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Need recommendation for a good fretboard oil


Can anyone recommend a real "oil" for rosewood fretboards? It doesn't have to be a guitar-specific product, but I want something that will actually nourish/moisturize my rosewood fretboards without leaving a sticky residue or waxy-type build-up.

I have been using Formby's Lemmon Oil Treatment on my rosewood boards for a while. There's actually no lemon oil in this product...it contain aliphatic hydrocarbons. It cleans the boards well but I don't think adds anything to the wood.

Also, I have a few guitars with lighter colored boards (pao ferro, rosewood, and baked maple) that look sort of dry. I would like a product that will moisturize the wood so-to-speak, and maybe darken the color a bit.

Any suggestions??

Thanks all...


Gold Supporting Member
I use Petros. It seems to work really well. Its what they use on their $20,000 acoustics....


Silver Supporting Member
I use raw linseed oil available at art supply stores. One can will last a lifetime.

Before treatment, and after being oiled and a few months of playing.



Silver Supporting Member
I use the Gerlitz Guitar Honey. It's the exact same thing as the Planet Waves stuff in the spray bottle, not in the 'squeeze' bottle and the Planet Waves stuff is $2 cheaper at my local stores.

I'd give the Fret Doctor stuff a go though.


Is there a difference between painter's raw linseed oil and food-grade flax oil?
Linseed Oil Versus Flaxseed Oil

The main difference between linseed oil and flaxseed oil is defined by the method of extraction used processing the seed oils. There are two versions of the pressing processes one by using heat and the other by using cold temperatures during the solvent extraction of the seed oils. Heat and treatment with chemicals is used to produce linseed oil. Unprocessed, raw or what is called cold pressed linseed oil, is what traditionally is known as flaxseed oil. Because of the heating process used linseed oil is not safe to be eaten, while flaxseed oil can be consumed and is used as a natural supplement for dieting.

Most people can distinguish these two oils based on their coloring visually. Linseed oil is usually a dark amber color. It is also has a very distinct odor when smelled. Flaxseed oil is generally gold in color. In contrast, it is nearly devoid of taste or smell. If unsure, it is best to go by this visual distinction and be cautious not to ingest either one unnecessarily.



When I spent more than I could afford on my Martin HD-28, I called them and asked what to use. The answer was Dr Ducks Axe Wax. It has served me well for six years so far. My luthier is always pleased with how well I take care of all 12 guitars. I would also reach for Petros if available. Have a great day.


Can anyone recommend a real "oil" for rosewood fretboards? It doesn't have to be a guitar-specific product, but I want something that will actually nourish/moisturize my rosewood fretboards without leaving a sticky residue or waxy-type build-up.
No oils actually nourish/moisturize rosewood fretboards. It's not necessary to do that. Moisturization (hydration) takes place naturally through the humidity level in the air (ideal is 45-50% at around 70 degrees). Oil doesn't (and couldn't) do that. Nor is there any requirement for nourishment or "replacement of vital oils" with a rosewood or ebony fretboard. Both fretboard woods have all the oils they're every going to need, and can last hundreds of years without ever having a drop of oil placed on them.

Oil is used for two reasons: as a barrier to keep liquid moisture (as opposed to moisture vapor) off the wood and to keep acids and fats from sweat from attacking the wood -- and as a cosmetic fix for dry looking boards.

Mineral oil is all you'll ever need, and is probably the cheapest thing you can use. You do NOT want something that will "soak into" the wood deeper, nor do you want oil to "soak in" overnight. It will leech right back out again and ruin a perfectly good set of new strings. Apply it lightly and wipe it off within a few minutes and you're good to go.

Forget stuff like Fret Doctor and other expensive concoctions. None of them help your fretboards in any significant way. All they do is take money out of your pocket. You might want to avoid raw linseed oil. It's actually a wood finish (almost like a wiping varnish) and in some cases will never dry and will just leave you with a sticky mess. Taylor guitars' Bob Taylor has stated that if you MUST use linseed oil, use it once. Don't use it for about two years after that. Then use it one more time, and don't use it again for ten years after that. If you need particulars, ask him; he's always good about answering emails. That was posted in Taylor's owner's news magazine, Wood & Steel.

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