maple vs. rosewood fretboard care

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maple vs. rosewood fretboard care

Post by anaerobe on Wed May 13, 2009 10:29 am

Hey all,

My x70 is the only maple neck/fretboard guitar in my pile. The neck plays great, but I have a specific question about maintenance.

When I am ressurecting an older axe, I like to use lemon oil on the rosewood fretboards - let them soak it up til they can't take any more. I've heard of other light oils that are OK - almond or walnut oil for example. Lemon smells better IMHO. Smile

So does maple need/like the stuff too? Any thoughts are appreciated.

Ian

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Re: maple vs. rosewood fretboard care

Post by Guest on Wed May 13, 2009 10:53 am

Hi Ian, Smile

I use Lem-oil on maple fretboards just the same way as I do on rosewood ones. Obviously because they are varnished, they don't soak up the oil the same way but it still nourishes the wood.

Pauline
:flower: :queen:

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Re: maple vs. rosewood fretboard care

Post by Barry on Wed May 13, 2009 11:35 am

Hi again Ian,
I prefer a rosewood fretboard, never been much for maple.
It's kinda like the recent debates over DVD standards. Some always push one preference over the other as far as playability or "feel".

But as to conditioning, yes, a light oiling is usually needed on rosewood/ebony because they're essentially open grain and exposed and tend to dry out. But from what I understand about maple necks, they are "finished" (sealed) and normally don't need such treatment. If the surface is intact I doubt that oil would do anything other than to make everything a slimy mess and a headache to clean up afterward.

If on the other hand you're looking at heavy use and spot wear, accompanied by dirty smudging (another reason I dislike clear maple--yuk! tongue ), the raw exposed wood should be lightly cleaned with naptha, and then you can try the oil treatment or possibly a good quality hard wax would be better.

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Re: maple vs. rosewood fretboard care

Post by anaerobe on Wed May 13, 2009 12:13 pm

Thanks Polly and Barry,

:idea: :idea: :idea: - I'll use the lemon oil on the neck and carry on with the (natural - finish) body as well.

Naptha eh? Barry... I realize its a killer organic solvent Twisted Evil but do you like it because of its volatility? I guess it dries ASAP after a quick wipe down.

Barry: (or anyone?) have you ever tried methanol or isopropanol as a cleaner? the volatility and lipophilicity (read - oil and grease remover) of the stuff is way up there - and I would guess that the alcohol-class agents have reduced potential as a carcinogen vs. naptha.

Caveat emptor - I haven't tried any of 'em, but I will experiment this evening.

Again, mucho gracias.

Ian

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Re: maple vs. rosewood fretboard care

Post by Barry on Wed May 13, 2009 4:31 pm

anaerobe wrote:Naptha eh? Barry... I realize its a killer organic solvent but do you like it because of its volatility?
Yeah. It blows up re-e-a-l good!

anaerobe wrote:I guess it dries ASAP after a quick wipe down.
That is correct grasshopper. Be sure honorable guitar is well ventilated or outside before slathering it on or we'll be taking up a collection for the anaerobe memorial fund!

I have also had lighter fluid recommended to me! Probably won't blow up as well but should make a hell of a shish kabob! (Also very smelly)

anaerobe wrote:have you ever tried methanol or isopropanol as a cleaner?
the volatility and lipophilicity (read - oil and grease remover) of the
stuff is way up there - and I would guess that the alcohol-class agents
have reduced potential as a carcinogen vs. naptha.

Never tried either one on wood, but I have used isopropanol alcohol on all kinds of de-greasing activities and electronics cleanups. Works fine for that. Dunno what drying effect it would have on the wood though.

anaerobe wrote:I'll use the lemon oil on the neck and carry on with the (natural - finish) body as well.
Everybody's high on lemon oil. Even my Guyanese wife whom I cannot convince to stop putting it on my waxed antique wood furniture! Wood that's finished with something like Trewax does not need oil--it just sits there collecting dust!

'Course she also puts oil on arborite and other plastic finished pieces.
What's the deal with that??? (sigh)


Last edited by Barry on Wed May 13, 2009 4:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: maple vs. rosewood fretboard care

Post by anaerobe on Wed May 13, 2009 4:35 pm

Thanks. Will go with the meths/lemon oil later on today.

Ian

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Re: maple vs. rosewood fretboard care

Post by corsair on Wed May 13, 2009 10:38 pm

anaerobe wrote:Thanks. Will go with the meths/lemon oil later on today.

Ian

Umm... cleaning it the old fashioned way with elbow grease, an old toothbrush and warm mildly soapy water works as well, guys?! Laughing

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Re: maple vs. rosewood fretboard care

Post by Barry on Thu May 14, 2009 9:05 am

Umm... cleaning it the old fashioned way with elbow grease, an old toothbrush and warm mildly soapy water works as well, guys?!
Aww, John where's the fun in that?
Nuthin' to go BOOM!
Besides, you could put an eye out with that thing! pirat

(truth told...I almost always use an old toothbrush for cleaning just about everything on guitars--but soap and water on wood!? Oh the horror!)

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Re: maple vs. rosewood fretboard care

Post by anaerobe on Thu May 14, 2009 11:18 am

Report: The methanol and lemon oil worked like a charm on the x 70. I will take new pics when I find the time. The skuzz basically wipes away with the first pass.

Actually, John, I did just that on the Mule's (Vantage's) fretboard - it smelled like it had lived in a bar for about a decade, soaking up all that good tar. Laughing
(The Mule now is harnessed to a SD '59 neck p/up, essentially a PAF-style pickup. I spent part of last evening soldering it in. The sound is kind of muddy on the dirtiest settings, but is really sweet for clean pickin').

Soap and water works fine...I think as long as one is able to wipe everything off between applications this (soap/water) is a great method.

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Re: maple vs. rosewood fretboard care

Post by colt933 on Thu May 14, 2009 11:24 am

anaerobe wrote:The sound is kind of muddy on the dirtiest settings, but is really sweet for clean pickin'

Experiment with different values for your volume and tone pots. A 1M Ohm volume pot will brighten things up nicely and get rid of some of that mud. But with your maple fretboard I would think that it would be bright no matter what.

You can also experiment with pickup height and individual pole piece height.

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Re: maple vs. rosewood fretboard care

Post by anaerobe on Thu May 14, 2009 11:49 am

Thanks! Great stuff... much appreciated. The "mud" is with my other Mats guitar a.k.a. the Mule - which is a 1986 Vantage Avenger.

The maple necked Westone x70 is far less muddy.

But I will use your advice. Cool

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