Not me.

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Wyatt

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I oil my rosewood boards only as they need it, maybe every 5 or 10 years. I go to the local music store than handles school instruments, buy the smallest bottle of bore oil and lightly oil the board and I'm good to go for years. The bore oil will usually break down, cloud up, or go rancid long before I need it again, so I never stock up. And $10 for a half ounce of oil every 5-10 years isn't going to break my wallet.
 

Freeman Keller

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Just did a partial refret on a 1965 00-18 with a Brazilian rosewood fretboard. I doubt that this has ever had anything other than natural oil from the player's fingers. Cleaned up beautifully, took the frets perfectly, it will be fine for another forty or so years.

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Fendereedo

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I've started using the Fender fingerboard remedy stuff, it works pretty good on Pau Ferro, and the Indian Laurel woods. Not great, but passable. I wouldn't recommend anyone use Fret Doctor, it's like a witch doctor created something out of water and washing up liquid, in other words.... Useless!
 

Dismalhead

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None. You don't need it.

Assuming you're talking maple boards here. I never oiled my rosewood boards up until about 5 years ago 'cause until I came here I didn't know it was a thing. My old '84 SG's board was so dry it has a bunch of vertical cracks in it and is all wavy if you look closely because I never oiled it.
 

Ascension

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I like and have been using Fret Doctor for years.

Yep have saved several guitars using that stuff. Worked for years at Pawn Shops and when a guitar came in with a super nasty Rosewood or Ebony board would clean the board with lemon oil then hit it with Fret Doctor. My 94 solid Tung oil Koa with a Ebony board Carvin DC 127 was one of the rescues. Board was super nasty and when I cleaned it I saw cracks running up the grain between several frets. Thought the board was toast then hit it with Fret Doctor and let it soak in. Over a couple days the board rehydrated and now you would be hard pressed to find the cracks.
Bought a spectacular 1993 Washburn USA MG as a NOS a few years back. Was in Florida and between the heat and salt air the rosewood board on the guitar was almost bleached blond. Also the guitar sounded vey thin and plinky. Cleaned the board then hit it with Fret Doctor and let it soak in. After about 3 applications the color came back to the rich deep red normal for quality rosewood and the tone of the guitar completely changed.
Most products folks use to oil fretboards are a joke in comparison to Fret Doctor and some will actually damage your board. The $ is well spent on this stuff and a little goes a LONG way!!
The Washburn is the guitar on the bottom here. Fret doctor quite litterly saved this guitar!
 

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Ascension

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Fret Doctor is snake oil. It does absolutely nothing better than plain old mineral oil for your fretboard. What it does extraordinarily well is make money for the guy who sells it. I bought a gallon of mineral oil for $11 some time back. A gallon contains 128 ounces. Multiply the cost of Fret Doctor in that 30ml bottle (approx 1 oz) by 128 to see what he's making off a gallon of that stuff. A 1 oz bottle on Amazon is $20. 128oz x $20/oz is $2560.00.

I have a 1939 Epiphone Emperor that's had its fretboard taken care of with mineral oil since it was constructed and that fretboard is in excellent shape.
Your dead WRONG about Fret Doctor! The guy who developed the stuff restores pre civil war wood Fifes and developed it as a bore oil. Stuff is fantastic and will save a super dry Rosewood or ebony board. Mineral oil is a joke It's a little better than noting but won't touch what this stuff will.
Backstory on Fret Doctor and this is very real not hype. Have saved a number of guitars with super dry rosewood and ebony fretboards over the years with the stuff! There is absolutely nothing else on the market that's better!
 

northernguitar

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Fret Doctor is snake oil. It does absolutely nothing better than plain old mineral oil for your fretboard. What it does extraordinarily well is make money for the guy who sells it. I bought a gallon of mineral oil for $11 some time back. A gallon contains 128 ounces. Multiply the cost of Fret Doctor in that 30ml bottle (approx 1 oz) by 128 to see what he's making off a gallon of that stuff. A 1 oz bottle on Amazon is $20. 128oz x $20/oz is $2560.00.

I have a 1939 Epiphone Emperor that's had its fretboard taken care of with mineral oil since it was constructed and that fretboard is in excellent shape.
I think everything sold at guitar shops is snake oil. I bought a bottle of Weiman’s over a decade ago, and will never get through it. If it’s good enough for Jeff Healy’s guitar tech, I’m alright with it.
 

dspellman1

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Your dead WRONG about Fret Doctor! The guy who developed the stuff restores pre civil war wood Fifes and developed it as a bore oil. Stuff is fantastic and will save a super dry Rosewood or ebony board. Mineral oil is a joke It's a little better than noting but won't touch what this stuff will.
Backstory on Fret Doctor and this is very real not hype. Have saved a number of guitars with super dry rosewood and ebony fretboards over the years with the stuff! There is absolutely nothing else on the market that's better!
Sorry, but I'm not buying it.

It's not necessary or even particularly beneficial for the kajillion guitars that are out there at the moment.

Please feel free, however, to use whatever you like; we hear about people using olive oil, butter, hair grease and who knows what else? It's your guitar.
 

jays0n

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Despite the laxative lable, this is 99.9% mineral oil. Put a very thin coat on the board and wipe it off. Don't let it soak into any cracks on the fretboard or let it seep into the fret slots. That's Frank Ford's method at Gryphon Guitars. Him and Erlwine share a mutual respect for one another, so that's good enough for me. Any pharmacy chain store has it with their name on it. Or Swan brand.
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This is what I use too. Umm … err .. I mean on the fretboard that is.
 

Willie Johnson

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Despite the laxative lable, this is 99.9% mineral oil. Put a very thin coat on the board and wipe it off. Don't let it soak into any cracks on the fretboard or let it seep into the fret slots. That's Frank Ford's method at Gryphon Guitars. Him and Erlwine share a mutual respect for one another, so that's good enough for me. Any pharmacy chain store has it with their name on it. Or Swan brand.
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"Intestinal lubricant" lol.
I used the Dunlop stuff for the first time recently and thought that it worked well; a conditioned rosewood/laurel fretboard does play and feel better.
 




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