Lemon oil for Ebony Fretboard

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by Ides of March, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. Ides of March

    Ides of March Member

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    I just bought the Dunlop 65 ultimate lemon oil because I wanted something to clean my fretboard that wasn't a cream substance because I have some muck building up on either side of my frets. Is this ok to use on an Ebony fretboard or will it damage it. I have a Taylor 310ce. If not is there something you can recommend.
     
  2. mrmuzikhead

    mrmuzikhead Member

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    I use double boiled linseed oil (lemon oil is fine too) w/0000 steel wool. Cleans up the finger board and polishes up the frets nicely. You should try and do this a couple times a year as the oil will keep the fingerboard from drying out.
     
  3. royd

    royd Member

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  4. go7

    go7 Member

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    +1 on Fret Doctor.
     
  5. gtr777

    gtr777 Supporting Member

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    I've been using a product called hydrate. Not sure who makes it but it works great on my ebony boards and leaves a nice silky feel to the fretboard.
     
  6. Dr Git

    Dr Git Member

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    I'm a fan of the Gerlitz Guitar Honey Fretboard Conditioner (works great on all DARK Fretboard woods)
     
  7. Ascension

    Ascension Member

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    +1 I just picked up a NOS 1993 Washburn USA MG104 that had been sitting in a shop in Florida for the last 15 years. The fretboard was so dry and bleached out the rosewood looked almost blond like maple! The guitar had a harsh brittle tone on the upper frets in particular and it just didn't "feel " right. I was afraid the board would eventually crack if I didn't do something so I picked up some Fret Doctor and hit the board a couple of times with it. First time it just soaked the stuff up like crazy so I waited about 20 minuits and hit it again did the same thing and then after an hour hit it again with a heavy coat and let it sit another hour. The rich rosewood color the board origionally had was back and the harsh zing had disappeared completely when I came back and picked the guitar up!! Shure made a quick believer outta me!!
     
  8. dspblues

    dspblues Silver Supporting Member

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    + 1 here.
     
  9. MikeB_18

    MikeB_18 Member

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    It's made by planet waves. I picked up a bottle on a recommendation from a friend and so far so good.
     
  10. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    don't overdo it. rosewood boards, in particular, give off their own oil and don't need much ... avoid having oil soak in along the frets where it can soften wood and weaken the fret tangs' grip.
     
  11. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Supporting Member

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    I have used lemon oil on both rosewood & ebony boards for years with
    no problems whatsoever. I refuse to pay a premium price for so-called
    " conditioners ".
     
  12. Ascension

    Ascension Member

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    I agree in a normal situation but this case was exterme. I have never seen a Rosewood board dry and bleech out like this. All I can think of is that it must have something to do with how it was stored. Exposure to the Salt Air in Florida maybe?
    Bottom line is after using the Fret Doctor stuff the color of the rosewood is back the ZING on the higher frets has disapeared and the guitar looks sounds and plays like it should!
     
  13. bazooka47

    bazooka47 Member

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    I have to try that Fret Dr., if it's the best.

    I have been using WATCO teak oil with great results (don't let it sit there too long).
     
  14. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I use boiled linseed oil, $5/quart. About one drop a year is all you need. One can is a lifetime supply.

    I asked Nashville tech Joe Glaser what he uses. He said lemon oil, the same stuff you buy at the supermarket.

    Anything sold as "fretboard oil" is just marketing. It's probably just very light mineral oil, purchased at Home Depot and re-packaged in tiny bottles at insane mutiples of what it cost.
     
  15. PHLOW

    PHLOW Member

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    The lemon oil you purchased should be fine. I would echo the advice to use sparingly and not that often. Also agree with the use of superfine steel wool on occasion for a good cleaning. My experience with dozens of acoustics is that some ebony boards are more "thirsty" than others. I have had those that needed a bit of oil periodically throughout the year, others that could go a year or two between feedings.
     
  16. royd

    royd Member

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    That is true Michael... but it is also true with "Lemon Oil" that you purchase at the grocery store. It is either mineral oil or some petroleum distillate with a tiny bit of lemon oil added or just lemon scent.

    I do highly recommend reading the article at Bore Dr.
    http://www.beafifer.com/boredoctor.htm

    Obviously he is trying to sell you his product but the info is still very helpful.
     
  17. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    I've heard from some folks to ABSOLUTELY not use the steel wool, If you use lemon oil once a year (maybe twice if you're in a REALLY dry climate) and rub it down really good with an old fashioned guitar polish cloth, I've been assured by several guitar techs and luthiers that you'll be fine.
     
  18. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Why does any of the above make it unsuitable? By the way, ANY lemon "scent" is from natural lemon oil... there's no such thing as artificial lemon scent.

    Yeah, it's helpful - to him. I think the oil that's most prominent in his "proprietary formulation" is snake.

    Beware of anyone who (1) claims his secret special formulation is the only one that works, (2) rants on and on, paragraph after paragraph, about how bad everyone else's product is, (3) has his entire page set in large bold type.
     
  19. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I've gotten the same advice.

    I use old T-shirts, they work fine too. Any soft cotton cloth should be OK.
     
  20. mrmuzikhead

    mrmuzikhead Member

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    I've been doing the steel wool (OOOO) for over 20 years and it WON'T hurt Ebony and Rosewood FB's. If you are doing it to a guitar with magnetic PU's it doesn't hurt to tape the pick ups up with masking tape so no metal from the wool gets in there. The wool polishes up the frets nicely too.
     

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