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View Full Version : Do you do ukulele maitenance?



Dane
04-09-2010, 02:20 PM
I was just curious, I know some people clean their instruments everytime after playing and such. I personally like a lil grunge, I think it needs a lil dirt in it (mine actually has some of my blood in the wood as well haha) But I was just wondering if maybe I should polish my fretboard every once in a while, or something, I love my uke, and I wouldn't want anything bad to happen to it. I tried to search for a topic like this but the search kept giving me "sorry - no matches"

So if you have any good maintenance tips, please share =)

thejumpingflea
04-09-2010, 02:36 PM
Microfiber cloth and little lizard spit every now and then.

haole
04-09-2010, 02:40 PM
I just scrape the food/beach salt/hand crud off the fretboard before it has time to react chemically, and put a little silicone grease on the tuners to keep them smooth and rust-free after a day at the beach.

dnewton2
04-09-2010, 03:08 PM
I wipe my ukes down with a microfiber cloth every once and a while. I recently got some fretboard conditioner from MGM and used that on my ukes, I think the 2 oz is a lifetime supply.

uke552
04-09-2010, 03:31 PM
When I change strings, I give the fretboard and uke a good cloth wipe down.

Big Bob
04-09-2010, 03:56 PM
Anybody hear of using olive oil on the fret board?To prevent it from drying out!!!

Chris Tarman
04-09-2010, 04:43 PM
I wipe them off now and then with a micro-fiber cloth, and once in a great while use some Martin guitar polish. But luckily, I am blessed with fairly non-sweaty hands. I have some friends whose hand sweat could eat through steel strings in about a half an hour. If I was one of THOSE poor souls, I would probably wipe my ukes down a lot more frequently.

heyjude
04-09-2010, 04:49 PM
Olive oil will turn rancid I believe. Any oil that you can use on a cutting board and wooden kitchen utensils will work on a fret board if you feel you must oil it. I use Fast Fret on my fingerboard when changing strings. Think about this though. Look inside your uke, bare unprotected wood. How often should the inside of a uke be oiled? About the same as a fretboard I imagine. Fingerboards do need to be cleaned or at least I feel mine do. I like that well cared for look in my instruments.

Jude

Dane
04-09-2010, 06:47 PM
The reason it came to my attention is because I pulled out my old laminate starter uke (It still sounds just as horrible by the way, none of that better with age stuff) and the fretboard looked terrible. I don't know if it had EVER been polished up at all but it just made me think about how wood doesn't like to be wet and then dry and be wet and then dry and so on and so forth. Thanks for the input guys! I think I'll try polish it up a bit soon.

paraclete
04-12-2010, 05:40 AM
Bore oil, fret doctor, lizard spit... on fretboard at every string change. Unfinished fretboards need to be oiled to keep wood from drying, cracking, and shrinking away from the frets. Wipe down finished parts with a soft cloth to remove finger prints, dust, grime.

Put a few drops of bore oil (don't use vegetable or nut oils... they will go rancid) on fret board. Rub in with 0000 steel wool with the grain of the wood. Wipe down fretboard with paper towel to remove any excess oil, grime, particles of steel wool. If you are working on an instrument with exposed pickups, such as you see on an electric guitar, take care to cover the pickups first to avoid getting any bits of the steel wool on the pickup.

arashi_nero
04-12-2010, 05:53 AM
i wipe down my uke every time i play with my microfiber cloth. i do the same thing with all my instruments, tho. i'm a clean freak like that, i guess. i've never oiled my fretboard, i probably should do that.

my question, tho. someone above said to oil the wood on the inside when you do the fretboard. how do you oil the inside of your uke?

paraclete
04-12-2010, 06:16 AM
Ack! Don't oil the inside of your instrument!

arashi_nero
04-12-2010, 06:56 AM
Ack! Don't oil the inside of your instrument!

hahaha, just going by what it said in a previous post.

GrumpyOldMan
04-12-2010, 07:03 AM
On my guitars with Rosewood fingerboards I occasionally (every few years) give them a wipe with Linseed oil. I recently bought a 1983 Tokai Jazz Bass and the Rosewood was so dry it was starting to look like it was cracking. I gave it two light coats of Linseed, allowing a few days in between to dry, and now it looks a fantastic rich dark colour. Not all guitarists approve of Linseed oil on fingerboards but it has always worked for me. I think Lemon oil is the modern preferance but there are many branded oils made especially for fingerboard use including Dunlop and Peavey.

If you have a laminated Uke maybe you also have a laminate fingerboard in which case I probably wouldn't treat it at all other than a wipe with a cloth. But that's just my thoughts.

Ian.

GrumpyOldMan
04-12-2010, 07:05 AM
hahaha, just going by what it said in a previous post.

I think you misunderstood the post. He was trying to say that your fingerboard doesn't need oiling. Oiling the inside of a Uke would kill the tone dead!

ian.

arashi_nero
04-12-2010, 08:41 AM
I think you misunderstood the post. He was trying to say that your fingerboard doesn't need oiling. Oiling the inside of a Uke would kill the tone dead!

ian.

haha. that's what i get for being a noob with "cleaning" a uke. i use linseed oil for oiling the inside of my bassoon.

Skrik
04-12-2010, 10:16 AM
On my guitars with Rosewood fingerboards I occasionally (every few years) give them a wipe with Linseed oil. I recently bought a 1983 Tokai Jazz Bass and the Rosewood was so dry it was starting to look like it was cracking. I gave it two light coats of Linseed, allowing a few days in between to dry, and now it looks a fantastic rich dark colour. Not all guitarists approve of Linseed oil on fingerboards but it has always worked for me. I think Lemon oil is the modern preferance but there are many branded oils made especially for fingerboard use including Dunlop and Peavey.

Linseed oil is a drying oil that leaves a thin coating on the wood. Lemon oil (which has nothing to do with citrus fruits) is ostensibly mineral oil, which removes stuff (grime) from wood. Each has its place in treating wood that is often handled, and they shouldn't be confused.

2ndbsn
10-08-2010, 03:48 AM
Need your advice. I just bought a Vinci concert uke second hand and it looks like it's made from good materials but the body is really dry. Feels like it wants some oil first before a wax.

Based on previous notes, silicone, linseed oil, and possibly lemon oil are out but what IS ok to use? Furniture polish? Carnauba wax? other?

Thanks in advance for your help.
Sorry for being a newbie.

Another bassoon playing ukist (or is it uker?)

Tudorp
10-08-2010, 03:55 AM
I don't do much with my acustics other than wipe them down every so often with lemon oil, unless something breaks, or effects the instrument playability. Been using lemon oils for many years. My electrics, of course I at least once a year took the knobs, covers, and pick guards all off and cleaned electrical contacts, pots and things, and made some adjustments if needed. I never did much as far as repairing "wear" on finishes etc. IMHO wear is the sign of an instrument being played as it should. Each thin, or dulled spot in a finish from wear, scratch or ding adds to the instruments history and charictoristic.

Manalishi
10-08-2010, 04:02 AM
Like most replies,I wipe down at least weekly with a
cloth,and oil fretboard occasionally,if it looks like it
needs it.

cletus
10-08-2010, 04:26 AM
I just bought a Vinci concert uke second hand and it looks like it's made from good materials but the body is really dry. Feels like it wants some oil first before a wax.

Maybe get an Oasis humidifier for your uke, and just let it get some moisture into the wood for a couple of weeks before considering the oil/wax options. I had a second hand Kamaka that I took into Acoustic Vibes for rehab, and that's where they started.

mm stan
10-08-2010, 05:26 AM
I wipe mine down after every use with a micro fiber cloth, hand a chip paint brush to get the dust off especially under the strings of the sounddboard in front of the bridge, fretboard, and
headstock. Once a year polish with Nu finish automotive polish, change strings, clean fretboard at that point with a toothbrush and towel wipe and polish frets if I have the gold ones that
tarnish...use lube on the open tuners...

Dibblet
10-08-2010, 05:55 AM
haha. that's what i get for being a noob with "cleaning" a uke. i use linseed oil for oiling the inside of my bassoon.

Ooh! Linseed isn't the best for oiling woodwind instruments. Especially the boiled variety. They are both drying oils and will leave a coating on the bore. It could build up lead to intonation issues if you use it repeatedly over a long period of time.

http://www.foxproducts.com/pdfs/BassoonBoreOiling.pdf

Vitamin E is an antioxidant. If you empty a couple of vitamin E capsules into a little olive oil it will stop it going rancid. you can add a bit of lemon oil too to make it smell nice. That's what I used on my clarinet bore for many years wiithout problems. Recently I've used the same stuff on fretboards.

sukie
10-08-2010, 07:04 AM
Anybody hear of using olive oil on the fret board?To prevent it from drying out!!!

Olive oil? Really? I wouldn't do that.

misterpk
10-08-2010, 08:06 AM
Olive oil? Really? I wouldn't do that.

I wouldn't rub olive oil on my fretboard either. Then I'd want to eat my ukulele and that would be bad. :-p

I wipe down my uke with a microfiber cloth after playing. It's a habit from guitar. I wipe it down with Martin guitar polish about once a month, and I use a fretboard solution called Guitar Honey every time I change my strings, which is about once every 2 or 3 months.

southcoastukes
10-08-2010, 08:12 AM
Bore oil, fret doctor, lizard spit... on fretboard at every string change. Unfinished fretboards need to be oiled to keep wood from drying, cracking, and shrinking away from the frets. Wipe down finished parts with a soft cloth to remove finger prints, dust, grime.

Put a few drops of bore oil (don't use vegetable or nut oils... they will go rancid) on fret board. Rub in with 0000 steel wool with the grain of the wood. Wipe down fretboard with paper towel to remove any excess oil, grime, particles of steel wool. If you are working on an instrument with exposed pickups, such as you see on an electric guitar, take care to cover the pickups first to avoid getting any bits of the steel wool on the pickup.

We love Fret Doctor (bore oil)! We have a link:

http://www.southcoastukes.com/index_files/links.htm

Ronnie Aloha
10-08-2010, 11:27 AM
Guitar Honey on the fretboard whenever I change strings. Three step Fender guitar polish kit whenever I get a second hand uke, once a year for existing ukes. This thing does wonders for older ukes.