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uk_lefty

Neck bend and fretboard grime

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Good morning - I recently got hold of a bass that had not received tlc for some time. I'm replacing some parts but generally its a clean up job. There are two issues that I'm struggling to rectify:

Fretboard grime - just can't shift it without scratching the rosewood. Thick, black, sticky grime. I've seen it before and managed to clear it with elbow grease and string cleaner but having got a lot off some remains and this is stubborn. Any advice gratefully received.

Neck bend - ok, this is going to be hard to describe so please bear with me. For illustrative purposes the " I " represents a nice straight string, the " C " represents a bent neck... My bass looks like this: IC . The truss rod appears to be working and I'm being careful not to overload it with too much tension, but really struggling to get it straight. All my other basses have necks that want to go: CI so this is a new one on me. I have managed to improve it but just cannot get it straight. Again, any advice gratefully received.

My level of skill with luthery etc. is slim to none, tools are limited.


Thank you

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I take it that you mean 'IC' = backbow, i.e. the fretboard is higher in the middle than at the two extremes? (and that this is the same for all strings?)

If so, you want to release tension on the rod but turning it anti-clockwise. Around an 1/8th at a time. Don't worry about the '1/8th every 24 hrs' nonsense - just wait a couple of minutes and observe changes.

On grime - i'd use a slightly roughish dishcloth and soapywater. For truly persistent grime, you could use a green scrubber pad, but you'd need to tidy the wood up afterwards with 800-200 grit.

hope that helps

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thanks - backbow was the wording i was looking for!! I can loosen the truss rod to its max and it doesnt seem to be doing much... Don't know if there's any "help" the neck needs to settle. I would guess string tension, so can put an old set of strings on once the bass bridge arrives!

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[quote name='uk_lefty' timestamp='1438163587' post='2832136']
thanks - backbow was the wording i was looking for!! I can loosen the truss rod to its max and it doesnt seem to be doing much... Don't know if there's any "help" the neck needs to settle. I would guess string tension, so can put an old set of strings on once the bass bridge arrives!
[/quote]
You need to stop adjusting the truss rod until you've got some strings on.

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Sorry to get OT, but Neck Bend & Fretboard Grime is a great name for a band :D

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[quote name='EssentialTension' timestamp='1438164265' post='2832145']

You need to stop adjusting the truss rod until you've got some strings on.
[/quote]

Definitely! You should never adjust whilst there's no tension . Don't be frightened to adjust the truss rod. It's amazing the punishment a neck can take if you overdo it. Just try a small 1/8 or 1/4 turn at a time and wait a few minutes. It's amazing how quick the neck changes although over night is best to let it settle

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[quote name='ezbass' timestamp='1438167190' post='2832178']
Sorry to get OT, but Neck Bend & Fretboard Grime is a great name for a band :D
[/quote]

Like it

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Never had to do it myself but I believe the edge of a razor can be used as a scraper for hard to shift fretboard grime (taped up on one side and held near to vertical as you scrape sideways from one fret to the next).

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Fretboard dirt:

Spray some wood cleaning product over the fb and let it soak in the gunk for a minute. Scrub with a thick cloth. Repeat operation until everything's off.
If the dirt is too stiff then you have to use some (very fine grade) wire wool to scrub it out.

Bent neck:

If there are no strings on the neck then it's perfectly normal that your neck has a bit of backbow with the truss completely loose. This may mean that your truss rod only acts in one way (forgot the correct term for this). Once you put in some strings you'll see it bend in the opposite direction. As ubit said, the necks can shift a lot without damage. Don't worry about it until you get some strings in there.
I have a P-clone bass at home tha does this same thing, if i take off the neck it won't sit straight but the tension of the strings pull it back on place. If it's still bending back with strings then you'll have a problem.

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[quote name='goonieman' timestamp='1438163306' post='2832130']
On grime - i'd use a slightly roughish dishcloth and soapywater. For truly persistent grime, you could use a green scrubber pad, but you'd need to tidy the wood up afterwards with 800-200 grit.


[/quote]

Hate to be "this guy" but I've seen you mention using water to clean a fingerboard a few times now and it's really not a good idea. Water can raise the grain of Rosewood and is guaranteed to swell the wood at the fret slots which can lead to all kinds of nasty things. It's not a good idea even on a finished Maple board as it can get under any small chips, nicks or marks and crack the lacquer. Again I really don't want to sound like I'm having ago at anyone and hope you don't mind me advising against it :).

Staying on topic, Ghost Bass's answer is a good one :) just make sure your chosen cleaning product has no silicone in it (if it's made for guitars chances are it won't).

Edited by Manton Customs

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[quote name='Manton Customs' timestamp='1438188342' post='2832411']
Hate to be "this guy" but I've seen you mention using water to clean a fingerboard a few times now and it's really not a good idea. Water can raise the grain of Rosewood and is guaranteed to swell the wood at the fret slots which can lead to all kinds of nasty things. It's not a good idea even on a finished Maple board as it can get under any small chips, nicks or marks and crack the lacquer. Again I really don't want to sound like I'm having ago at anyone and hope you don't mind me advising against it :).

Staying on topic, Ghost Bass's answer is a good one :) just make sure your chosen cleaning product has no silicone in it (if it's made for guitars chances are it won't).
[/quote]

No problem Manton... :) I've always used a tiny bit of water on a cloth - basically just to slightly dampen it. I wasn't saying soapy suds or anything, but I guess I should have been more clear.

I've never had any issues in 20 years with this, but I acknowledge some more wood-friendly cleaning material is more appropriate.

On the original post, I never knew that that the bass had no strings on! I should have asked!

Definitely follow Ghost Bass's advice.

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[quote name='Manton Customs' timestamp='1438188342' post='2832411']
Hate to be "this guy" but I've seen you mention using water to clean a fingerboard a few times now and it's really not a good idea. Water can raise the grain of Rosewood and is guaranteed to swell the wood at the fret slots which can lead to all kinds of nasty things. It's not a good idea even on a finished Maple board as it can get under any small chips, nicks or marks and crack the lacquer. Again I really don't want to sound like I'm having ago at anyone and hope you don't mind me advising against it :).

Staying on topic, Ghost Bass's answer is a good one :) just make sure your chosen cleaning product has no silicone in it (if it's made for guitars chances are it won't).
[/quote]

I agree on the water issue, it shouldn't be used on a fretboard even on a laquered one. there's a big risk that the frets may start to pull up.

I never payed attention to the silicone thing but now i'll start reading the labels before buying. I use this standard product:

Searching for this pic i found out that this brand also has this product:

I may try it next time.


Going off-topic now: @Manton - What happened to that old guitar you were recuperating? I lost the thread and can't find it. I would like to know how it ends up, i was loving your work. Cheers ;)

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[quote name='Ghost_Bass' timestamp='1438249142' post='2832833']
I agree on the water issue, it shouldn't be used on a fretboard even on a laquered one. there's a big risk that the frets may start to pull up.

I never payed attention to the silicone thing but now i'll start reading the labels before buying. I use this standard product:

Searching for this pic i found out that this brand also has this product:

I may try it next time.

[/quote]

Again - conflicting advice - I heard that using pledge or other furniture type polishes just seals the dirt into the grain rather than lifting it off and cleaning it.

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[quote name='Jonnyboy Rotten' timestamp='1438250398' post='2832849']
Again - conflicting advice - I heard that using pledge or other furniture type polishes just seals the dirt into the grain rather than lifting it off and cleaning it.
[/quote]

Not in my experience it doesn't. Maybe it has something to do with what Manton alerted me for in his previous post, there may be some of the products that have silicone or other substances that may seal the dirt in but the one i've been using (the normal type, no waxes or oils) efectively cleans the FB. I can see the results, the grime ends up on the cloth and the wood is clean.

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[quote name='Ghost_Bass' timestamp='1438254696' post='2832916']
Not in my experience it doesn't. Maybe it has something to do with what Manton alerted me for in his previous post, there may be some of the products that have silicone or other substances that may seal the dirt in but the one i've been using (the normal type, no waxes or oils) efectively cleans the FB. I can see the results, the grime ends up on the cloth and the wood is clean.
[/quote]

Of course it can't be left on the FB for ages. A quick spray through the FB followed by some elbow work with a thick cloth (old toothbrush rub if needed) and leave it to dry after finishing with a dry cloth. Then it just needs some lemon oil... etc. etc.

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[quote name='Ghost_Bass' timestamp='1438249142' post='2832833']
I agree on the water issue, it shouldn't be used on a fretboard even on a laquered one. there's a big risk that the frets may start to pull up.

I never payed attention to the silicone thing but now i'll start reading the labels before buying. I use this standard product:

Searching for this pic i found out that this brand also has this product:

I may try it next time.


Going off-topic now: @Manton - What happened to that old guitar you were recuperating? I lost the thread and can't find it. I would like to know how it ends up, i was loving your work. Cheers ;)
[/quote]

Yeah, I wouldn't use that to be honest! It's one of the brands that get mentioned quite a bit on threads like this, I have no doubt it will effectively remove grime though it will leave behind a residue of all kinds of chemicals which is are not good for your fretboard. I believe I have seen it mentioned that it does indeed contain Silicone which is an absolute nightmare as it spreads everywhere and will not come off!

The old Gibson Cromwell will be making a return to this area shortly! It's actually all strung up and finished, I'm just waiting for the pickguard to arrive from the US before putting up some finished pics. Prior to that I'll obviously also update the thread with the work which has been carried out since :). Thanks for the interest!

Edited by Manton Customs

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Gunk: If it's serious, lighter fluid (e.g. Ronsonol) & either a toothbrush or an old credit card trimmed to get rid of the rounded corners. If it's not, then an old t-shirt & Ronsonol.

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I had an old bass with loads of grime and I used spray on automotive cleaner (seriously), but don't leave it on to soak. just spray a little and use a brush, (nothing too abrasive, something relatively soft like a shoe polishing brush), and that should quickly get rid of even years old grime. Then thoroughly wipe off any excess with a cloth.

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[quote name='Manton Customs' timestamp='1438269194' post='2833094']
Yeah, I wouldn't use that to be honest! It's one of the brands that get mentioned quite a bit on threads like this, I have no doubt it will effectively remove grime though it will leave behind a residue of all kinds of chemicals which is are not good for your fretboard. I believe I have seen it mentioned that it does indeed contain Silicone which is an absolute nightmare as it spreads everywhere and will not come off!

The old Gibson Cromwell will be making a return to this area shortly! It's actually all strung up and finished, I'm just waiting for the pickguard to arrive from the US before putting up some finished pics. Prior to that I'll obviously also update the thread with the work which has been carried out since :). Thanks for the interest!
[/quote]

I'll see if i can get a pic of the labels in the brand i use, not one of the pictured.

Edit: looking forward for the cromwell ;)

Edited by Ghost_Bass

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[quote name='Manton Customs' timestamp='1438269194' post='2833094']
Yeah, I wouldn't use that to be honest! It's one of the brands that get mentioned quite a bit on threads like this, I have no doubt it will effectively remove grime though it will leave behind a residue of all kinds of chemicals which is are not good for your fretboard. I believe I have seen it mentioned that it does indeed contain Silicone which is an absolute nightmare as it spreads everywhere and will not come off!

The old Gibson Cromwell will be making a return to this area shortly! It's actually all strung up and finished, I'm just waiting for the pickguard to arrive from the US before putting up some finished pics. Prior to that I'll obviously also update the thread with the work which has been carried out since :). Thanks for the interest!
[/quote]

+1 I'd never trust anything with the word "Pledge" on it, for exactly the reason MC says.

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[quote name='Grangur' timestamp='1438275386' post='2833181']
+1 I'd never trust anything with the word "Pledge" on it, for exactly the reason MC says.
[/quote]

I don't use that one, i believe this brand it's not even sold here in PT but i'll need to check the one i use to see if it has the silicone on the composition. I wasn't aware of this issue and i thank MC for pointing that out ;)

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I've used white spirit successfully to clean up fretboards (and bodies, for that matter), and nothing bad appears to have happened to them.

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I was recommended this by a guitar-playing friend who swears by it so I bought a pack for my Dad who plays bass and guitar. [url="http://www.poshguitars.com/product/gerlitz-the-works-guitar-care-kit/"]http://www.poshguitars.com/product/gerlitz-the-works-guitar-care-kit/[/url]

£22.00

Includes:

[b]Gerlitz Guitar Honey[/b]
A unique blend of conditioning oils for rosewood, ebony, & other exotic woods. It will cleanse and enhance your fingerboard’s natural character, giving it a smooth silky feel and lustrous glowing sheen, while protecting against moisture, sweat, alcohol & grime in general.
The results obtainable with Guitar Honey are superior to any other fretboard oil or treatment available. Enjoy!
Harvey Says [i]“In my years of guitar repair I’ve used naptha, alcohol, turps & various cleaners, degreasers, etc…. basically that’s how I arrived at the Guitar Honey formula. Guitar Honey has a very high quality form of mineral spirits, which does (in my opinion) the best overall job of cleaning & degreasing (as well as oiling). Degreasing with naptha, etc. before treatment with Guitar Honey really shouldn’t be necessary. I’ve found a thorough cleaning of the fingerboard with #0000 steel wool prior to treatment with Guitar Honey is as complete a “system” of fingerboard conditioning/dressing as is needed (short of something fairly in need of professional repair).”[/i]
NB – NOT really to be used on lacquered necks such as the maple of Tele’s and Strats…..

[b]Gerlitz Smudge-Off[/b]
This amazing spray guitar cleaner restores lustre and shine to your instruments finish in just seconds, while adding protection as it cleans. Easily removes grime and fingerprints. Leaves an ultra smooth, anti-static surface that repels dust while extending the life of your instrument’s deep shine.
Smudge Off is also ideal for cleaning and getting that “detailed” look on hardware, amplifiers and hard-shell cases. Smudge Off contains NO ABRASIVES, SILICONES OR WAXES, and is safe and effective on glass, brass, chrome, plastics, metal and all hard finishes (lacquer, polyurethane, waterborne, varnish, etc.).

[b]Gerlitz No#1 Carnauba Wax[/b]
“No.1” guitar wax is made from the highest quality grade of Carnauba wax available. Because it contains number one grade pure Brazilian Carnauba (the hardest wax there is), it provides a hard protective coating and leaves a mirror-like gloss other waxes and polishes simply can’t match. I’m sure you’ll find it to be “the Very Finest” for use on all gloss & satin hard finishes.

And comes with a soft cleaning cloth too.

*I'm not connected to or affiliated with these guys. :)

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