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Kenny V

Dirty fretboard ES 339

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I recently picked up a used ES339 with a rosewood fretboard. I noticed after playing it for a while my fingertips were black. I just assumed the strings were cheap and cause this. I changes the strings and put lemon oil on the fretboard. So I started playing the guitar and much to my amazement my finger tips turned black again. So I took a clean cloth and started rubbing the fretboard. The white cloth became black. So obviously the strings were not to blame. The black stuff coming off looks like black shoe polish, but I don't believe it is. I have been playing guitar since 1963 and have owned a lot of guitars over 50 plus years. I have never come across this before. It looks like I'll be taking off the strings and cleaning the heck out of the fretboard. Has anyone ever experienced this and I am open to ways to really clean the fretboard without damaging it. By the way. I own some high end Gibson guitars and I am so impressed with how the Epiphone Es 339 Pro looks, plays and sounds.

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Hi Kenny

 

Perhaps the prev. owner may have never cleaned or treated the fret board. if so, yea, I would expect the fretboard to be a mess.

 

the best product I've used for conditioning/treating rose wood is this:

Guitar Honey

 

To apply it, take an old t-shirt, cut it into 6 inch squares, that should be enough for ever... spray some of this stuff on a square, then rub onto the fret board, and let it soak in a bit, this will re-hydrate the rosewood. Go down the entire neck.

 

Then take another cotton square and buff it dry. you can also use your finger nails, wrapped around the cloth, and get into the fret edges, expect that pass come back black... it will look gross, but you'll get all that grime and gunk off. The rosewood should look much better when done, have a bit of a natural luster to it.

 

Something you should do routinely maybe once or twice a year anyway.

 

if you don't use the Guitar honey (there are other things you can use) try to avoid using house hold products. They can have chems in them, like ammonia products that can interact with the glue

 

Good luck!

 

/r

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Thanks for the response kidblast. I will pickup some Guitar Honey. I don't believe the black residue is caused from a neglected fretboard. The is no fretwear and the guitar is in excellent condition, and the fretboard looks clean. I'm beginning to think he previous owner may have applied some weird substance thinking he was conditioning the rosewood. I have been working on cleaning the fretboard and the black residue is starting to dissipate.

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My then brand-new 2013 Epiphone Les Paul 1960 Tribute Plus caused me dark-brown fingertips. After having pulled off the .010"-.046" stock strings to restring her with the .011"-.050" of my choice I removed the dye with Ballistol Unversal oil, basically pharmaceutical-grade white oil, some alcohols and a fragrance. I twice put some Ballistol onto the board, left it there for perhaps ten to fifteen minutes and then rubbed it off. Finally the white cloth just adopted the pale yellow hue of the oil.

 

I don't understand why at all they used that stain in their factory in China. The fretboard looked the same afterwards as it had before, definitely no need for any use of a dye.

 

Nowadays I think I would use almond oil for that cleaning task.

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Thanks for the response kidblast. I will pickup some Guitar Honey. I don't believe the black residue is caused from a neglected fretboard. The is no fretwear and the guitar is in excellent condition, and the fretboard looks clean. I'm beginning to think he previous owner may have applied some weird substance thinking he was conditioning the rosewood. I have been working on cleaning the fretboard and the black residue is starting to dissipate.

 

Hi Kenny,

 

I see.. so maybe it's what you are assuming, or Cap is on to it.. and they're doing something at the factory??

 

either way, I'm sure you'll get it sorted out.

 

Best!

/r

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After numerous fretboard cleanings the black rub off has disappeared. I think my guitar had the same dye problem Cap was talking about. Problem solve, thanks for the help Cap and Kidblast. I also picked up a Roland Micro cube for my winter trip to Florida. Nice and small, sounds great and didn't break the bank. So the Epiphone and Roland will be heading south with me for a winter break.

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Hi all, Funny enough I watched a youtube video from Andertons UK and they had a ES339 withwhat Chappers thought was an Ebony board that turned out to be dyed,,, haha, problem solved [confused] [confused]

I just researched and found this video review from 11 March 2012 on Epiphone ES ES-339, ES-345, ES-355 and ES-339 Ultra:

 

 

Chappers asked a question about the fretboard material of the ES-355 at 19:10 and got an answer from the off it was ebony. This seems to be correct: http://www.epiphone.com/News/Features/Features/2011/Presenting-the-Limited-Edition-ES-345-and-ES-355.aspx

 

The Epiphone ES-339 PRO is specified to come with rosewood: http://www.epiphone.com/Products/Archtop/ES-339-PRO.aspx

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