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What do you guys use to condition/oil rosewood and ebony fretboards?

Any Name You Wish

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2021
Messages
517
I recently tried Dunlop on one guitar and Fret Doctor on the other. They both work very well. I really could not see any difference. I also polished the frets with fret polish after 15 years of playing, and boy did THAT make a difference. I found it very important to get as much of the oil off, and buff the wood. I don't like my finger sticking to the wood when bending strings.
 

KoP

Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2016
Messages
62
I use Murphys lemon oil and one of those red shop rags. The last rag I used had oil, grease and dirt on it from when I used it to change the oil in my car. I’m kind of haphazard with my guitars. lol I only clean the fb like once or twice a year. I play my guitar a lot so there’s plenty of natural finger oil on it.
 

Cranknfrank

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Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Messages
64
Only when necessary: Clean Zee-Gunk => Naphtha and microfiber ... wipe off well with clean cotton rag, let it breathe well enough after to thoroughly air out. Patience.

Then, add: Condition => Bore Oil, if particular branding is required, Fret Doctor. Once wood is clean and exposed. Exceedingly Sparingly! Let sit less than half-hour, then wipe... [that said, there are other reputable generic types and brands that all have their champions and detractors]. REPEAT: Seldom to rarely, depending.

When conditions merit, or to taste: If you feel you need to seal... (because super-dry environments), or just dig the feel => Howard Feed-N-Wax. Again, Sparingly! And don't let excess build up, lest you accumulate more gunk, which leads you to... see above.

Really, the simple answer is: the least required, depending on the state of the instrument, the environment in which it lives, and the chemistry of your hands.

Some go for years without needing anything, really. Be careful, the worst thing to do is overdo it, and get soggy-logged deterioration.


PS - I don't object to what Jim's using and doing, but would say be careful with anything stiffer than soft bristled toothbrush and would avoid that harsher pad.
I definitely concur on Bore Oil. I worked in music retail for many years and the horn repair guys used bore oil on really expensive clarinets. A lot of those clarinets are grenadilla wood which I was told has similar characteristics to rosewood.
 

Keefoman

Active member
Joined
Nov 4, 2009
Messages
578
I wonder how good MusicNomad's F-One is as an alternative to Fret Doctor.
It list as natural tree/seed oils, free of Petroleum ( works great in old Hot Rods, not so sure about fretboards!) water, lemon oil , waxes and silicone.
I use the F-One from MusicNomad as the bottle of Fret Doctor is empty and I can't get it without paying insane shipping fees. The F-One oil is not much different than the Fret Doctor.
 

latestarter

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Joined
Nov 9, 2009
Messages
4,191
Reiterating, only condition when needed. That is, when it’s dry. I think my main gigging guitar I’ve done maybe three times in 10 years….and ~250 gigs.
 
W

Wizard1183

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KoP

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Joined
Jul 11, 2016
Messages
62
I decided to try some bore oil today. Seems really good. It definitely feels thinner than mineral oil and doesn’t smell like it at all. It’s different for sure.

Dropped some on, smeared it around, let it sit for 1-2 minutes, then wiped it off. My fb is a little darker now and feels really smooth. I like this stuff way better than the lemon/mineral oils that I’ve used, like Murphys and Dunlop. I don’t think I’ll need to oil it again for years now.
 

RocknRollShakeUp

Active member
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
768
I decided to try some bore oil today. Seems really good. It definitely feels thinner than mineral oil and doesn’t smell like it at all. It’s different for sure.

Dropped some on, smeared it around, let it sit for 1-2 minutes, then wiped it off. My fb is a little darker now and feels really smooth. I like this stuff way better than the lemon/mineral oils that I’ve used, like Murphys and Dunlop. I don’t think I’ll need to oil it again for years now.
Thanks for the report. I’ve also used mineral oil from the drug store, which I also use to keep carbon knife blades from rusting since it is medical grade and you can ingest it, but I may try this bore oil out.

Mineral oil has always done fine though, but I like the idea of the bore oil being thinner for some reason. Mineral oil is a bit too goopey feeling for the fretboard.
 
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KoP

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Jul 11, 2016
Messages
62
Thanks for the report. I’ve also used mineral oil from the drug store, which I also use to keep carbon knife blades from rusting since it is medical grade and you can ingest it, but I may try this bore oil out.

Mineral oil has always done fine though, but I like the idea of the bore oil being thinner for some reason. Mineral oil is a bit too goopey feeling for the fretboard.
I got The Bore Doctor brand. Doesn’t smell like it has any petroleum in it. I can smell a little tea tree oil in it which seems to be a common bore oil ingredient.

Years ago my #1 for around 12 years was a 1978 RD Standard. I used to use WD40 and a dirty auto rag to clean the fretboard once or twice a year. It made the fretboard really dark, but no other harmful effects as far as I could tell. It was smooth and played really fast.

That being said, I’m not sure what you use matters all that much.
 

J.D.

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Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
10,046
I've been using flaxseed oil for decades. One capsule per fretboard. It's simply health grade linseed oil. Non toxic. No petroleum distillates. Not saying it's better than the others listed but it is relatively inexpensive and works well.
 
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