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View Full Version : Have you cleaned your uke lately?



Nickie
06-30-2014, 06:39 AM
I supposed there is already a thread or two about this....and I don't normally tout products.....unless...I find something that I think is awesome....
Tammy came home with a kit by MusicNomad, called the Premium Guitar Care System....three bottles of stuff....I assumed she bought it for her beautiful guitars...but she suggested I clean my ukes with it (were they dirty???)
I had been feeling sorry for my old work uke, it was just sitting in the spare bedroom looking sad....so I dragged it out and loosened the strings (now it won't stay in tune, another issue).
I cleaned it all off with the ONE product, which sprays on...it looked better right away....well life got in the way, so it sat for a few days, then I tried the Guitar Polish on all but the fretboard....wow, it darkened the wood, and shined it up beautifully! It almost looks like a different uke! Then I used Lemon oil on the fretboard, which was so dry I'm surprised the frets hadn't popped out....and wow....I could swear the uke sounds better!
I can't wait to take it out on the boat tomorrow to play at a memorial service....
Anyway, if your uke is looking kinda sorry, don't go buy a new one right away....try this, or something like it, out first! A little elbow grease works wonders with the right product!

Teek
06-30-2014, 06:56 AM
I had Virtuoso recommended by a luthier for my c. 1940 Martin Style 3 when I got it, as it was a filthy mess. I used both the cleaner and the polish, but the polish alone will clean light soiling and people scum off the surface. I have since used it on two other tenors and it really does a nice job. Yes the instruments can get grungy so slowly we may not notice how much until they are clean again!

peaceweaver3
06-30-2014, 10:49 AM
How do you know when cleaning might be a good idea? Can it be a seasonal/string change event, or are there other guidelines? I'm kind of ashamed to admit I've had a lot of instruments over the years, but never cleaned any except the whistles and recorders.

OldePhart
06-30-2014, 01:27 PM
I will wipe mine down occasionally. When I change strings I almost always give them a good coat of Renaissance Wax everywhere, including fretboard. The ren wax doesn't make satin finishes too shiny (it will bring up the grain a little) and it only darkens a light Koa fretboard very slightly.

A guy I had make me some native american flutes turned me on to the Renaissance Wax. I'd asked what he could do to give me a natural wood look but protected - he said for customers that want that he doesn't use any oil or varnish on the outside of the uke, just the ren wax.

I've got cedar flutes that I've had for ten years with no finish but ren wax and no cracks (knock on wood).

John

OldePhart
06-30-2014, 01:30 PM
How do you know when cleaning might be a good idea? Can it be a seasonal/string change event, or are there other guidelines? I'm kind of ashamed to admit I've had a lot of instruments over the years, but never cleaned any except the whistles and recorders.

It's generally not necessary to clean fretted instruments unless you play with dirty hands or have very oily or acidic skin. I like to keep fretboards conditioned so that's the only real reason I bother cleaning them, and then only at string changes which might be twice a year on ukes where I use fluorocarbon strings.

Now, instruments with metal parts (electric guitar bridges for example) - I have to clean and wax them more often to prevent corrosion.

bborzell
07-01-2014, 03:18 PM
Nearly all of the high end finish systems get the occasional review claiming that the product left a cloudy finish that was either difficult or impossible to correct. In my view, the more complex and proprietary the formulation, the greater the chance of a reaction with the multitude of finish formulas being used for ukes and other stringed instruments today.

What might be more important than finding the "right" cleaner is simply wiping the instrument down with a good quality micro fiber rag after each use.

KnowsPickin
07-01-2014, 03:35 PM
While it is not as important with nylon strings, it is a good idea to wipe down your instrument each time you play. Believe it or not, the oils in your skin are slightly acidic which can mar your finish over time. If any of your strings are wound, these oils can freduce string life. But just a quick wipe down with a soft cloth each time does wonders.

I've got mandolins and guitars that I've had for well over 20 years that still look almost like new. The only wear I want to see is occasional picking marks or fret wear.

Ukejenny
07-01-2014, 03:38 PM
I wipe down the ukuleles quite often. I have acidic hands that can go through nickel keys pretty quick. I have rags with every single instrument I own and keep it on me like a napkin. When I'm not playing, I'm wiping.

I really need to condition my fretboards.

Ukuleleblues
07-04-2014, 03:36 PM
I try to, but get in a hurry cause I end up changing strings under duress (gig tomorrow, nicks, got home late, etc). I've discovered I have started to "drool" when I play. Gee I hope no one notices. Doesn't affect the sound best I can tell. :)

Shorebird
07-08-2014, 07:25 AM
While it is not as important with nylon strings, it is a good idea to wipe down your instrument each time you play. Believe it or not, the oils in your skin are slightly acidic which can mar your finish over time. If any of your strings are wound, these oils can freduce string life. But just a quick wipe down with a soft cloth each time does wonders.

I've got mandolins and guitars that I've had for well over 20 years that still look almost like new. The only wear I want to see is occasional picking marks or fret wear.

A old banjo player told me to wipe down my banjos after every use and to make sure i ran a soft cloth over and under the strings

mm stan
07-08-2014, 08:30 AM
While alot may not believe me, I think a cleaner uke resonates better.... try to play your uke and then polish it and play it again and listen
it does have a significant difference to me...and better with new strings as well... I like Nu finish enuff sed

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-08-2014, 08:39 AM
While alot may not believe me, I think a cleaner uke resonates better.... try to play your uke and then polish it and play it again and listen

There may be some truth in that, but I believe that it is more likely due to the fact that you are exciting the wood cells, getting the instrument "warmed up" as it were. I've heard of guitarists doing a similar routine before going on stage.

Paul December
07-08-2014, 08:44 AM
I heard excessively cleaning your uke will make hair grow on your palms! :eek:

peaceweaver3
07-09-2014, 04:43 PM
This thread has been interesting, thanks for the replies. I do whipe down the uke after playing. I don't mind now but when I started it was like taking the uke out of a case - seemed like a pain and not worth it. Fortunately people change! :D I like John's wax idea, as it might be easier to apply than oil or other liquid. Has anyone else used a wax product?

jcarlos
07-09-2014, 06:02 PM
I need to start doing this. Will any cloth work or does it have to be a special cloth, like microfiber? I wouldn't want to damage the finish

fretie
07-09-2014, 06:45 PM
At the end of yesterday's workshop with Kimo Hussey, Kimo took a beautiful clothe out of his glossy heavy duty uke case and give his uke a careful and thorough polish before putting the instrument away.

Phluffy the Destroyer
07-09-2014, 07:16 PM
Thanks to one of the guys in my uke group, I've gotten in the habit of conditioning fret boards with a product called "Lizard Spit" when I change strings. Other than that I just try to keep the bodies dust and oil free by making sure my hands are clean and wiping under the strings with a rag from an old cotton tee shirt whenever I see dust.

However, I'm interested in this topic because I just got back from a weekend camping. I took my Lanikai Concert ukulele out to the woods for the weekend and wanted to give the body a good cleaning now that I'm back. If this thread will save me the trouble of schlepping down to the guitar store then I'm golden...