Jump to content

Cleaning Years Of Grime Off A Fretboard...


Recommended Posts

well, what type of fretboard is it? a maple fretboard with a poly (depending on when it was made) or nitro finish over it, a rosewood, ebony?

i aquired a 33 year old classical guitar that had been played so much the fingerboard had some massive grouves and the pore's were filled in by dead skin and sweat (an ugly greybrown)

so what i did was when i broke the headstock off the guitar is i took off the fretboard (great tutorial on projectguitar.com) removed the frets and just sanded my worries away. from there i treated it like i was making a new board. i deepend the slots to the watned depth after i had gotten the board flat (it was a classical you would want to get the previous radius :D) i refretted and reattatched. simple as that (the board is like new)

but thats the REAL hard way of doing it :D

heres the way you probly want to do it

go pick up gibsons cleaning kit the Fretboard cleaner on there is amazing. that and a little elbow grease and a paper towel should do the job B)

Edited by Kenny
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I usually just buy a new guitar...

seriously,don't use soap of any kind...I usually use a razorblade GENTLY to scrape off the majority,then finish with a cloth,then oil...usually lindseed for me,but very light.

keep in mind though I don't clean my fretboards often...rather I wash my hands before I play,and wipe occasionally with a washcloth to prevent the grime.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i aquired a 33 year old classical guitar that had been played so much the fingerboard had some massive grouves and the pore's were filled in by dead skin and sweat (an ugly greybrown)

so what i did was when i broke the headstock off the guitar is i took off the fretboard (great tutorial on projectguitar.com) removed the frets and just sanded my worries away. from there i treated it like i was making a new board. i deepend the slots to the watned depth after i had gotten the board flat (it was a classical you would want to get the previous radius :D) i refretted and reattatched. simple as that (the board is like new)

but thats the REAL hard way of doing it :D

seems a bit overkill to me as well - epecially since it will mess with the string height as well

grime will clean off with wire wool. i use 0000 wire wool and a bit of elbow grease - just done a 50 year old framus and it came up fine in about 10 minutes

now if you do have deep grooves dont sand them out, fill them in!! you can get them invisible with a method like this:

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Luthier/Te...fboardivot.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks for the replies. its an '87 squier bullet, rosewood fretboard, no idea about the finish.

i've been given the neck and body free, it needs a refret so i thought i'd teach myself how to do it on a guitar that it won't matter if i balls it up. its covered in about 20 years worth of crap though so i want to see if the neck is worth saving before i go ahead and start refretting it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A rag and some naptha should break down the gunk till it starts SHIFTing. As Wes pointed out, razor blades work nicely as long as you only work in the direction of the grain and they get right up to the frets edges. Turning a slight burr can turn it into a reasonable scraper although this is probably too "invasive". +1 on the wire wool. Works well to remove gunk from the grain also, although it may open up the grain somewhat also. Once you're cleaned and polished it up, a liberal wipe with linseed oil will bring it back up to speed.

Oh Wes, I go one better than you...instead of washing my hands every time I play a guitar, I chop them off at the elbow and then burn the guitar to make sure....you can't be too careful....

Seriously however, it's a good idea to clean the fretboard when you change your strings to prevent buildup of grime.

edited to: change spelling :D MK LOL!!

Edited by Prostheta
Link to comment
Share on other sites

seriously,don't use soap of any kind...I

That's right ! Don't even use *Me* to clean the grime off your fret-board, even though I'm rough and scruffy like the cheapest, coarsest steel wool that's been left laying at the back of the garage for eons.

Seriously, if you're going to re-fret it, I would first scrape off crud with a plastic credit card (put a sharp edge on it, if needed).

Kind of creepy to dilute that kind of crud and have it flow down in the fret slots.

I also used to always wash my hands before playing and that keeps a board real tidy. My hands would actually absorb dirt from the board instead of putting more there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fella I work with bought a brand-new US-made BC Rich Gunslinger back in the early '90s. Awesome guitar BTW! It had a maple fingerboard. We work for a jewelery manufacturer, and we were using black paste-y polish all day to shine the silver and gold........that stuff really gets ingrained into the skin. You can imagine what his 'board looked like after only a few weeks!!! Instant relic'd! I don't believe he ever cleaned it, in fact he sold it probably still in that condition. boke

DJ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yea, it messes with the string height, but thats why you make a new nut and saddle aswell :D (I LOVE working harder than I need to apperantly, hahah)

really, ive done the pinesol route too, that works great aswell. but the best thing ive found is the Gibson fingerboard cleaner.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i usually just use a $2.50 bottle of lemon oil, it cleans awesomeyl, give the fret board an amazing shine and protects and rejuvenates it as well...

Lemon oil is a great surface cleaner for the short term, but I don't believe it provides long-term protection unless you apply it every week or two. IIRC it's not actually oil from lemons, but a heavier end petroleum distillate which volatilises pretty quickly. I use lemon oil as a cleaner rather than as a rejuvenator as it does the job well in that respect.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

here is my gunk just for prostheta :D

XL803970.jpg

not the worst i have seen if i am honest but it was quite tough because of the age of it - those are the original brass frets other than the zero.

here is the whole thing as it turned up from ebay all for £56

XL803964.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

here is my gunk just for prostheta :D

XL803970.jpg

not the worst i have seen if i am honest but it was quite tough because of the age of it - those are the original brass frets other than the zero.

here is the whole thing as it turned up from ebay all for £56

XL803964.jpg

cool! I never find fun guitars on ebay! what's it sound like? and can we see an after shot?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it sounds pretty good, clear and articulate but not quite as complex as a solid topped archtop would be. i think its a framus tango or at least made by framus under another brand.

it was a really vague listing with an unclear picture so i expected to have to do loads of work but its still a lot more playable than i expected... the guy could have doubled his money just by putting 'project' or 'restore' in the title - its amazing what some people will pay for an imploded archtop. i know, i have been watching them for years!!!

i'm considering changing the fretboard so i can put some graphite in the neck (no truss rod) and if i do that it will get a reset, new frets and bridge at the same time. it doesnt play awfull at the moment but i am aware i could make it play a hell of a lot better so i will at some point

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it sounds pretty good, clear and articulate but not quite as complex as a solid topped archtop would be. i think its a framus tango or at least made by framus under another brand.

it was a really vague listing with an unclear picture so i expected to have to do loads of work but its still a lot more playable than i expected... the guy could have doubled his money just by putting 'project' or 'restore' in the title - its amazing what some people will pay for an imploded archtop. i know, i have been watching them for years!!!

i'm considering changing the fretboard so i can put some graphite in the neck (no truss rod) and if i do that it will get a reset, new frets and bridge at the same time. it doesnt play awfull at the moment but i am aware i could make it play a hell of a lot better so i will at some point

is that an inlay or tape on the board the picture isn''t quite clear enough!

On the subject of carbon rods what about using bamboo rods?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

is that an inlay or tape on the board the picture isn''t quite clear enough!

On the subject of carbon rods what about using bamboo rods?

plain white plastic inlays... not nice :D

isnt bamboo generally quite flexible

noits actually incredibly stiff equivalent to carbon fibre (it is infact a natural composit material!) its so strong snd stiff infact that it has bizarre uses..

http://www.calfeedesign.com/bamboo.htm

Guess what project I have in the pipeline!

not bad for grass!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...