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The fingerboard oil survey


The fingerboard oil survey  

71 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you oil the fingerboard on your bass(es)?

  2. 2. Have you ever seen a bass that has been ruined by oiling the fingerboard?

  3. 3. Do you believe in the "Big fingerboard oil" conspiracy theory where guitar manufacturers spread fake news to convince people to ruin their instruments by oiling their fingerboards?



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I oil/wax/ treat my furniture.  It's the same thing.  I'm sure in theory wood doesn't need oiling... does nature have some symbiote flitting round the trees with a tin of pledge and a duster?  'course not, but living wood isn't dead wood.  and furntiure / basses are dead wood. and if oil/wax/ etc keeps my sideboard looking nice and healthy, I submit prercisely the same is true of a fb.  Not a maple one.  But a rosewood, etc one.

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4 minutes ago, Passinwind said:

I use it in one form or another a few times a decade as a cleaner, whether I need to or not.

A few times a decade sounds about right.

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Trueno said:

A few times a decade sounds about right.

Yep, and that's my running total for four basses and one guitar. I prefer food grade pure orange oil (it's killer in brownies too), but those with plastic bits in the line of fire may not want to go that route.

Edited by Passinwind
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On rosewood fretboards I use "Howard Feed-n-Wax" which is a beeswax/oil wood finish. I only apply occasionally (yearly maybe) and use sparingly if the board is looking a bit dry. I let it sit for a minute or so and then polish it off as much as I can. Makes the fretboard look very nice.

I've read the dire warnings about letting oil penetrate into the fret slots, but I reckon it would need really slathering on heavily and leaving for hours for that to be a potential danger.

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2 hours ago, grandad said:

Rosewood fingerboard I use teak oil sparingly about once a year. 

Maple fingerboard & guitar body I use this:

44616592001.MAIN__20029.1576898032.jpg?c=2

That contains Polydimethylsiloxane i.e. it's a silicone polish.

The last type of polish you want on any quality wood or painted item as it effectively prevents any other surface treatment/ refinishing/touching up. Even stripping to bare wood may leave contamination leading to poor refinishing.  Anyone who is into caring for their car avoids silicones like the plague.

You could do worse than use ordinary Mr Sheen... most furniture polish these days are silicone free, although back in the 90s silicone was the rule not the exception.

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3 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

That contains Polydimethylsiloxane i.e. it's a silicone polish.

The last type of polish you want on any quality wood or painted item as it effectively prevents any other surface treatment/ refinishing/touching up. Even stripping to bare wood may leave contamination leading to poor refinishing.

I used to have discussions with the local luthier during his slow hours & once I asked him what to polish my Rickenbacker with, as it was a lacquer finish.

He was adamant NOT to use anything except a clean microfibre cloth.

He told me the biggest problem with fixing dings in the finishes was the fact that the owners had used waxes & other polishes on the surface.

 

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Posted (edited)

I use a tiny amount of oil extremely seldom on rosewood boards, maybe a couple of times a decade. I'm not convinced it performs any massively necessary role, but it does improve the appearance, removes some dirt in the wiping process and evens up the colour with the parts that have already absorbed oils from the skin. I use woodwind bore oil, a very light mineral oil, and I've had the same 50ml bottle for years.

Edited by Beer of the Bass
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I tend to use wax or, if that’s not around, a slathering of lard from the bottom of the roast tin on a Sunday will do the trick.

Plus, your fingers smell of beef after a gig.

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3 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

 

image.png.b263f790f0e5514b681580452972973f.png

Maple fretboard painted with black laquer (japanned) as part of goth phase, then rubbed with the tears of innocents to achieve the above look.

Seen it all before...

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1 hour ago, Fingul said:

Maple fretboard painted with black laquer (japanned) as part of goth phase, then rubbed with the tears of innocents to achieve the above look.

Seen it all before...

I think it's mahogany, painted black to look like ebony. Mid-70s Epiphone acoustic.

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Posted (edited)

I use lemon oil sparingly on rosewood and ebony boards, never on maple. One of my basses has a pale moon ebony board that, if I don't give it a light oil now and then, seems to contract to the point you can feel the edges of the frets - almost like fret sprout. A little lemon oil (or whatever we're calling it, the stuff packaged as such for use on guitar fingerboards), fixes it.

 

As an aside, the point about silicone - you really shouldn't be applying this to the lacquer finish on your guitars! But honestly, how many of us get minor dings etc touched up by luthiers? Also, unless the bass is brand new to you, straight out of the case, how can you be sure it's never seen silicone polish? I'd be willing to bet that there's many a music shop gets the Saturday staff to give the guitars a once over with a can of silicone based furniture polish! My experience is that a switched-on refinisher (all the ones I've ever dealt with) will always assume the finish has had exposure to silicone at some point and proceed with any refinish work accordingly. 

Edited by Mokl
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4 hours ago, Mokl said:

One of my basses has a pale moon ebony board that, if I don't give it a light oil now and then, seems to contract to the point you can feel the edges of the frets - almost like fret sprout.

I had a similar experience with my JMJ mustang in the last week. I have been able to feel the sharp fret edges for the last few months but after applying Dunlop 65 fingerboard oil a few days ago the fret sprout completly went away.

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