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Fretboard maintenance


Phalaris

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I mostly read and learn through the forums here, and on MyLesPaul. Everywhere I found recommends lemon oil for cleaning, and keeping the fretboard in great shape. I know my local shop sells the Dunlop Fretboard 65 lemon oil. It sells for $5 for a 4oz bottle. But my local supermarket, in their furniture care section, sells

 

12oz Old English Lemon Oil, for $5

 

12oz Weiman's Lemon Oil also for $5

 

I have a couple of questions:

 

1. Has anyone used either the Old English, or Weiman's Lemon Oil?

 

2. Does Lemon Oil go bad?

I know you don't use a lot on the fretboard, and I would hate to buy a big bottle, only to have to throw it away if it goes bad.

 

3. Should I just break down and get the Fretboard 65 Lemon oil, since it's marketed for fretboards?

I would hate to use the Old English, or Weiman's if it's going to ruin my fretboards.

 

Thanks

 

Phalaris.

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Guest farnsbarns

I mostly read and learn through the forums here, and on MyLesPaul. Everywhere I found recommends lemon oil for cleaning, and keeping the fretboard in great shape. I know my local shop sells the Dunlop Fretboard 65 lemon oil. It sells for $5 for a 4oz bottle. But my local supermarket, in their furniture care section, sells

 

12oz Old English Lemon Oil, for $5

 

12oz Weiman's Lemon Oil also for $5

 

I have a couple of questions:

 

1. Has anyone used either the Old English, or Weiman's Lemon Oil?

 

2. Does Lemon Oil go bad?

I know you don't use a lot on the fretboard, and I would hate to buy a big bottle, only to have to throw it away if it goes bad.

 

3. Should I just break down and get the Fretboard 65 Lemon oil, since it's marketed for fretboards?

I would hate to use the Old English, or Weiman's if it's going to ruin my fretboards.

 

Thanks

 

Phalaris.

 

Lemon oil is ok but... Genuine lemon oil (usually only food grade lemon oil is real) can slowly damage the adhesive used on markers etc. Most lemon oil is mineral oil with a lemon scent. Mineral oil is also bad, it simply seals the wood, preventing good products from penetrating. Use lighter fluid for cleaning (i actually use no liquid at all, just the scourer on a sponge knocks the gunk of nicely without dissolving it and blocking the wood pores). And fret doctor for conditioning once in a blue moon. I recently tried fret doctor for the first time as flight959 lent me his bottle. I was horrified at first because it made the fretboard grippy and my fingertips were kind of juddering across it on bends. A quick call to Flight959 told me he had found the same but it goes away with a few hours playing. Sure enough, the stickiness went away in 48 hours, actually with very little playing.

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Guest farnsbarns

farns, Fret Doctor made your board sticky?

I find its the opposite.

 

I think I may have used too much, but it went away very quickly anyway. I also wondered if maybe my callouses absorbed it too and it made them sticky, I did use my fingers to spread it around. I understand you sent the bottle to Simon so a once removed thanks to you too!

 

Edit: sticky is not quite the right word, more 'grippy' like pushing your finger across clean glass.

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I think I may have used too much, but it went away very quickly anyway. I also wondered if maybe my callouses absorbed it too and it made them sticky, I did use my fingers to spread it around. I understand you sent the bottle to Simon so a once removed thanks to you too!

Probably, I use just a few drops on a qtip and that usually does half the board. Flip the qtip over and repeat.

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I mostly read and learn through the forums here, and on MyLesPaul. Everywhere I found recommends lemon oil for cleaning, and keeping the fretboard in great shape. I know my local shop sells the Dunlop Fretboard 65 lemon oil. It sells for $5 for a 4oz bottle. But my local supermarket, in their furniture care section, sells

 

12oz Old English Lemon Oil, for $5

 

12oz Weiman's Lemon Oil also for $5

 

I have a couple of questions:

 

1. Has anyone used either the Old English, or Weiman's Lemon Oil?

 

2. Does Lemon Oil go bad?

I know you don't use a lot on the fretboard, and I would hate to buy a big bottle, only to have to throw it away if it goes bad.

 

3. Should I just break down and get the Fretboard 65 Lemon oil, since it's marketed for fretboards?

I would hate to use the Old English, or Weiman's if it's going to ruin my fretboards.

 

Thanks

 

Phalaris.

 

DO NOT USE furniture products on your fretboard! Naphta (the main ingredient in lighter fluid) is what most luthiers use to remove oils from bare wood (which is what a Gibson fretboard is - Fenders are different). That's for the cleaning part; for conditioning afterwards, there are many differing opinions on what is best, ranging from different oils (mineral being the most popular) to more complex concoctions. I suggest you start with the Dunlop oil and see what happens. Make sure you don't over-condition the fretboard - it turns it into a soggy sticky mess; just a light amount will do.

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Guest farnsbarns

Probably, I use just a few drops on a qtip and that usually does half the board. Flip the qtip over and repeat.

 

Yeah, I used the bottle to place a drop on every other fret and spread it around with my fingers so I used several times what you do. Another day, another thing learned!

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Yeah, I used the bottle to place a drop on every other fret and spread it around with my fingers so I used several times what you do. Another day, another thing learned!

 

Did you wipe off the excess before restringing and playing? That's key with fret doctor...i let the board drink up what she wants and then wipe away the excess with a soft dry cloth. Mine is never sticky and the boards look great!

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Mineral oil is the base ingredient for all the guitar fretboard products. It's also what they make Old English Lemon Oil and Weiman Lemon Oil from. So anything with mineral oil is good. Plain mineral oil is my favorite. It's like $4.00 for a million year supply. And it's odorless, so you don't smell like a table. [biggrin]

 

Some other Products use naptha as a cleaning agent. But most of the fretboard conditioners are mineral oil based.

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Did you wipe off the excess before restringing and playing? That's key with fret doctor...i let the board drink up what she wants and then wipe away the excess with a soft dry cloth. Mine is never sticky and the boards look great!

 

I did, but being my first time (If you'll pardon the expression) I didn't pay much attention to this step, just a quick wipe and on with the strings. I did notice some oil continued to seep out of the wood for a day afterwards which I kept wiping away with a finger wrapped in my T-shirt hem. I really think I just used far too much. I did it with the guitar lying down and left it that way over night but after re-stringing I put it in a stand, that's where it was when I noticed some patches of oil on the surface, so it was vertical.

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To clean a fretboard I use an old credit card, soft cotton cloth, and naptha.

 

To condition use raw linseed oil. Make sure it's raw linseed and not boiled. Raw linseed oil will condition the fretboard very nicely with no ill side effects that I've found. If you mistakenly use boiled linseed you will create a gunstock finish on your fretboard.

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