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dirk.li
04-28-2009, 04:16 AM
A friend of mine who is an electric guitarist gave me a packet of "Dunlop System 65 Guitar Maintenance Kit". Inside are 5 bottles/sprays you can use to clean & conserve the surface and fretboard of your instrument.

While one of the detergents is only for steel strings (I'll try it on my RISA electric tenor), the others seem to be applicable for nylon-stringed ukes, too! One for example is for cleaning the fretboard (01 Fingerboard Cleaner & Prep), another for oiling it (02 Fingerboard Deep Conditioner).

Then there is "65 Guitar Polish & Cleaner" and "65 Cream of Carnauba". I wonder if I could use the "Cream of Carnauba" also for my fretboard? I've read somewhere that fretboards are oiled AND WAXED. Do you know anything about it?

I wonder what products YOU are using to care for your ukulele. Maybe there is even a special combination of products you would suggest?

I will try out the "Dunlop System 65 Kit" and let you know what I think about it in this thread. (I guess the bottles can also be purchased singly). Please share your experience with maintenance products here!!

I hope this thread is of any interest to you... :D

Take care and keep uke'ing, :rock:
Dirk

UkuEroll
04-28-2009, 08:29 AM
Spit and polish :-)

dirk.li
04-28-2009, 12:42 PM
Spit and polish :-)

Yuk!!! :eek:

Brotha, I'm serious... :D

mailman
05-04-2009, 02:54 PM
I'm glad I tried the "search" feature first..... I was just getting ready to ask for advice about uke maintenance myself!

I'm usually not good at routine maintenance of any kind. But I'd like to know what's recommended for my uke. I own one Kala KA-SC laminate, and a soon-to-arrive solid wood (Sapele mahogany) uke.

My Kala usually (okay, make that always) just lays in the open case on the floor next to my chair. I'm sure I'm accumulating more dust than I should, but if I put it away, or close the case, I might not practice as I should.

What should I be doing routinely to care for my uke(s)?

buddhuu
05-04-2009, 11:53 PM
[...]

What should I be doing routinely to care for my uke(s)?

* Handle with care
* Play regularly!
* Wipe down after playing
* Keep in the case if there are kids or pets in the house.
* If you keep it in the case, latch the lid or someone will pick up the case thinking it's securely closed
* Keep uke and case out of direct sun and away from radiators/heaters and hot cars
* Avoid sudden or extreme changes in humidity or temperature (a humudity meter is a worthwhile purchase. Most string instruments seem fairly happy with humidity between 40% and 60%. If things go very far outside that range you might want to take steps to adjust the environment). Instruments will settle happily at higher and lower humidities, but they don't like sudden or frequent substantial changes
* If you have to use polishes (and many luthiers discourage it), avoid polishes containing silicone, go for beeswax with minimal added oils and apply sparingly and rarely
* Lubricate geared tuners very occasionally and lightly (Tri-Flow or similar is good for that)

Polishes and oils are, IMO, rarely really necessary. If you live somewhere very dry then fretboard oil might be a wise thing to apply, occasionally. Too much oil or polish can encourage build-up of residues.

Here's a good thread on silicones in polish and the reasons to avoid.

http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?p=660281#post660281

Paul, Hans and many of the people posting there are very experienced and respected luthiers - although they build mostly guitars and mandolins...

Jroby
05-05-2009, 05:57 PM
i leave my uke in my car alot, and it gets really hot.

How bad will my uke be affected?

Bradford
05-05-2009, 06:08 PM
As mentioned before in previous threads, that is a really bad idea. Luthiers use heat to disassemble instruments. Titebond, a popular glue, starts to fail around 130 degrees F. Hide glue and LMI instrument glue is a little better, but you risk coming back to your car and finding your uke in pieces.

Brad

buddhuu
05-05-2009, 11:06 PM
i leave my uke in my car alot, and it gets really hot.

How bad will my uke be affected?

Yeh, probably best to stop doing that! :D If you got away with it so far, quit while you're ahead. :shaka:

Even if you don't get a catastrophic joint failure, or cracking, or warping, you could still see some more subtle damage - cracks in the finish, gradual movement of neck or bridge (like Aldrine had on his uke).

Most acoustic string instruments aren't really built for extreme conditions. ;)

dirk.li
05-06-2009, 03:49 AM
Hello everybody,

as I said before when opening the thread, I got a "Dunlop System 65 Guitar Maintenance Kit" which is originally meant for guitars with steel strings. I have used it on two of my ukes (a Mele Koa Tenor and Kala Color Concert -white) now and I'm very pleased with the results!

Well, first let me list the items of the Maintenenace Kit:
01 Fingerboard Cleaner & Prep (spray)
02 Fingerboard Deep Conditioner (oily substance, smells a bit like lemon)
03 Guitar Polish & Cleaner (spray)
04 Cream of Carnauba (creamy-waxy stuff - small amounts go a long way)
05 String Cleaner & Conditioner (for steel strings only - haven't used this one)
06 Two cotton cloths
07 Fret Polishing cloth

First let me tell you that I have in mind to clean my ukes as described below every time I change the strings.
In my case that means 2 to 3 months intervalls when I play the instrument often. Maybe even 4 months.

So here's what I did... (it seems to be a lot, but it's rather simple!)
(a)
I removed the strings from the instrument and sprayed the Fingerboard Cleaner (01) on the fretboard, then I let the liquid evaporate (as suggested in the instructions). My Mele uke is new but it seems to have been stored a long time at the shop. I noticed that the spray really dissolved dirt on the fretboard that I could then wipe away with a soft cotton cloth (the cloth is included in the kit). I repeated this procedure twice, until the cloth stayed clean.

(b)
I used the fret polishing cloth to "restore the lustre to the frets" (it says so in the instructions...) It works pretty well, I got them nice and shiny!

(c)
Agent No. (2) is some kind of oil to nourish the wood of the fretboard. It smells pleasantly like lemon. (There's probably lemon oil included?!) You apply it evenly between the frets and let it soak in for 20 minutes, then wipe away the residual stuff. Before I applied this stuff, the fretboard looked a bit "dry" and "dull". After the treatment, the wood looked dark and "healthy" again.

(d)
Although it was not written in the instructions, I spread a little "Cream of Canauba" wax on the fretboard, waited a couple of seconds for the wax to dry and then buffed off the haze to a shine. It seemed a good idea to me to put something on the fretboard to conserve the wood for some time. The instructions say: "Cream of Carnauba will protect the finish of your guitar for up to 30 days if you play everyday."

(e)
Bottle (03) contains a liquid that reminds me on windows cleaning spray. It seems to have an antistatic effect and removes fingerstains and other grease from the body of the instrument. Instructions say you should apply it every time you play. I guess that's a little exaggerated and in this case, a damp cloth followed by a dry one will probably also do the job. I think that this liquid (03) is not so important. I think it's important to clean the body of your instrument thoroughly before applying any wax though (see step f below).

(f)
Last thing I did was applying the Cream of Carnauba (04) to the body of the instrument. You spread the stuff, let it dry and then buff it to a shine. This procedure obviously adds a very thin layer of wax which is meant to protect the wood. The effect could be best seen on matte varnish which becomes a little more shiny after the treatment and which feels a little "waxy". I believe this is good for protecting the surface of the uke and it also adds some shine to parts of matte varnish. It smells good, too.

After this, the uke really looks like new, it shines and looks and feels clean when you play! :shaka: After trying this stuff I have decided to do it every time I change strings, probably every 4 months or so.

(And no, I'm not working for "Dunlop", I guess there are similar products on the market and when this maintenance kit is used up, I'll try out another one and share my experience with you.)

Take care and have fun uke'ing!! :music:

Yours,
Dirk.li

ukulelehoo
09-18-2009, 02:17 PM
* Handle with care
* Play regularly!
* Wipe down after playing
* Keep in the case if there are kids or pets in the house.
* If you keep it in the case, latch the lid or someone will pick up the case thinking it's securely closed
* Keep uke and case out of direct sun and away from radiators/heaters and hot cars
* Avoid sudden or extreme changes in humidity or temperature (a humudity meter is a worthwhile purchase. Most string instruments seem fairly happy with humidity between 40% and 60%. If things go very far outside that range you might want to take steps to adjust the environment). Instruments will settle happily at higher and lower humidities, but they don't like sudden or frequent substantial changes
* If you have to use polishes (and many luthiers discourage it), avoid polishes containing silicone, go for beeswax with minimal added oils and apply sparingly and rarely
* Lubricate geared tuners very occasionally and lightly (Tri-Flow or similar is good for that)

Polishes and oils are, IMO, rarely really necessary. If you live somewhere very dry then fretboard oil might be a wise thing to apply, occasionally. Too much oil or polish can encourage build-up of residues.

Here's a good thread on silicones in polish and the reasons to avoid.

http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?p=660281#post660281

Paul, Hans and many of the people posting there are very experienced and respected luthiers - although they build mostly guitars and mandolins...

Some people have said that Dunlop 65 contains silicones, but I cannot verify this because I cannot find the MSDS. People on this same thread: (http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?t=50678&page=2) said they spoke to a Dunlop rep who confirmed it contains silicone.

cocohonk
09-30-2009, 07:17 AM
I'm curious - can I use LCD cleaner (this - www.screenprotector.net) to polish/clean a glossy uke? I mean, since it doesn't scratch things like computer monitors, camera lens and CD/DVDs.

Or am I being crazy because it's obvious that it'll eat away at the wood or damage it somehow?

ETA: Oh wait. There's silicone in this. What does this mean?

ukulelehoo
10-07-2009, 03:31 PM
I'm curious - can I use LCD cleaner (this - www.screenprotector.net) to polish/clean a glossy uke? I mean, since it doesn't scratch things like computer monitors, camera lens and CD/DVDs.

Or am I being crazy because it's obvious that it'll eat away at the wood or damage it somehow?

ETA: Oh wait. There's silicone in this. What does this mean?

It means, if you ever need to refinish or repair your uke, you would run into problems. Silicone is difficult to remove, and gets itself into cracks, small places, on the fretboard, etc. and if the uke needs to be repainted or refinished after repairs, the finish, lacquer etc will have difficulty sticking to the surface.

If you read through some of the links posted, you will find more info.

dirk.li
10-08-2009, 03:19 AM
Hey guys,

I've followed this interesting discussion and I see why using products that contain silicone is bad :eek: for future instrument repairs! I never thought about this aspect before...

Now, my remaining questions are:

1
Does "Dunlop System 65 Guitar Maintenance Kit" contain silicone, yes or no? And how could I possibly find out? (Should I continue using the stuff or just dump it in the trash?)

2
What about oiling the fretboard? (e.g. with lemon oil) Is that ok? Some of my ukes (the cheaper ones mostly) arrived with a very dry fretboard (I didn't buy them from MGM - his ukes are always in perfect condition!).
The fretboard just looked really dry! And I was scared that it might develop cracks...

Nuprin
10-08-2009, 03:56 AM
I work in a music store and whenever we polish up guitars, we use Dunlop Formula 65 polish & cleaner for the body and Ernie Ball Wonder Wipes fretboard conditioner for the fretboard.

ukulelehoo
10-08-2009, 05:14 PM
Hey guys,

I've followed this interesting discussion and I see why using products that contain silicone is bad :eek: for future instrument repairs! I never thought about this aspect before...

Now, my remaining questions are:

1
Does "Dunlop System 65 Guitar Maintenance Kit" contain silicone, yes or no? And how could I possibly find out? (Should I continue using the stuff or just dump it in the trash?)

2
What about oiling the fretboard? (e.g. with lemon oil) Is that ok? Some of my ukes (the cheaper ones mostly) arrived with a very dry fretboard (I didn't buy them from MGM - his ukes are always in perfect condition!).
The fretboard just looked really dry! And I was scared that it might develop cracks...

From one of my previous posts on this thread which included a link: as of April 2009 (this is not from personal experience), Dunlop 65 system does have silicone (this was confirmed by two Dunlop reps), unless they have changed their formulation since then, I wouldn't use it.

http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?t=50678&page=2

Someone in that thread posted Martin polish does not have silicone, but I have read other threads that say otherwise.

As for lemon oil on the fretboard, I have read that many people use it and commercial fretboard conditioners contain lemon oil. I would suggest you do your own internet research and not rely on my info.

Sigmund
10-09-2009, 12:55 AM
A modern factory finish is essentially a plastic coating over the outer surface of the wood. So long as it is intact, it doesn't really matter what you use to clean or polish it. The problem comes in with those words "so long a it is intact" any gaps or crazing in the finish, at the neck joint, at seams or just where you sat it down a little too hard on the concrete stoop, will open the pores of the wood to whatever you apply. As there are always such imperfections in the surface it's best to avoid anything that might seep into the cracks and soak in to the wood. Ii once lemon oiled an old Gibson guitar and could see the staining around all the surface crazing for months after.

Someone once suggerstd to me that Windex, sprayed on a rag, was a good way to clean the surface and let the finish shine on its own. I've used it on occasion and it does work, but I've always been suspicious of the effect of the ammonia. We used to use Xylene on rosin encrusted violin tops. It would disolve the build up and not attack the old spirit varnish. Again, it's a pretty strong solvent and I was always a bit concerned using it.

ukulelehoo
10-09-2009, 05:57 PM
Be careful with Xylene! I work in a laboratory and though not listed as carcinogenic, it has been implicated in cancer in animals.

Doc_J
10-26-2009, 08:53 AM
If lemon oil isn't to be used on fret boards, what do you all suggest?

About how often should it be oiled (or just when it looks dry).

RevWill
10-26-2009, 10:20 AM
At Ankno Honu's recommendation I have been using Howard Feed n Wax with very satisfying results. Just when it looks dry.

Doc_J
10-26-2009, 10:51 AM
At Ankno Honu's recommendation I have been using Howard Feed n Wax with very satisfying results. Just when it looks dry.

RevWill,

Is this the first time you have treated the frets?

How long had you been playing the uke before the fretboard started to look dry?

I'm trying to get an idea of about when to start thinking about it (just a new quality uke last Friday, and what to take good care of it :D).

Thanks.

NewMexicoDawG
10-26-2009, 02:43 PM
So I should toss the polishing towel I have because I used dunlop 65 on it?What do I use to polish then??

Doc_J
11-01-2009, 07:32 PM
If Howard Feed-N-Wax is good for the fret board is it OK for the rest of the uke wood? It says it has bees wax, carnuba wax, and orange oil. Claims it is good for all finishes and natural wood! It specifically says it does not contain silicone or linseed oil.

I tried and it's seem fine, it did an especially good job on the fret board. My fret board was pretty dry.

Doc_J
11-01-2009, 07:34 PM
So I should toss the polishing towel I have because I used dunlop 65 on it?What do I use to polish then??

I use an old cotton, well-worn (out) t-shirt.

uluapoundr
11-11-2009, 10:50 PM
If your uke has a Nitrocellulose finish, stay away from any product with silicone, it not only may fill the poors but cause a haze in the finish. Find a guitar polish that says specifically "silicone free" or that it's safe for Nitro finishes. Wax can make a Nitro finish shine, but wax can build up in time. Wax also attracts dirt, which then can scratch your finish. As for cloths, like the others said, microfiber cloths work well. So does the soft felt ones sold for guitars, but I find those tend to leave balls of lint, especially when wiping the frets.