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Ben_H
08-14-2012, 09:22 AM
I have a lovely 4 week old Pono baritone but I notice earlier today that the frets are starting to mark. There are lots of little scratches that I assume are from the strings rubbing but I'm also seeing a few discoloured patches that to my eye look like the start of corrosion. I've tried rubbing them with a cloth but it doesn't seem to remove the marks.

Any thoughts?

Skitzic
08-14-2012, 09:50 AM
Tape up the fret board and hit them with some 000 steel wool. It will clean them right up.

bazmaz
08-14-2012, 11:06 AM
It's normal - tiny bit of lighter fluid on a q tip works wonders on nickel frets. Just keep it off the wood!

Ben_H
08-14-2012, 11:13 AM
Thanks both. I still have so much to learn about these instruments!

OldePhart
08-14-2012, 12:21 PM
I have a lovely 4 week old Pono baritone but I notice earlier today that the frets are starting to mark. There are lots of little scratches that I assume are from the strings rubbing but I'm also seeing a few discoloured patches that to my eye look like the start of corrosion. I've tried rubbing them with a cloth but it doesn't seem to remove the marks.

Any thoughts?

If it's real dark be sure you aren't over-humidifying the uke. A little fret discoloration isn't unusual over time but if it's really noticeable after four weeks that would raise a flag or two for me.

It's also possible that you're one of those people with very acidic body chemistry (I have a friend who goes through guitar strings every two-three weeks on his main steel-string electric guitar). I loaned one of my electric guitars to a friend a few years ago and it came back after just a few weeks with the bridge beginning to corrode (yeah, I didn't lend him anything more after that).

You might get in the habit of wiping the neck down really well with a soft rag after each session (worn-out plain-white cotton t-shirt works great).

John

(BTW, given the choice between over-humidifying and under-humidifying I'd choose to over-humidify.)

John

mm stan
08-14-2012, 12:31 PM
Depends what the frets are made up of....I have gold frets that tarnish in a few days and makes my finger tips fretting finger black...I use metal polish ...

OldePhart
08-14-2012, 12:33 PM
Depends what the frets are made up of....I have gold frets that tarnish in a few days and makes my finger tips fretting finger black...I use metal polish ...

That would be brass...not gold... :)

Reminds me of the old story about the guy whose girl dumps him when her engagment ring turns green and turns her finger black.

John

mm stan
08-14-2012, 12:39 PM
That would be brass...not gold... :)

Reminds me of the old story about the guy whose girl dumps him when her engagment ring turns green and turns her finger black.

John
Aloha John,
Yup I know...just my brain typed it wrong, ha ha...this was an expensive custom too....I had them to match my gold tuners....2700.00 uke...sheesh...

OldePhart
08-14-2012, 01:27 PM
Aloha John,
Yup I know...just my brain typed it wrong, ha ha...this was an expensive custom too....I had them to match my gold tuners....2700.00 uke...sheesh...

Heh, heh...for that price they should have been gold - or at least gold plated :)

hmgberg
08-14-2012, 01:39 PM
Honestly, if you're using 0000 or even 000 steel wool, provided the fingerboard does not have finish on it, you don't have to tape off the fingerboard. You shouldn't have to rub hard at all to remove the discoloration, in fact, you don't want to be rubbing hard. If you are polishing the ukulele, do not polish the fingerboard. You can wipe it down and use some fingerboard oil on it occasionally if it gets dry.

Brass frets are a b*%^h for tarnishing. I have them on a few ukuleles (they seem to be on a lot of the baris made in the 1950s), and they do turn your fingers black. They are much softer than the nickel frets more often found on instruments. Stainless steel fretwire is available, but I've never used it. I hear it is hard to work with.

Most of my ukuleles have solid gold fret wire on them, though...I got it to match my teeth....just kidding, Stan:o

PhilUSAFRet
08-14-2012, 01:41 PM
If it's truly "tarnish" and not just "gunk", tape off fingerboard and judiciously apply a little TarnX with a q tip and quickly wipe. If it's gonna work, it's gonna work within a few seconds.

1931jim
08-14-2012, 01:43 PM
Thanks both. I still have so much to learn about these instruments!
Don't throw out your old tooth brushes, they come in very handy for your new quest. Isn't it fun, almost as much as playing them.

Plainsong
08-14-2012, 01:48 PM
I seem to remember that Loprinzi fretboard stuff picking up gunk on the frets themselves too. You could see the rag turning black as you cleaned the frets. It was really nice stuff. I say was, because it comes in tiny cork grease-sized cups, and mine grew legs and ran away with circus. :(

Ben_H
08-15-2012, 12:37 AM
Don't throw out your old tooth brushes, they come in very handy for your new quest. Isn't it fun, almost as much as playing them.
And you can have some bizarre, even arcane and totally fascinating conversations with complete strangers! :)

Marks are a grey/white colour and I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't been (very lightly) oiling the fret board with bore oil as it was quite dry when it arrived. It also gives me something else to do rather than strum when the tennis elbow is bad.

I'm not humidifying as didn't think it was necessary for the UK climate.

mm stan
08-15-2012, 01:50 AM
Heh, heh...for that price they should have been gold - or at least gold plated :)

Yup John I got ripped off....did not have the heart to tell him I hated the frets and to change them...yeah I know he who don't speak up gets burned...LOL

@ howie... with my luck, the dentist would give me brass fillings..ha ha to match my frets....

AndrewKuker
08-15-2012, 02:25 AM
All you need is OOOO steel wool. Nothing else. Loosen the strings, maybe tape them off at the soundhole to expose the frets if you dont feel like taking them off, and rub that sucker, fretboard and all. You'll be lookin' at new frets in no time.