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Cleaning the fretboard


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Hi guys,

I'm thinking of cleaning my fretboard. The guy in the music shop sold me some D'Andrea lemon oil. He says this is the 'be all and end all' when it comes to cleaning fretboards. However he also said there was no need to test out the length of a strap as it would adjust to any desired length, which I got home and found to be too high on it's longest length!

I have heard many conflicting opinions on what should and shouldn't be used to clean a (rosewood) fretboard and just wanted to hear the opinions of some fellow Les Paul owners. Is lemon oil cool? And what's the best method?

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Fret board cleaning/conditioning is a touchy subject, and I'm sure you'll get a lot of different opinions in this thread. That being said I will use a conditioner generally once a year, and sparingly. Too much is almost worse than none at all in my experience. As far as products go I use almost exclusively Gibson products. Not only because I believe them to be of quality, but also because if an issue should arise I do not want it to be questioned whether I use was using the correct product or not.

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Here's how I do mine........


What you need:

*Lemon Oil (Pure Lemon Oil I bought from Home Depot)

Get the one that is 100% Lemon Oil w/ no Additives.

*Used or New Soft Tooth Brush

*Clean Soft Cloth (I use cotton or sometimes Old Socks as long as it's clean)



*Remove all or the 4 strings between the 2 E's (you must loosen the 2 E's a bit)

The purpose of the the 4 strings off is to hold the Stop Bar in place so not to messed

up your adjustment/height etc.

*Apply Lemon Oil to the Fret Board (just enough so it's not dripping all over the place)

And let it soak for a moment then wipe gently.

*Then use the Tooth Brush dip it lightly into the Lemon oil.

Start brushing that Fret Board Lightly or Hard enough pressure to remove that build up

of whatever on your Fret Board.

******Follow the Grain of the Wood******

*After brushing the whole board wipe it with the clean cloth/sock.

*Repeat procedure if needed.

Then wipe clean when done and restring.


These is how I do mine (you dont need to follow this if you don't want to)


Hope that help you a bit eusa_doh.gif

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Just a quick add. I have only cleaned my fretboard once... and that was within the last year. I would not recommend anyone do to their guitar what I did to mine, but I thought I might share some of what you will see on the otherside...


I traded warmth for sustain.


The Bad Stuff:

Those years of my fingers on the fretboard had contributed a lot more than I anticipated to the warmth of my tone. It took some serious tweaking and while I have found an excellent new tone, it may take some time to get that old warmth back.


The Good Stuff:

Endless sustain. LORD the increase in sustain is like having a whole new axe! The tone I get now is by far the best this gutiar has ever sounded... and I can hold and bend and bend again and drop into a nice slow trem.... just wow.

Also... your neck will fret like a brand new guitar for a bit, but that goes away with a few hours of play...



Hope this helps!

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Yes follow these instructions.

Also is a good time to dress the frets to if this hasn't been done after playing it for a long while. Use 4 0000 steel wool dipped in lemon oil and lightly buff them the length of the fret. If the board has a lot of build up use this same 4 0000 to lightly scrub the board to with the grain, and wipe with the soft cloth.

Once a year is fine unless you are gigging ALOT.

Here is a well dressed fret board:( http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/luthier-s-corner/7587-here-i-go.html#post125783 )


Flame On !

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If your rosewood fret board is really gunked up:


Dampen a soft rag tip in naptha (lighter fluid) and use a soft bristled tooth brush to remove the gunk. Naptha (sp?) will not harm the finish and will definitely go to town on the "gunk of ages."


Do this only if you have a really gunked up board. If you do, be sure to rehydrate the fret board with woodwind bore oil - it's used on $$$$$ woodwind bores, contains no scents, and will do your fret board justice.


If you just want to rehydrate your board (about once once or twice a year), woodwind bore oil is your friend.

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I rarely if ever use anything on guitars other than a damp cloth but if it's nasty i use GORGOMYTE


weird name and strange stuff a yellow cloth you cut a small section of the cloth and wipe down the fretboard cleans the board and frets no sticky reside and amazing how much nasty black grungy stuff (technical term) comes off. Tommy Shaw used to advertise the stuff or endorse it at least and it actually works pretty well especially on something that somebody has really coated in furniture oil or something. if it's worse than that fine steel wool is about all that's left...

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