Your guitar can be a tool to help you express yourself, a friend in time of need, and a weapon to fend off over zealous groupies – so please, clean the thing every once in a while! Dead skin, oil, dirt, and dust can accumulate on the fretboard, and the frets can rust and pit if you don’t keep on top of things. Sometimes the build up of muck can be so bad, it can actually impede your playing – the strings will grind on grimy frets, and your fingers will stick to nasty fingerboards. You owe it to yourself to keep your instrument in top shape.
On most dark wooded fingerboards (rosewood, ebony, pau ferro, etc.), you can use a very light steel wool to clean the neck. We use a super fine grade of steel wool from Lustersheen, but 0000 grade steel wool from your local hardware store will work as well. For maple boards, we use a guard to prevent the fretboard from getting scratched – DON’T use steel wool on your neck without one! Of course, using steel wool can only get us so far with certain jobs… in which case we break out the heavy machinery:
This guitar probably hadn’t been cleaned for YEARS… it was pretty gross. But just a few minutes with the chisel, some steel wool, and some fret board oil, and BAM!
Cleaning the fretboard, polishing the frets, and oiling the fretboard are just the first steps of every setup we do at the shop. Bring us your dirtiest, dingiest, and disgusting guitars – you can’t scare us.