View Full Version : oops - lemon oil

04-18-2011, 11:02 PM
Hi all,

After a bit of a search I found some lemon oil today at a music shop. Brand is Kwik Fret, and it contains 'pure lemon and organic oils'. It is so thin and volatile it almost creeps out of the bottle and up your arms.

Well, to cut a long story short, I followed the directions and applied a little bit to a clean cloth (I used a microfibre cleaning cloth) and applied it (ahem) sparingly to the fret board of my Makala. Well everything within six inches of the cloth soon got a bit of an oil smear on it, and before I knew where I was going with it I'd oiled the fret board (which smeared the neck), then the neck (which smeared the back), the back (which smeared the sides), the sides (which smeared the front and then I thought it's too late to back out now and I did the front and the headstock to boot.

Does anyone know if lemon oil has a detrimental effect on nylgut strings? I didn't take them off first, so I guess I oiled the strings too. Oh, and the bridge, I oiled the bridge.

On the plus side, the uke has never looked better. I went over the whole thing with a dry cloth to removed all surplus oil (ha - that's a joke). Now I'm letting it suck in a bit before I give it a strum later on today. I'll wear an old cotton tee shirt when I play it and maybe that will help get rid of any more residual oil. I don't have cotton gloves, but I guess they would be a good idea as well.

It's amazing how much oil gets sucked up into a microfibre cloth.

04-18-2011, 11:09 PM
My guess is you can't really hurt a Makala.

I sprayed the snot out of my Epiphone Pee Wee electric guitar's fretboard with a Fast Fret type of speed/ string lube spray after I'd cleaned all the munge off it with bottled lemon oil for violins (it was used) and polished up the frets, and it went from being almost unplayable from being so gunked up to so fast and slick it was like a little air guitar. It said do the back of the neck too, rub on, wipe off.

Probably won't hurt the strings too much but they're only Aquilas. Bet you now have the fastest Makala in town!

04-19-2011, 12:07 AM
Darn right I have the fastest Makala in town. I can hardly hold it still. The oil is gone for all intents and purposes, and still the neck is slippery as an eel, and the strings just slide out under the fingers as the bumpity bump of frets goes by.

If I was a songwriter I'd be writing a song about my old car right now, a 1982 Mercedes Benz (Benny the Benz) cruising on up the main road to Adelaide from the North West 'burbs. Something using a C power chord (0033), C7 something (0011), F G7. But modesty inhibits, and the lack of talent makes for a raucous, if well-oiled slick, session.

04-19-2011, 01:17 AM
The oil won't hurt the strings. The biggest problem with oil on strings of any sort is that it collects dust, which abrades the strings more. This will also make some parts of the string sticky. The oil will collect in the grooves of any wound string, too.

Products with cleaners like ammonia will hurt strings (and wood), but not natural oils. Best to simply clean them off after oiling the fretboard.

Hippie Dribble
04-19-2011, 01:55 AM
g'day Bruce

mate, that was a fantastic read! Have you ever thought of a career in short story writing! :p Honestly, can't offer any (constructive) advice... I've got a bottle of lemon oil that I've had sitting here for over a year, but still haven't had the guts to even consider using it, so I'll be interested to follow this thread too. I give you 9.9 for courage and a 10 for self deprecation! My knowledge of oil doesn't extend far past the lavender massage oil eugenie keeps on her bedside table... :)

mm stan
04-19-2011, 04:08 AM
Cleaners never hurted my fretboard...

04-19-2011, 05:10 AM
I'd recommend oiling your fretboard everytime you change your strings.

04-19-2011, 05:40 AM
Your good on the strings. I don't think the oils do anything bad on the finish of the uke either.

I usually put a dab of the oil on a soft rag and wipe down my entire uke. It shines it up really nicely and gets all the body oils and grime off.

04-19-2011, 07:03 AM
A good lemon oil will penetrate unfinished wood (like rosewood, etc. fretboards) and protect it. When you get it on finished wood though it does seem to multiply, and multiply, and multiply.

Won't hurt anything though, at least it never has on any of my instruments.


04-19-2011, 08:15 AM
I guess this is one way to become a "slick" player.
I use lemon oil and have learned to use very sparingly.

04-19-2011, 08:29 AM
Lemon Oil makes my Aquilias Squeek when I pick them.

04-19-2011, 05:30 PM
:p I put lemon oil on my wife and it made her squeak!

I love the stuff and put it on everything!

Hippie Dribble
04-19-2011, 06:38 PM
:p I put lemon oil on my wife and it made her squeak!

I love the stuff and put it on everything!

:biglaugh: oooooh you're naughty...now beeehaaaave

04-25-2011, 12:32 PM
@brucemoffatt...You had me chucklin' reading this...omg, you do have a way with words! I could totally see this happening to me...I'm currently searching past posts for info on cleaning "vintage grunge" off my two old ukes. I think I messed up as I initially used some rubbing alcohol on the camp uke and may have stripped some of its finish off. Sigh...note to self...do a bit of research first and then tackle the task. Oy! Anywho...Thanks for the info and laughs.