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Lemon oil question


EddieNYC

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I recently purchased my acoustics and am trying to make sure I know everything I can about how to maintain them for the longhaul and not do something stupid that will result in damage. To this point I have seen people bring up lemon oil for the fretboard at various places. For my J-45 and Hummingbird how regularly should I apply this and is there a preferred brand for these guitars?

 

Thanks!

Mike

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Congrats & Welcome Aboard !

Current Gibson Acoustics have a new and improved fretboard treatment. That said - the fretboard and bridge are unfinished and benefit from an occasional treatment to protect them. Lemon oil is one. Once a year would be enough if you make sure your fretting hand is clean before you play. Otherwise, you may want to do it more often, and clean it before oiling it up.

But absolutely DO NOT get ANY Lemon Oil on any other part of the guitar. The face, b/s, neck and headstock are finished in nitrocellulose and lemon oil will mar and/or melt it.

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Congrats & Welcome Aboard !

Current Gibson Acoustics have a new and improved fretboard treatment. That said - the fretboard and bridge are unfinished and benefit from an occasional treatment to protect them. Lemon oil is one. Once a year would be enough if you make sure your fretting hand is clean before you play. Otherwise, you may want to do it more often, and clean it before oiling it up.

But absolutely DO NOT get ANY Lemon Oil on any other part of the guitar. The face, b/s, neck and headstock are finished in nitrocellulose and lemon oil will mar and/or melt it.

 

Ok - sounds like once a year. More importantly, thanks for the warning about the nitro. Fear of runining that has already caused me to not buy a stand and to always use the case as the only place the guitar goes when it's not in my lap.

 

Mike

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The face, b/s, neck and headstock are finished in nitrocellulose and lemon oil will mar and/or melt it.

 

What?!? Never have I heard this, nor experienced it. When I oil the fingerboard (perhaps once a year) I also do the rosewood bridge, which can't be done without getting oil on the top.....never had a problem with the nitro. Nitro is a tougher finish than most give it credit for. Where did you hear this, 40?

 

As to how often to apply.........depends on how often you perceive the fingerboard as becoming dry. A well-played instrument should honestly rarely if ever need an application of oil since no matter how clean your hands are there will be some body oil transfer over time. Dryness generally appears above the 12th fret or so for most players, way up the board where the fingers don't often wander. And of course the environment the guitar lives in will play a role in this.....

 

Welcome to the forum and enjoy your new guitars!

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Lemon oil is put on modestly to rosewood fingerboards.. Not ebony.. .. and not soaking the fingerboard.. then wiped off right away.. Ive never encountered bleeding under finishes either.. But theres always a first time if applied to heavy..

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Actual "Lemon Oil" is acidic. Not good for a guitar. However, polishes like Old English Lemon Oil, are basically an oil with a lemon fragrance. The better choice for a fretboard is LIGHT Mineral Oil.

 

The link below, from Gibson, has some good tips for general use and care of a guitar. Tip#7 states that "'the jury is out on 'lemon oil' ".

 

http://www.gibson.co...uitar-care.aspx

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The key with oiling a board is to keep it super, super light. Don't go splodging it on and leaving it for ages to sink in, just wipe on and wipe off after leaving it for 20 secs or so. Too much and too long may cause the oil to seep in under frets and cause the board to swell slightly.

 

If a new guitar has a dry board and bridge I'll oil it once and then not touch it again for at least 18mths.

 

In my experience, most regularly played guitars don't need oiling as the natural oils from the player's hands keep the board in good shape.

 

I prefer gun oil to lemon oil, mainly as its lighter and I'd rather my guitar smelt of firearms than fruit.

 

FWIW, as a tech I would never oil the board of a client's guitar. I faff about with my guitars but oiling a board isn't essential and is something of a lily gilding exercise.

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I don't have any actual knowledge, just stuff I read on forums like this! What I know is that there is a sharp division of opinion on this subject. One camp is adamant that no oiling of the fretboard is needed, and that it can actually be harmful. The other camp is adamant that an occasional treatment is needed, with a variety of products suggested as the "correct" product.

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I think it is all relative. Relative humidity that is. If you live in a dry climate, rosewood and ebony fretboards need a little moisturising now and then. Just like your hands. If you live in a climate where your hands and lips don't get dry and chapped, then you're fine. But here in Alberta, a desert climate, I will use Dunlop Lemon Oil with each string change. I let it set for about 30 seconds and wipe it clean.

 

While I worked at Long & McQuade, the Gibson acoustic fretboards came from Bozeman in pretty good shape, but boy those Gibson electrics (LP's and SG's) came in DRY! I'd treat the fretboards as soon as they came out of the box just to make the guitar look better on the hook!

 

Dunlop_6554_Ulti_52a5bcbf423d4_195a2137-d230-40f2-8695-e1b71f5074e4.jpeg?v=1482211111

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Assuming of course the 'lemon' in the 'lemon oil' is real citrus based...which means it contains D-limonene.

(Hard to know really what the 'lemon oil' contains to call it 'lemon oil').

 

 

Anyway, I choose not to put a liquid which might contain one of the strongest natural solvents on my fretboards, or anywhere else where it will be transferred to the nitro finish.

 

There are better choices if you MUST oil your fret-board that do not contain solvents (Bore Dr., Music Nomad)

 

 

http://www.ppiatlanta.com/pdfs/DataS...ne-%20uses.pdf

 

"d-Limonene is an effective solvent to directly replace the toxic solvent components in existing

solvent blends"

 

"d-Limonene will usually clean graffiti (including effectively replacing xylene in graffiti

removers) off concrete because of its ability to remove paint."

 

"d-Limonene is a very good solvent for removal of adhesives from various substrates."

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Linseed oil gets a lot of recs too, by all kinds of manufacturers and repair guys.

 

I like it for sealing and water proofing gun stocks - it gets absorbed into raw wood, and dries hard after a fairly short time.

You can go light and have a satin look, or add more gloss with multiple coats.

 

I'll pass from using it on my raw fretboards.

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