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Should The Fretboard Remain Raw?


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every guitar that i get into my shop for repair or re-string or setup gets a fretboard cleaning and a coating of mineral oil. just plain old grocery store mineral oil. it's probably a buck and a half a bottle and i've had this one for a year or so. mineral oil is actually approved by the fda as a salad bowl finish. it doesn't cure particularly hard but does seal and condition the fretboard to a degree.

one of the better known luthier/techs in my part of the world does the same thing with a coating of linseed oil.

with the mineral oil just apply generously, let it soak in for a few minutes and then wipe it off and buff it a bit with an old t-shirt. done deal.

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it doesn't have any odor and since my repair area is right next to my showroom i try not to stink it up too bad. cost i suppose has something to do with it. mineral oil is quite a bit cheaper. i apply it with my fingers and it wipes off clean (from my fingers) with a rag and linseed oil leaves the fingers sticky.

other than that it just leaves the fingerboard feeling better to me. i can't explain it any more than that, it just feels better. :D

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I use lemon oil.....smells great and works great. For cleaning every month or so I use Murphy's oil soap (dampen a rag - don't soak the guitar) on the whole guitar/bass and then polish the body and lemon oil the fingerboard. I use fret-fast in between cleanings on the fingerboard to keep it and the strings clean.

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