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A dry thick microfiber towel for every day cleaning, a drop of Dr.Duck's Axwax annually when I change my strings and batteries.


I have one bass that's only treated with Birchwood Casey gunstock oil and wax, no other lacquer or other finish on it.

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Virtuoso polish for nitro finishes then Music Nomad Guitar Wax for final finish and chrome work.

Microfibre cloths/towels - one for polish on, one for shine, one for buffing.


Fret rubbers or 3M polishing sheets for frets.


I lube all the bridge screws, posts, tuners and truss rod with Loctite Superlube (the pen oiler is handy) when I get a guitar - nothing then rusts or seizes up.


I give them a good clean and polish at string changes - check strap buttons for tightness and fix if needed - All my Fenders had loose strap button screws and needed plugging and gluing (soft body wood?).



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In all seriousness, which is difficult for me...


A quick wipe of the whole thing, including strings and fretboard, with a dry microfibre cloth after every play. In over 4 decades of guitaring and latterly 5 of 6 of bass playing I have suffered zero grunge buikd up on frets and the like as a result.


Every 6 months or so all (gloss) painted and plated parts get a going over with pure carnauba paste wax.  Matte finish paint gets a spray and wipe with a liquid car sealant, who's name eludes me.


I periodically do other stuff to fretboards, nuts, etc, but that steps over the threshold into maintanence and the brief for this thread is cleaning so I won't  go there.


But most importantly Inwash my hands before playing the damn things in the first place - that's  the biggest contribution we can make to 'cleaning.

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Ostrich feather duster.


If a bass needs a good clean, like the last bass I bought, I use a flat sponge pad and water of about 65 degrees with some washing up liquid. Cut the strings off, squeeze the sponge pad out so it's barely damp, at that temp it's evaporating off as you are using it. Then lift the front end of the sponge as you move forward rolling it back to lift the stuff off. If there is any grit left on the bass, and you hit it with the usual polishing motion, it will leave a skating rink effect, which looks particularly bad on black painted basses. 


Some bees wax polish for the fretboard (sprayed onto the rag), then micro-fibre cloth the whole bass over.


I've found that spraying stuff on a gloss finished bass, usually ends up collecting in the pickup routes or around the edges of the bridge plate and other fittings.


For hands that do dishes to be as soft as your bass, use Mild Green Fairy Liquid.

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Wire brush 'n Detol....


Isoprop Alcohol or Lighter Fluid, 0000 Wire Wool, Duraglit Autosol and and a dremel mop, Jim D Lemon Oil, Dab of Warwick Guitar Wax or furniture bees type wax... takes care of the fretboard n frets... Castrol Motorcycle Polish or Mr Sheen for painted bodies... what i got to hand... Dab of Warwick Guitar Wax or furniture bees type wax on oil finished bodies... Autosol on metal work, then Vaseline or Sewing Machine / Clipper oil on machine head and bridge threads... Micro fiber cloths 'n cotton buds... and a tin of that spray air duster....

Edited by PaulThePlug
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Warwick surface finisher for the Warwicks, occasionally (every 29th of February). Anything else which is bare natural finish gets occasional beeswax (see above), lacquered gets a duster about as often as I dust anything in this house.


I don't seem to get muck accumulation on my fretboards - possibly because I mostly play fretless so there's no natural gunge build-up areas, but looking at the acoustic guitar which is probably the instrument I mostly play at home, there's no muck build-up from about 40 years of use. When I've bought instruments with gunge on the frets, I've used meths or IPA [1] to do the initial cleaning then some lemon oil to finish it off.


[1] Isopropyl Alcohol, not India Pale Ale (other ales are available)

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I religiously wipe down the strings every time I play.  I use FastFret for this, but the tin is a couple of years old now.  I don't know how long this stuff lasts, perhaps I'm mostly just using the cloth that it came with and the FastFret 'essence' was used up long ago.


For me, DR strings stay on for ~1 year of constant playing.  About twice a year I'll put some lemon oil on the Fretboard and give it a good wipe.  One of these instances happens with the annual change of strings.


I purchased a used bass that was up in Scotland where the previous owner lived.  When the bass arrived, there were a few rust spots on it.  I used a bit of Gorgomyte to clean those off and they've not returned.  Bronze frets can also get nicely polished with a bit of Gorgomyte too (did that on another used bass that I acquired).

Edited by tvickey
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