How do you polish your frets?

Nolatone Ampworks

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,773
Time to do some maintenence on some of my axes. I'd like to get the frets good and slick, knock off the tarnish and get em shining and slick again.

How do you guys do this?

Thanks,

Paul
 

bazooka47

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
862
Micromesh system available from StewMac. Buff those frets using the foam pad that is supplied. If you are not leveling but only polishing, start with maybe the 3600 'grit' and go over them a few times with each of the finer ones up to the 12000. Then, finish them off with a soft cloth and a drop or two of 3M Finesse-it machine polish or Meguiar's. They will shine like jewels.

I have also used 0000 steel wool with success, but it makes a mess and does not do the same job as the MM.
 

paintguy

Long Hair Hippy Freak
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,208
0000 steel wool. Tape off the pickups. Tape off the fingerboard as well if it's a maple board. Makes them nice and shiny and smooth.

Follow with bore oil or oil of choice if the board is ebony or rosewood.

Btw, there are probably at least a couple of dozen of threads on this subject. As some people say "the search function is you friend".:D
 

jamison162

Member
Messages
7,757
Flitz metal polish and a cloth. Tape off the fretboard. No steel wool for me. I wipe down the board and if it's really bad use an old soft bristle toothbrush. After cleaning the board and polishing the frets, I condition the board with Fret Dr. bore oil. Not only does it look good, it feels and plays wonderfully better. Very much worth the time and effort to do this every couple yrs at least.
 

CitizenCain

Member
Messages
4,821
Micromesh system available from StewMac. Buff those frets using the foam pad that is supplied. If you are not leveling but only polishing, start with maybe the 3600 'grit' and go over them a few times with each of the finer ones up to the 12000. Then, finish them off with a soft cloth and a drop or two of 3M Finesse-it machine polish or Meguiar's. They will shine like jewels.
+1



For the steelwool guys, you can get synthetic steel wool that won't make the metal shard mess of the real stuff.
 

triple_vee

Senior Member
Messages
1,141
go to a drug store and get those 2 sided finger nail polisher boards that women use to buff their nails. they work great for polishing frets.
 
Messages
8,095
Commercial-grade scotch-brite; not the green kitchen pot scrubber crap. I use the red, then the white. Available at good hardware stores.
 

John Phillips

Member
Messages
13,040
Brasso.

If you've never tried it, you won't believe how smooth they feel when truly polished - not just buffed with abrasives, no matter how fine.

You'll need to clean and re-oil the board afterwards (it leaves a residue in the grain) unless you mask it. Personally I prefer to polish the whole board as well.
 

FloridaSam

Member
Messages
4,511
Flitz metal polish and a cloth. Tape off the fretboard. No steel wool for me. I wipe down the board and if it's really bad use an old soft bristle toothbrush. After cleaning the board and polishing the frets, I condition the board with Fret Dr. bore oil. Not only does it look good, it feels and plays wonderfully better. Very much worth the time and effort to do this every couple yrs at least.
+1 on the Flitz. It makes the frets shine and a lot less messy than steel wool.
 

84Bravo

Member
Messages
11,551
Brasso.

If you've never tried it, you won't believe how smooth they feel when truly polished - not just buffed with abrasives, no matter how fine.

You'll need to clean and re-oil the board afterwards (it leaves a residue in the grain) unless you mask it. Personally I prefer to polish the whole board as well.
Man, I first met Brasso in 1967, when I was drafted, and the mere smell of that stuff incites bad memories. I can't believe that this stuff can be good for wood. Wouldn't it petrify it?
 

Colt14jr

Member
Messages
869
Blue Magic works great on fret wire. You can find it at most motorcycle shops. Afterwards I'll use lemon oil to cut the residue from the fretboard.
 

Pietro

2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy
Messages
16,440
Don't forget to lemon oil your rosewood or ebony fretboard after! A ruined fingerboard will spoil your day more than messy frets.
 

Mcclassic

Member
Messages
799
Use Brasso too, I have use it for a long time and no problems with any of my guitars, I applied it an then clean and polish with only a clean rag, after that I clean the fretboard and put some red wood oil.

I just did that in a couple of PRS, one is a Mcsoapy standard with P-90 that I was considering to sell, after finish and put new strings, I started to play it, everything smooth perfect, and loving the tone, then I use 2 more amplifiers and noted that this is one of those guitars that make the amp actually sound good. So I keep it.:cool:
 

sleis

Member
Messages
99
Also use the micromesh on my guitars. I run through the whole gamut of grits. Mask off the fretboard first so you don't wear it down or get black all over the place, really is annoying on maple. Start with the lowest grit number and work along the length of each fret, not up and down the fretboard. It feels smoother when playing if the direction of the abrasive cut is in the same direction you bend strings rather than parallel to the strings. If the frets are really crappy, like on a halfway setup epi out of the box or something, I spend more time on the lower grits. If you are just shining them up, I usually work top to bottom and make 3 or 4 quick passes on each fret and when I get to the bottom I switch grits and work my way back down again. Takes less than 10 minutes and they will shine and feel super slippery.

Micromesh was originally designed to take the haze off of airplane canopies, you can imagine if it is good enough to make the glass clear enough to see through on a plane, it will do wonders to your frets.

As mentioned before, StewMac has kits with all of the grits. You can also find it at woodworkers supply. I got mine locally. The stuff works great on ipod screens, and working on clearcoats. It is cloth backed so it lasts forever. If you have sharp fret ends anywhere, take care of those first so you don't tear up the micromesh(or your hands for that matter).
 




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