Fret board conditioner and guitar polish...yes or no?

bunnyo

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To use or not use fret conditioner and guitar polish?

I'm getting ready to change out strings on my most precious uke (I love them both very much, but one...well, we all have one that sings to us more). It's rarely ever been played, but the strings on it are out of tune.

I've been watching uke restringing videos. One in a million recommend fret board conditioner and guitar polish at the same time as a string change. I really love this uke and don't want to harm it in any way. I also don't want to neglect it, if this is what you're supposed to do.

Is this just a slick way to get me to buy two kinds of polish for a practically new uke? Or is this critical care for a beautiful uke I want to have forever?

Thanks for your input, it's much appreciated ❤️

Bunny 🐇
 
To use or not use fret conditioner and guitar polish?

I'm getting ready to change out strings on my most precious uke (I love them both very much, but one...well, we all have one that sings to us more). It's rarely ever been played, but the strings on it are out of tune.

I've been watching uke restringing videos. One in a million recommend fret board conditioner and guitar polish at the same time as a string change. I really love this uke and don't want to harm it in any way. I also don't want to neglect it, if this is what you're supposed to do.

Is this just a slick way to get me to buy two kinds of polish for a practically new uke? Or is this critical care for a beautiful uke I want to have forever?

Thanks for your input, it's much appreciated ❤️

Bunny 🐇
Whenever I change strings I rub a little lemon oil on the fretboard. I also polish the instrument. If the fret wires are brass, I use a 0000 pad and polish the frets.
 
Are you folks using real lemon oil or some synthetic that kind of smells fruity?
 
I have not used anything on the occasional changing of strings, partly because I haven't changed strings much or they were quite new when I did.

But on the shipment of my ukulele, Chuck Moore included a D'Addario "Instrument Care Essentials" box. This includes Restore Detailer, Guitar Was, Shine Spray Cleaner, and Hydrate fingerboard conditioner. The last seems the most important. His included care instructions state: "Fingerboards can be periodically scrubbed clean with 0000 steel wool and a bit of naphtha, xylol, or turpentine, followed by the application of fingerboard oil or conditioner is highly recommended every few months." I may try the cleaner and the conditioner sparingly on my next change.

Also, beware. Explore more on what is proper. I have read some "don't use this" cautions due to negative effects (such as sealing the wood?). Also, the polish depends on the finish. Some only need cleaning with a damp cloth and never need wax or polish. I would not consider this unless you feel a need due to some visible issue that has developed.
 
Are you folks using real lemon oil or some synthetic that kind of smells fruity?
I have a little bottle of mineral oil with a slight fruity scent d’Addario sells. I suspect the “lemon” scent is artificial to avoid the oil going rancid. My fretboard was visibly parched, but it took very little of the oil to make it happy again. (the bottle was about $4)
 
F-One once a year. Steel wool to clean the gunk from the fretboard & a 2000 grit fret eraser to polish the frets.
Easy with the fret oil, a little bit goes a long, long way.
 
Some ukes like the Martin OXK and S1 have light colored and dry fret boards that respond well to the application of fret oil. The oil darkens and evens out the color of those fret boards.
 
F-One once a year. Steel wool to clean the gunk from the fretboard & a 2000 grit fret eraser to polish the frets.
Easy with the fret oil, a little bit goes a long, long way.
I also use Music Nomad F-one oil and their ukulele cleaner for fingerprints. Usually I do this every time I change strings. In between I will loosen the strings, tape them down and do it. An older Koaloha tenor with rosewood fretboard really soaks up the oil, it makes a big difference too. A happy uke!
 
My ukuleles are almost new but on my guitar, which is over 50 years old, I cleaned fretboard and frets with a very fine sandpaper and then rubbed a little bit of olive oil on it. I took my chances and it came back like new :)
 
What does everybody think about a product called tune it by music nomad? Would it just gunk the tuning pegs/gears?
 

Very informative, thank you. It has been a shame indeed. Unfortunately I didn't understand everything he said in the video but I understood it created a problem with the finish. You may want to use a specific product on the finish but you would take some risks there as well if you don't know what kind of finish it is. The fretboard of my guitar is raw wood and I've read a lot before doing it. :)
 
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I use only fretboard butter on my fretboard. A luthier once told me not to use lemon oil, it opens up the wood pores too much. Guitar polish seems okay, my satin finish ukulele now shines almost like it's glossy.
 
Martin recommends 3-in-1 oil on their fretboards, so that is what I use occasionally.

I don’t have an issue with lemon oil to first clean the fretboard, and then use oil.

John
 
I don't use any type of product. When I change strings, I simply use a wet cloth to clean the gunk and a dry one next.
I should always use a dry cloth after playing but I never do. Maybe someday I will try some kind of product, but it scares me a bit. Go figure...
 
In general, fretboards and bridges are unfinished raw or stained wood. Water will be absorbed. Too much H2O will cause the wood to swell.

I have had luthiers and guitar techs tell me to avoid using steel wool. Steel wool sheds very fine particles of metal that can mess up a pickup or any electronics on your uke. Plus, it can get transferred from your case to a different instrument you might place in your case. Better to us a plastic type abrasive paper or stick like StewMac sells.

I use Music Nomad F-One on my fretboard and sometimes the bridge when it needs it. Be aware that it can cause the black dye on an ebony fretboard to come off on the cloth. My Martin 1T IZ went from a uniform black to a streaky wood & black.

I think a soft toothbrush would work to get the gunk loose enough to wipe off without damaging the wood.

I haven't heard of "Hydrate" before. Has anyone used it?
 
All of my regular ukes are 17 years old, never have put anything on the rosewood fingerboards, still look like new. I do have a very soft child's toothbrush for the dust collected against the frets. For their satin finish bodies I just use 100% cotton dust cloths from the dollar store. No chemicals.

I have a 1960's Truetone classical guitar I got at a thrift store, $8 with a missing string...:cool:..The board did get a wipe of Formby's Lemon Oil Treatment. That appears to be partly synthetic, lists "aliphatic hyrocarbons", probably mineral oil to thin it.

FWIW Truetones were Korean made and sold at Western Auto! It's actually got good intonation and 3/16 action. Mine appears to be mahogany with a cedar top. No buzzes, cracks or loose seams. Not bad for 50+ years.
 
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