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Is oiling your fretboard a bad thing?


shoulderpet

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I'm getting worried reading this. I got a new harley benton and the fretboard was super dry, to the point where it felt rough. I put on some lemon oil and half an hour later it felt better but still not great so I put some more on and now it feels super smooth but not oily at all. Could I have over done it and set up future problems?

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8 hours ago, casapete said:

Some do contain lemon and some don’t . Doesn’t seem to be much info kicking around regarding the exact content though, and the term ‘lemon oil’ is a very ambiguous one. Mrs CP is a clinical aromatherapist and uses pure lemon oils in her line of work, but I wouldn’t want to try using them on my basses. I think any of the reputable brands that are made for fretboards (Dunlop, D’Addario etc) will be fine. Like Frank Blank says above, I’ve been using mine for eons, in fact the small bottle I have must be at least 20 years old! Once a year applied sparingly does the trick.

 

This is correct, I've checked data sheets for a few fretboard oils and they are light mineral oil with some essential oils for scent. Pure lemon oil would be bad for a fingerboard as too much causes skin irritation. 

People dilute these oils with a carrier for massage etc.

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Another bassist here who has used various 'oils' on basses for 40 years (I have basses I've owned for 30 of those years) and I've yet to have a single issue with fingerboards popping frets, rotting, delaminating etc. 

 

I've not read any of the links but I would like to ask that if fingerboards shouldn't be oiled due to microbial whats-its... what the hell does the oils from our skins do to aid microbial attack / decay?  I've seem some pretty minging, gunky fingerboards where you have to scrape the fatty juices off the side of the frets to find out what the fingerboard actually looks like!  If that isn't going to rot the wood, I can't see a cleaner, healthier product doing 'more' harm!  

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1 hour ago, Bassfinger said:

If its being slathered on regularly then perhaps it might happen as described, but ive seen some badly abused instruments over the years and nothing like that. Spunds a bitmof a non story to me.


I freely admit I use more than recommended and more often than recommended (I think it might be considered a slathering) and still no harm has come to my fretboards.

Edited by Frank Blank
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54 minutes ago, SteveXFR said:

I'm getting worried reading this. I got a new harley benton and the fretboard was super dry, to the point where it felt rough. I put on some lemon oil and half an hour later it felt better but still not great so I put some more on and now it feels super smooth but not oily at all. Could I have over done it and set up future problems?


No. I’ve done it a couple of times long ago when I didn’t know better. Slapped tons of the liquid all over the fingerboard and it stayed greasy for days no matter how much I wiped it down. I think it took months to dry out in the end. The other time was with a very dark fretless ebony board - even with just a few drops it just wouldn’t soak in because the grain was so tight. Again it just sat on the surface, but at least I could wipe it off.

Edited by FDC484950
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7 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

Should start a poll. 'Who has seen a fret sprout'.

 

Nigella Lawson was at the forefront of introducing fret sprouts to British cuisine.

 

7 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

I never even heard of fret sprout before internet.


Fret sprouts are lovely sautéed with some bacon and walnuts and make a delicious addition to the a traditional Christmas dinner.

Edited by Frank Blank
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3 minutes ago, shoulderpet said:

Ok so another query, my Daddario fret board conditioner says it contains Petroleum distillates, should I be worried about applying this stuff?

There's a reason mechanics wear nitrile gloves these days. Personally I would avoid all 'mineral oils'. Thankfully none of my basses require any dressing, mainly due to an aversion to rosewood.

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8 minutes ago, SteveXFR said:

How dare you. Take that back. She is a goddess and would never use sprouts. 


Of course she uses fret sprouts because…

 

a) she is a Goddess.

b) liking sprouts of any sort sets one apart from the sprout disliking hoi polloi who can go to hell in a handcart.

c) see a).

Edited by Frank Blank
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35 minutes ago, shoulderpet said:

Ok so another query, my Daddario fret board conditioner says it contains Petroleum distillates, should I be worried about applying this stuff?

 

On the one hand, you may believe the accessory manufacturers are paid to distribute guitar-killing products by the manufacturers in order to help promote future sales. On the other, that's something like white spirit to make the oil absorb quicker and dry faster. Unless you are concerned about releasing high levels of VOCs into the atmosphere, in which case you should go to the beach and pick up 127 micrograms of microplastics as penance each time you use it.

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Last year, one of my nieces brought her acoustic guitar for a check-up as she wanted to start playing again.

 

The rosewood of her fretboard was almost white, I put two coats of Dunlop 65 that were almost instantly absorbed.

 

The next day, the fretboard was back to a whitish colour, so I use the other well known trick of linseed oil (I don't like the smell, so avoid using it).

 

A single coat was enough to feed the wood and give it the right colour that still is the same today.

 

The other "issue" with linseed oil is that you have to buff it a lot to totally remove any oil excess and it takes time.

 

For really too dry fingerboards I use food paraffin oil that is absolutely safe and the result is always amazing.

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1 hour ago, Stub Mandrel said:

 

On the one hand, you may believe the accessory manufacturers are paid to distribute guitar-killing products by the manufacturers in order to help promote future sales. On the other, that's something like white spirit to make the oil absorb quicker and dry faster. Unless you are concerned about releasing high levels of VOCs into the atmosphere, in which case you should go to the beach and pick up 127 micrograms of microplastics as penance each time you use it.

Ok thanks, it does have a strange smell almost like brasso to it so that would make sense that it is something like white spirit

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6 hours ago, Downunderwonder said:

There's a reason mechanics wear nitrile gloves these days. Personally I would avoid all 'mineral oils'. Thankfully none of my basses require any dressing, mainly due to an aversion to rosewood.

Its not so much the oils, but the nasty combustion by products and contaminants that are the big skin C concern. 

 

A mineral is nothing more than a naturally occurring chemical compound.  To qualify as a mineral it comes out the ground, but in many cases exactly the same molecules are found in plant and animal by products - terpenpoid compounds that make up organic oils extracted from plants are in essence much the same chemically as hydrocarbon compounds from oil dug out the ground. Its too simplistic to suggest that mineral oils are automatically bad and bunny cuddling alternatives are automatically better.

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