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Is Fret Doctor really that good?

blackba

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
11,912
I WONT USE FRET DOCTOR AGAIN!

I bought a bottle about 3 months ago,and used on my strat and les Paul(both rosewood) and now i have a weird sorta of white watermark(or solvent) all over my fret boards!! It made them look worse not better!!!

I dont think its damage and will go away in time BUT its scary stuff having 7K of guitars look damaged!


Yes, it looks darker and sweet to start off with but once dry's yyyuuuuukkkkk!

I'll post some pictures soon.

NEVER AGAIN!
Did you clean your fretboard before apply fret doctor?
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
39,550
I WONT USE FRET DOCTOR AGAIN!

...now i have a weird sorta of white watermark(or solvent) all over my fret boards!!
use some naphtha to dissolve and wick out whatever's going on there (maybe your fret Dr went rancid?)

naphtha soaked rag or paper towel in one hand, multiple dry paper towels in the other, soak the board then sop up with the dry towels, do a few times to wick out the gunk.

i discovered the music nomad f-one oil which also claims to be plant-based rather than just mineral oil like everything else, and is a fraction of the price of fret dr, but frankly i've long since stopped using any of it, i'm not sure it's all not bogus.
 

Mr Analog

Member
Messages
688
I stopped using Fret Doctor because a nearly full bottle went rancid after less than a year. Unfortunately, I applied it to my CS telecaster before I knew what was going on. It took 3 or 4 months for the nasty stink to go away.

In retrospect, there were warning signs that the stuff was going bad. The bottle had started to warp into an hourglass shape, with the middle sucked in a little bit. Now I know that's called "leeching" and it means the oil is changing chemically and reacting with the plastic.

I kept the bottle on a shelf out of the sunlight and it was never exposed to extreme heat, cold or humidity. I can only guess that it's some kind of vegetable oil that breaks down fairly easily. We'll never know since the ingredients are a big secret. Anyway, I felt like a real sucker paying so much money for something that made my expensive guitar stink for months.

I've been using stewmac lemon oil since then. It makes my fretboards every bit as dark as Fret Doctor and it doesn't smell like a compost bin! I'm sure any light mineral oil is just as good and safer than Fret Doctor -- not to mention dramatically less expensive.
 

masliko

Member
Messages
52
use some naphtha to dissolve and wick out whatever's going on there (maybe your fret Dr went rancid?)

naphtha soaked rag or paper towel in one hand, multiple dry paper towels in the other, soak the board then sop up with the dry towels, do a few times to wick out the gunk.

i discovered the music nomad f-one oil which also claims to be plant-based rather than just mineral oil like everything else, and is a fraction of the price of fret dr, but frankly i've long since stopped using any of it, i'm not sure it's all not bogus.
Yes thanks,i'm sorta pissed at myself,i've been around a long time and have never done this stuff before now,& i remember why.I did give the boards a clean but they were perfect.

There are a lot of pictures on the net of the type of "white line" gunk I'm talking about and there is NO doubt that the fret doctor did it.But it is not the only product that will do it.

Basically, it sits in the pores of the rosewood and skin and dust stick to the tiny holes and make it look shithouse.Its not "damage" per se' and will dissapear in time .I could use certain things to get rid of it,(steel wool,toothbrush,razor blade)but fretboards are not coffee tables,I'll leave them alone in future-i suggest you guys do the same.

Just search "tiny white lines in rosewood fret board" and you will hundreds of posts.
 

bluesjuke

Disrespected Elder
Messages
24,151
Wow... I wonder what's up there... I have been using Fret Doctor for just under 10 years and have never had anything remotely like that happen...
Same here, I've had great results with FD


Same here,, long time user and zero problems only good results.
Of course I used it very sparingly and so far no need in years to ever use it more than twice on any given fret board.
Two to three drops on a Q-Tip does a whole fret board well.

I did do the search on "tiny white lines in rosewood fret board".
The search results from Google came up with one item, the post here in this thread,
 

ajeffcote

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
406
I use lemon oil, a prepared conditioner from Dunlop or some kind of oil used on horns ( given to me and recommended by a longtime luthier and guitar store owner).
I've read that Wes Montgomery used to eat a greasy sandwich before he played a gig (finger-ease and fretboard conditioner on his fingers!).
When I get a new neck, non-maple board, I treat it with Tru-Oil. On rosewood or pau ferro. Haven't tried it on ebony yet. It seals the wood. makes it darker and gives it a nice "glow". Not enough to build up a surface finish, but enough to stabilize the moisture content. Works great.
Bottom line is that wood dries out and/or absorbs too much moisture depending on the environment. Does your furniture get conditioned with Pledge or something? It needs it.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
18,399
Yup, the fretboard oiling debate rages on. Just be careful to not overdo it and keep any oil away from the fret slots.
 

straycat113

Member
Messages
2,926
I still have a large bottle I bought over 5 years ago and for me it is the best. My preference is rosewood fretboards and I will do a really good neck cleaning and oiling twice a year, Ebony once.
 

73Fender

Member
Messages
3,980
I like what Terry McInturff has to say about fretboard oiling.

https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/1329370&highlight=danish
Yes that is the definitive thread for me on this subject. Learned a lot.

Re Fret Dr, I bought a bottle years ago and still have half of it. Mine hasn't gone bad. I will only use a few drops on a micro fiber cloth and rub it in. And this maybe every other year tops or if it is a new acquisition and the board appears dry. No dumping it on the board.

Recently it has occurred to me that I have no idea what the product even is. Kind of disconcerting. If I had to do it over again I would get some bore oil on Amazon or just some mineral oil at the drug store.
 

kiwicanuck

Member
Messages
1,532
I've used only Fret Doctor for many years on my guitars and any guitars I repair or set up (ebony or rosewood) if the fb looks starved for moisture. I love the stuff.

I'm very careful how much I use. 2-3 drops in a Chux cloth (J cloth) will do a fb.
 

Sconnie

Member
Messages
300
There is never a need to oil or "maintain" the fingerboard. Proper humidity is all that is ever required. In fact too much oil and you will do damage, that stuff never evaporates and will collect inside the wood and under the frets. A little once in a while probably won't hurt if you like the look or feel of an oily board.....(like a couple times a year)


flame-suit on.
This. The wood is dried for a reason, so it wont rot and so it doesn't need to be 'maintained'. If you really want to use something on it, I wouldn't do it more than once a year.
 

joethepainter

It's Life, but not as we know it
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,384
Hi guys, didn't read whole thread, so sorry if this has been posted before...
When I was a kid, I used to use what I called "nose grease". I was going thru puberty at the time (so I was pretty greasy), and I'd rub my left hand fingers all over my nose between songs, then rub it all over my fretboard. Worked like a charm! Since my face isn't as oily as it once was, I have since switched to lemon oil for my rosewood boards, every couple of years is fine for me.
Like folks say, don't overdo it! Hope this helps.
 

shallbe

Deputy Plankspanker
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
12,202
I have on old bottle of FretDoctor. I have had it for many years. 2 drops on a q-tip usually does the whole neck. Let it dry and then wipe it clean. I probably have 1/4 of the bottle still left.

Never gone rancid, always worked well.
 

bluesjuke

Disrespected Elder
Messages
24,151
Has my bottle for years.
It is still as good as the day I bought it.
Most of the bottle is left. A little does so much as I said above I never have used it more that twice on any fret board and at least 2 years apart at that.
 

Aoresteen

Member
Messages
355
I'm on my 2nd 60ml bottle of Fret Doctor over the last 9 years. Just about all my guitars have been pawn shop rescues or eBay/Reverb/Craig's list buys. 98% of the time the guitars are dirty and need a good cleaning. A month ago I got one of the most filthy guitars I've seen out of an Alabama pawn shop. I had to use a razor blade to get all the crap off of the fret board.

The same week I got a 2007 Epiphone SG Special that the fret board was the driest fret board I've ever seen. Not dirty but very very dry.

I first clean the fret board then put a few drops of Fret Doctor on a cotton ball. With the cotton ball I wipe down the fret board making two passes. Then I let it sit and about an hour later I wipe the stuff off. In the case of the SG I put it in a case with a humidifier for a week after cleaning. That helped a lot. Then I treated it with FD. It now looks and feels fine.

I've never had an issue with the stuff going rancid or gumming up a fret board. Once I treat a fret board with FD I leave it alone and maybe do it again in a couple of years. When I change strings i just clean the fret board then put a new set of strings on it.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
18,399
Any oil softens wood. And, if you analyze how frets are held in place in their slots, softening the surrounding wood is the last thing you'd want to do to a fretted instrument.
 

COYS

Member
Messages
6,264
Fretboard Oil

Friday, March 29, 2013
By: Bob Taylor

Question: On guitar chat forums people rave about the merits of using lemon oil to clean their guitar fretboards. Other people respond by saying that lemon oil is actually bad for the guitar. Can you shed some light on this? -- Claudio R. Montreal, Canada

Answer: Claudio, I’d have no worries about using lemon oil on my fretboard. It’s safe. Use it only on the unfinished wood like the fretboard and bridge. The wood can dry out over time, and an oil like this, or linseed oil, or even mineral oil, can protect the wood and beautify it as well. Don’t overdo it. Once a fretboard has been oiled a few times, you can slow down the frequency. The nice thing about lemon oil is that it cleans while it oils, so it won’t build up as easily, but be sparing. I don’t think your fretboard will need oiling more than twice a year, and eventually, once a year.

https://www.taylorguitars.com/blog/ask-bob/fretboard-oil
 




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