My own DUMB guitar cleaning and maint. thread... ADVICE NEEDED!!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by astainback, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. astainback

    astainback Member

    Jul 30, 2003
    Few too many questions...

    1. My G and B strings (I use D'addario 10s) are turning dark a lot sooner than I want them too. The rest of the strings are fine. Well, the high E starts to turn.. but not as bad as G and B. Do you recommend string cleaners? I wipe them off with a planet waves microfiber cloth every time I play. Should I start using fast fret or something similar? I bought some of those Ernie Ball string wipes, and they cleaned the strings, but it seemed like they didn't last as long. I just need some advice. I have also used DR strings and they did the same thing. I am not interested in getting coated strings or SOB. SOB is too slow from what I read, and I like that I can pick up strings locally.

    2. Fretboard cleaning... I have a maple fretboard strat and a rosewood fretboard tele. I do have Lem oil. I have used it on the rosewood before. It seems to do Ok. My question is.. what is the best way to keep rosewood, ebony (acoustic guitar), and maple fretboards clean?? Lem oil? Nothing? Dry cloth? Anything else?

    3. Guitar polish.. What brand? Do you apply with microfiber cloth or regular? I don't usually polish my guitars but once every 4 or 5 string changes.

    4. What are the best guitar cloths to get? I was thinking of throwing out all the old ones and getting microfiber only. They clean nice in the washing machine and dry quick when hung up.

    Here is what I have right now.
    ( I was thinking seriously about throwing all this stuff out and getting new stuff because some of it.. well, I have had for a while. )

    2 Planet Waves microfiber cloths. (not throwing these out.. i use them daily.)
    1 Ernie Ball polish cloth and 1 bottle of polish. ( I use this the most. )
    1 guitar center cloth
    Virtuoso Premium Polish ( one of my friends left it.. 4 years old probably, and I never used it. )
    Lem Oil and cloth for Lem oil ( old, still use it )

    I don't know how long this stuff lasts, or what the best stuff to get is. I wanted to ask some knowledgeable people who take good care of their guitars and treat them right. I don't have a lot of money or a lot of guitars, but I want the ones I have to last a lifetime. Any and all help is appreciated!!!

    Thanks in advance,
  2. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2008
    Southern California
    1. Buy cheap strings in bulk and change them more often (most D'Addario sets can be found in bulk for $3/set).
    2. Don't overdo the whole fretboard cleaning & oiling thing. A few times a year depending on how much you play and the climate you live in. Too much oil is actually worse than not enough.
    3. For unfinished fretboards like rosewood, Fret Doctor is as good as it gets. There are many alternative products that work sufficiently, but this is my hands down favorite. Do a search here and you'll find lots of info.
    4. For maple fretboards, just a damp cloth is all that's needed if the finish is intact. Lemon oil isn't going to penetrate the lacquer so it's either going to evaporate or transfer to your hands and guitar case.
    5. For guitar polish, the virtuoso polish is great but if you have a poly finished guitar, it's overkill IMHO. Any decent spray polish (Martin, Dunlop, etc.) is more than sufficient 99% of the time.
    5. Microfiber cloths are great for cleaning, but most aren't really suited for polishing.
  3. Groovey Records

    Groovey Records Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    Jackson Heights Birthplace of Johnny Thunders
    The strings could be changing because of your own body chemistry. the strings you name are often just steel wire. Try a pure nickel string.

    Mostly I use a slightly damp cloth nothing more is nessacary

    On my rosewood necks I put a small drop of gibson neck oil every other fret when I restring and work it in with a wool sock so no residue is left and allow it to soak in before stringing at least an hour. Next time I string I do the alternate frets and I never do the inlayed frets directly just use the oil left on the wool.

    Once a year I get out the belt sander and whoops cant tell you that trade secret
  4. astainback

    astainback Member

    Jul 30, 2003
    Thanks for the responses.
    Anyone else had any luck extending string life?
    I am not looking for the magic cure or anything.. but it would be nice to squeeze a couple of more weeks out of a string change.
  5. jhczar

    jhczar Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2006
    Carol Stream, IL
    Try washing your hands before you play. After you're finished playing, wipe each string with a dry 100% cotton cloth, like a bandana, from bridge to nut. Make sure you wipe the bottom of the string too where all the gunk collects.

    None of this will keep your strings from wearing, but it'll remove dirt.
  6. Jiffy_Jeff

    Jiffy_Jeff Playin Tunes and Having Fun!

    Oct 4, 2005
    When I was in high school and couldn't afford to change my strings that often, I would use rubbing alcohol.

    just douse the cloth with the alcohol and rub it til clean.

    It worked pretty good and extended the life of the strings. But buying in bulk is the easiest way.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice