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> Cleaning The Neck / Fingerboard
Ben Higgins
post Jun 2 2014, 11:10 AM
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Hey guys, I wanted to ask what you guys use to clean the fingerboard and neck of your guitars ?

Lemon oil is the go-to for fingerboards.. probably not needed that regularly but good to stop the neck drying out if you live in hot, dry areas.

The Ibanez RG7421 I bought recently has an unfinished maple neck and a rosewood fingerboard. The rosewood fingerboard isn't much of a mystery but I'm new to the idea of unfinished necks and wondered what your advice would be regards maintenance ?

I've seen people mentioning gun oil for cleaning necks.


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Becca
post Jun 2 2014, 12:08 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Jun 2 2014, 10:10 AM) *
Hey guys, I wanted to ask what you guys use to clean the fingerboard and neck of your guitars ?

Lemon oil is the go-to for fingerboards.. probably not needed that regularly but good to stop the neck drying out if you live in hot, dry areas.

The Ibanez RG7421 I bought recently has an unfinished maple neck and a rosewood fingerboard. The rosewood fingerboard isn't much of a mystery but I'm new to the idea of unfinished necks and wondered what your advice would be regards maintenance ?

I've seen people mentioning gun oil for cleaning necks.

Hmm.. Hi Ben, the most my guitars get is a wipe down the strings with Fast Fret after a gig. I'm not sure about gun oil on unfinished wood though. Would have thought a natural oil like Lemon or Linseed oil would be the route to go but I am no expert on this. Sensible Jones is a luthier, he or someone else like him would know the best route to take to be absolutely sure.


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Mertay
post Jun 2 2014, 12:56 PM
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Gunstock oil as far as I played serves more like an alternative to how a neck is bulit, for example new charvels come with gunstock oil applied. What I'm not sure of is if there is a pre stage on Charvels gunstock oil usage...it makes the neck more slippery so expect a maybe slight feel change after applied.

Never thought about it but I'd go with dry cloth for an unfinished neck, the oil from hand is what will make that neck feel even better in time just like any guitar.


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Sensible Jones
post Jun 2 2014, 01:58 PM
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Uh-oh, here's where we can open a massive can of worms!!! ohmy.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif

Having had this discussion with a few Luthiers/Techs the upshot is this:-
On unfinished Maple use an all natural plant based oil, you may need to scout around for it but the most widely available is 100% Natural Almond Oil. Available at Health Food Shops predominantly. Closely followed by Linseed Oil.
Gon Stock Oil and Tung Oil will seal the Grain after a certain amount of use, after all it's what they're designed to do.
On Ebony, Rosewood, Pao Ferro boards Lemon Oil is fine. The reason for not using Lemon Oil on Maple is because those darker woods have a more open grain which needs conditioning every now and then. Maple has a close grain and so the Lemon Oil has very little or no effect on it.

Hope this helps a bit, any other queries I'm happy to help out!!
smile.gif smile.gif


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Ben Higgins
post Jun 2 2014, 02:34 PM
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Thanks for all the replies, guys.. ok, I hear ya Sensible. It was mainly the neck itself I was unsure about so I'll go with either almond or linseed - cheers ! smile.gif


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Sensible Jones
post Jun 2 2014, 02:57 PM
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No worries mate!
biggrin.gif


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klasaine
post Jun 2 2014, 04:17 PM
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OT but related ...

I live in southern California. Needless to say - it gets very hot and dry here.

As for cleaning - what Jones says. Plant based oil. Put a light coat on and wipe it off. Use enough pressure to clean any grime on there. A lot of luthiers including Dan Erlewine actually recommend using your saliva to clean light dirt off the neck or anywhere else on a wooden instrument. It's completely natural and has just a bit of enzymes that will get rid of light dirt and grime.

*As for 'conditioning'.
My luthier says to never, unless it shows signs of dryness after not being played for a while (white patches and very open grain), oil an ebony fingerboard. Ebony has a ton of oil in it naturally. Rosewood less so but RW also contains oil. He says if you play those necks the oil from your hands keeps them lubricated.
I have a several guitars with RW and ebony fingerboards. A few from the 1960s. I have maybe 'oiled' them 4 or 5 times over the 34 years I've had them.
I've used linseed oil and bore oil used for clarinets, oboes and bassoons.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jun 2 2014, 04:22 PM


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Sensible Jones
post Jun 2 2014, 04:51 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jun 2 2014, 04:17 PM) *
*As for 'conditioning'.
My luthier says to never, unless it shows signs of dryness after not being played for a while (white patches and very open grain), oil an ebony fingerboard. Ebony has a ton of oil in it naturally. Rosewood less so but RW also contains oil. He says if you play those necks the oil from your hands keeps them lubricated.
I have a several guitars with RW and ebony fingerboards. A few from the 1960s. I have maybe 'oiled' them 4 or 5 times over the 34 years I've had them.
I've used linseed oil and bore oil used for clarinets, oboes and bassoons.

A good point Ken, I just didn't want to try and complicate the situation any more than it can be! Ebony, as you point out, is far less subject to drying out and does retain it's natural Oil and that from your fingers. This is also affected by the particular cut of wood as some will have a wider grain than others and vice versa. If anyone is ever in doubt as to whether they should be doing anything to their Guitar in this way I always sugeest taking it to a Luthier/Tech and getting their advice first! smile.gif
Just an aside about Bore Oils and some other Oils is that some of them now contain an amount of solvent as it gives them a longer shelf life in a Shop/Warehouse but these solvents are not conducive to a healthy Neck/Fingerboard!


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klasaine
post Jun 2 2014, 05:28 PM
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QUOTE (Sensible Jones @ Jun 2 2014, 08:51 AM) *
Just an aside about Bore Oils and some other Oils is that some of them now contain an amount of solvent as it gives them a longer shelf life in a Shop/Warehouse but these solvents are not conducive to a healthy Neck/Fingerboard!


Damn, I didn't know that. thanks for letting me know.
The bottle I have is several years old - Roche Thomas bore oil. I can't find the current ingredients list but they 'say' all natural and "perfect for your fine wood instruments" - ?

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jun 2 2014, 05:29 PM


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Sensible Jones
post Jun 2 2014, 05:42 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jun 2 2014, 05:28 PM) *
Damn, I didn't know that. thanks for letting me know.
The bottle I have is several years old - Roche Thomas bore oil. I can't find the current ingredients list but they 'say' all natural and "perfect for your fine wood instruments" - ?

Old Oil should be OK, it's the more recent ones (last 3 - 5 years) that contain the solvents. Especially those manufactured in China!


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Ben Higgins
post Jun 2 2014, 06:25 PM
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Very interesting guys, that's great to know - thanks for your input !


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Spock
post Jun 3 2014, 12:59 AM
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PRS makes a guitar cleaning kit with a rag for $19.99. I just saw it this week and have not purchased it yet, but want to.


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This post has been edited by Spock: Jun 3 2014, 01:01 AM
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Mith
post Jun 3 2014, 04:49 AM
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I've always used the dunlop stuff. Might not be the cheapest but a little goes a long way. I do love the gretboard conditioner they make. The biggest thing is not using too much of any product. I give all my guitars a good clean and condition when I first get them and then rarely have to do it again. Only time I recondition is when I use the deep cleaner on it and it strips a bit of the oil but a tiny bit on a cloth is all it needs.

And even that is on the excessive side I think


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