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Plantsman13

Fretboard Oil Discussion

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Good evening.  Interesting opinion from the latest Acoustic Guitar on the benefits of oiling the fretboard.  I recall Bob Taylor claiming the first year he liked two applications with subsequent years getting one application.  I'll continue to dress up my fretboard, but this makes me stop and reconsider my opinion on the topic.

OBTW: I included a second page from the issue declaring a new recording from TE and John Knowles after the first of the year...kind of close to the Finger-style Retreat attendees.

Paul Simon is the featured artist and interesting reading to be had. The sidebar on his guitar sideman of over twenty years really makes the eyes roll.  The song, Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover seems like only yesterday...talented artist for sure.

Enjoy.

AG313.pdf

Edited by Plantsman13
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I use fretboard conditioner once or twice a year for unfinished fretboards. I use Professor Greens Fretboard conditioner, and I have lemon oil when the discontinued Professor Greens is gone. I do it just before the winter string change, and again the in the spring. 

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I use this stuff (maybe once a year) on the fretboard and bridge. I have had the bottle for years and have maybe used about 30 drops of it. It looks to be a lifetime supply.

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I saw Dr. Ducks at GC the other day, while in the market for fretboard conditioner for my nephew's classical ( I'm trying to hold onto the Prof Green's for my two guitars.) . I ended up getting Kyyser lemon oil after asking for a recommendation.They had the Dunlop but only in a kit and some other stuff I can't recall ( no Big Bends though).

Anyway, the dry little thing drank two heavy coats without needing a wipe up. It seems better.

I play most every day and tend to let my fretting hand fingers be the guide. If they're starting to get sore, I use a little oil on the boards and the soreness goes away in a day or two. The interval is more frequent than my string changes. I use Elixir nanowebs on both of my guitars and thanks to clean hands I gotten about twice the life out of them (8 months or so on these strings) but about three months on the oil.

I know it sounds weird but it works for me.

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Guitar care, in general, depends on your guitar, frequency of play, how you play, and where you play.  Yep, it's a little different for everybody.  My acoustic has an ebony fretboard, and here is one source of information:

https://sixstringacoustic.com/ebony-fretboard-care

I normally average about an hour-a-day practice, and have decided that 100-hr string changes (about every three months) works for me because I have been experimenting with different strings and they all sound better (albeit different) and brighter when changed. With each string change there is always obvious cleaning that needs to be done, mostly by the bridge and around the frets.  So what do I do and why do I do it.

First I live in Arizona...it's dry.  My guitar uses a sound hole humidifier that may or may not keep the fretboard at the 45% rh I try to maintain. And many times my guitar is out of its case for several hours. My choice has come down to using a slightly damp microfiber cloth or Dr. Green's (which I still have) to clean up the neck and the bridge.  I will always avoid silicone and waxes so as not to "over love" my fretboard.

In the end what it really comes down to is that if I ever discovered my fretboard to be cracked or chipped from dryness I would be very distraught.  Why take the chance?

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I got some of the Professor Green's products at the last Gathering and I really like them. Bonus - they smell great!

I use fretboard oil maybe two or three times a year on a guitar. Probably overkill, but I worry about living in a dry climate too. In any case my fretboards all seem to be doing great :)

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I've had my Taylor 712-CE--ebony fingerboard--for over twelve years and have never used oil or conditioner on it. Looks good and plays good. I do dust it once a year. Lotsa luck.

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Most of the fingerboard products on the market today will do a great job. Some woods are more susceptible to cracking from lack of humidity than others. Some like Mr. Well's Taylor will never have issues - I would thing its because he keeps the instrument in a climate controlled area or lives in a part of the country that has relatively mild seasons. I condition the board and bridge area of an acoustic box at every setup, because it just wont hurt to do so.

Greg V.

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I oil my Taylor 324ce fretboard 3 to 4 times a year after the periodic checkup and cleaning. Especially in frigid Michigan winters.

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18 hours ago, Lonnie said:

I oil my Taylor 324ce fretboard 3 to 4 times a year after the periodic checkup and cleaning. Especially in frigid Michigan winters.

probably a little too much.. I could see 2x a year but 3 to 4

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In the new Wood and Steel from Taylor someone "asked Bob" about the ebony with more colors not being prevalent as it pertains to Taylor's Ebony project.  Here's an excerpt from Bob's response:

Thanks for asking, Bill. No, we haven’t backed off that goal at all. In fact, we use more ebony with color than ever before, making up nearly 70 percent of the ebony we buy. That said, I’ll try to solve your curiosity of why you aren’t able to find a vast array of colors when you shop. At Taylor Guitars, our first coat of oil that is applied to a guitar fingerboard and bridge is linseed oil.
We use it because it sets in the wood, whereas mineral oils evaporate. This first coat provides a long-lasting base that enables a player to then use fretboard oils that are available on the market with- out building up a finish, because they, too, evaporate. We don’t recommend that customers use linseed oil because only one coat is needed, and we do that at Taylor. Linseed oil wets the wood, and since it sets and doesn’t evaporate, it darkens the wood, not as a stain, but in the way that water darkens wood while it remains wet. So the colors just black- en. It requires almost severe amounts of color in the raw state to equal any color in the linseed-oiled state. This is some- thing I wish other manufacturers would believe and adopt, because when our Crelicam partner, Madinter, sells ebony wood from Crelicam, they are constantly asked for the blackest of wood, of which there is little. But at Taylor we know that the less-black wood can be used, oiled and also satisfy customers.

I found this interesting since it contradicted the Taylor restringing video where the Taylor employee recommended boiled linseed oil to use on the fretboard prior to restringing.

For what it's worth...

Bryan

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13 minutes ago, Plantsman13 said:

I found this interesting since it contradicted the Taylor restringing video where the Taylor employee recommended boiled linseed oil to use on the fretboard prior to restringing.

Yes, interesting. I wrote to Taylor a few years back to ask what I should use on my Taylor's ebony fretboard and they said boiled linseed oil! I never did though.

Ian

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