Author Topic: Guitar body and neck cleaning?  (Read 190 times)

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Offline Lord_Gigabyte

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Guitar body and neck cleaning?
« on: September 14, 2018, 11:34:20 am »
Hello everybody.

I've got a question about cleaning a guitar. At this point i have a yamaha pacifica 112 (yellow natural) and a ibanez as 153 ays.

The yamaha has no paint at all, but the ibanez has. I realized that i know nothing about cleaning a guitar. I know that i can take a dry cloth and wipe it down, but is that enough? And how and when, is the fretboard due for some maintenance / cleaning?

Thanks for the advice!
I'll get it in the end. Just don't give up, that's the key....

Offline Majik

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Re: Guitar body and neck cleaning?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2018, 02:45:13 pm »
In general, modern guitar finishes don't need much maintenance. Assuming by "no paint at all" you mean the Pacifica has a natural wood finish. It will still probably have a polyurethane varnish over that.

So, in general, a wipe down is all that is needed.

You can get proprietary products to clean and polish the guitar body. These are fine as long as you don't have a totally unfinished wood body (like my PRS S2) or nitrocellulose varnish. But they aren't really necessary.

The fretboard is a different matter. If it is a maple fretboard (your Pacifica probably is) then it will be finished (varnished) and should be treated the same way as the body, i.e. give it the occasional wipe down. The fretboard may need slightly deeper cleaning than the body as it's possible for "finger gunk" to accumulate along the fret wires, but don't use anything abrasive. Also do not use fretboard oil.

You can "polish" the frets using extremely fine grade abrasive wet'n'dry, micromesh or 0000 grade wire wool (be careful as steel wool particles can get into the pickups). Again, not normally necessary but sometimes nice to do.

For dark-wood, unfinished fret boards like rosewood use an appropriate oil very occasionally. Lemon oil is the one most people use. You can get proprietary oils for this from the likes of Dunlop which are normally just lemon oil with a huge markup. On the other hand, they are not expensive and the Dunlop "Fretboard 65" oil should last you a decade or more. The idea is to put some oil on the fretboard, let it soak in for a few minutes, and then rub it off.

Again, do not do this too often: more than once a year is probably too much. Also, another reminder to not use oil on maple fretboard.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
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Offline Lord_Gigabyte

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Re: Guitar body and neck cleaning?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2018, 08:12:08 am »
Majik,

thank you for your advice. It's been very helpfull.
When i read that the pacifica had a natural wood finish, i took a closer look. It never occurred to me that wood doesn't shine by itself, that it needs treatment to do so. Another thing learned.
I didn't even know that fretboards were treated with a varnish. Another thing learned. Next time i change strings, i'll have another look at that fretboard.

I'll have a cloth or two ready for a wipe down when it's needed. I had been looking at guitar polishes and other stuff, but after reading your advice, i'll skip those and find me some nice polishing cloths.

Again, thank you for your help!

Again, thank you for your advice. It's a great help!
I'll get it in the end. Just don't give up, that's the key....

Offline Ryan_Briggs

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Re: Guitar body and neck cleaning?
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2018, 12:16:24 pm »
Music Nomad MN108 Premium Guitar Care 5-Piece Kit newbielink:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006WP70Z0/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_NIoNBbR489XCK [nonactive]

This is what I use every time I change my strings. The cleaner and polish is great for both nitro and polly finishes. The fret board oil is fantastic too but only used on unfinished fretboards like rosewood or ebony. You can tell by looking at it. If the fretboard is shiny like the guitar body use the cleaner and polish. If it's dry and dull use the oil.

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Offline Majik

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Re: Guitar body and neck cleaning?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2018, 03:23:51 pm »

I didn't even know that fretboards were treated with a varnish. Another thing learned. Next time i change strings, i'll have another look at that fretboard.

It depends a lot. Maple fretboards can be treated or unfinished. I believe treating with a polyurethane varnish is more common these days, especially on mass produced models like the Pacifica. "Unfinished" maple fretboard normally actually have a light oil finish to seal them.

Either way, you shouldn't need to do anything other than give the fretboard a bit of a clean every now and then.

The difference is that maple is not an open-grained wood like rosewood (and similar) and, therefore, won't dry out in the same way. The reason you occasionally oil open-grained wood fretboards is to prevent the wood drying out and the grain opening up, which makes them rougher.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline Lord_Gigabyte

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Re: Guitar body and neck cleaning?
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2018, 03:06:39 pm »
@Ryan,

thank you for the suggestion, but i think i'll stick to a cloth for now to wipe down after playing/changing strings.

@Majik; when a open-grained fretboard is drying out, the colour would become lighter? And that would be a hint that it needs some oil, right?
Just to be sure i know what to do when the time comes.
I'll get it in the end. Just don't give up, that's the key....

Offline Majik

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Re: Guitar body and neck cleaning?
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2018, 04:45:20 pm »
To be honest, you really should never *need* to oil your fretboard, just as you should never *need* to polish the guitar body. If you never do it your guitar and fretboard will probably be fine in 40 years time.

It's more of a cosmetic thing, really, along with a slight difference in feeling (although I wonder, in practice, if that's just the temporary feeling of some extra oil on the fretboard surface after it has just been done).

Yes, the fretboard will become lighter over time, but some of that will be changes to the wood as it ages, due to the bleaching effect of the sun, and general dirt plus wear. I'm not sure it actually indicates any significant drying.

Basically I would, at the very most give it a light oil once a year as part of a general cleaning. By "light" I mean a light coating using a cloth or cotton bud so that the oil wets the surface, but not so much it pools or forms drops. Leave for a few minutes and then thoroughly wipe the oil off.

Or, if you are happy with how the fretboard looks, just clean it and don't bother oiling it at all. As I said, it's primarily cosmetic.

It your fretboard is drying out to the point it is sustaining damage (for instance, if you live in a desert), then oiling it is not going to help. In that case you need to keep the instrument in a humidified environment.

But if, like most of us, you don't live in a desert, then you should not need to worry about this.

Cheers,

Keith

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Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

 

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