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How to Clean Maple Fretboard

  • Post published:November 26, 2020

Cleaning one of your favorite musical instrument – the guitar – isn’t always fun, but it is something you have to do on a regular basis. Your guitar might be covered in dirt, debris, or dust, and this can reduce the quality of the sound it produces. As a result of this, cleaning your guitar is a necessary task that you should do on a regular basis.

Cleaning the exterior of your guitar is not that difficult. However, you must know how to embark on the cleaning process in order to achieve a better result.

Cleaning a Maple Fretboard

The Fretboard is just a thin strip of hardwood glued to the neck of a guitar, but it is one of the most important components of a guitar. It is the point of contact between the body of the guitar and the notes you play. The Fretboard is the stabilizing bedrock of the frets. It is also the part of the guitar that frequently comes in contact with your hands, as a result, it gets dirty easily.

If you fail to clean it regularly, compiled dirt from the Fretboard can find its way to the strings, limiting their ability to significantly impede and resonate the sonic performance of your guitar. Whether your frets are directly into the pine neck or pressed into elegant and streaky ebony, it is highly recommended that you always keep your frets’ foundation clean.

In this article, you will be exposed to the materials needed to clean a maple Fretboard as well as the processed involved in cleaning it. Below is the guide to walk you through the process of maintaining and cleaning some varieties of fretboards.

Materials Needed for Cleaning Maple Fretboard

  • Vegetable Oil Soap: One of the fundamental materials required to clean a maple Fretboard is a vegetable oil soap. One of the best options out there is a potassium vegetable oil-based soap.
  • Naphtha (Lighter Fluid, Mineral Spirit): Naphtha (and mineral spirits, lighter fluid) is a solvent that is usually used to break up oils, just like the oil particles your fingers leave on the Fretboard. This is a great guitar cleaning tool because it does not react with the finishing on a guitar. It doesn’t also cause expansion in woods at it evaporates quickly. You just need to be very careful when working with it. To apply it, it is recommended that you use a cloth or paper towel.
  • Music Nomad Guitar Detailer:The Music Nomad Guitar Detailer is a standard guitar polish that comprises several minerals oils and solvents that are great in cleaning up filth. There are other guitar polishes, but this is a recommended brand.
  • Other Items:Other items you need for the cleaning include, microfiber cloth, paper towels, a couple of Fretboard guards, and #0000 final/super fine steel wool.

List of Material You Shouldn’t Use to Clean a Maple Fretboard

  • Wood or pledge polish spray
  • Acetone/nail polish remover
  • Sandpaper
  • Steel wools other than #0000.

Steps to Cleaning a Maple Fretboard

Maple is a strong and beautiful wood. It is largely sustainably grown, widely available, resilient, harvested, and it is also cheap. Maple is one of the favorite materials used by guitar builders early on because of its numerous features and benefits. To maintain the bright color, some manufacturers usually spray the maple fretboard with finish before the frets are pressed in.

The finish applied on the wood reacts with it, and it acts like a light stain that results in the distinctive yellow-gold maple necks that you love. Whether the finish is polypropylene or nitrocellulose, it acts as a barrier between the wood and the fingers of the player. Cleaning a maple fretboard is a little bit easier than cleaning an ebony or rosewood board. However, there are some steps involved in the cleaning. The steps are as follows:

  • Slack and remove the strings: The very first step you have to take is to slack and remove the strings.
  • Remove neck if bolted on: You are about to apply some cleaning materials on the fretboard, taking this step will prevent all of these materials from ending up in the neck. If your guitar has a set-neck, it is recommended that you cover the neck pickup with masking tape or cloth. Acoustic guitar users should use a cloth to cover the soundhole.
  • Spread one capful of the Vegetable oil on the frets: A thin streak from the nut should be applied from the 22nd fret. If you are a shredder, the application should start from the 24th fret. After which, you should start scrubbing the soap with steel wool in tight circles. It is crucial that you start the scrubbing immediately you apply the oil as vegetable oil soap gets sticky very quickly. Make sure the scrubbing in tight, small circles. Avoid scrubbing directly against the grain. The scrubbing should be done with a paper towel.
  • Use paper towels to wipe clean: After scrubbing to your satisfaction, the next step is to wipe clean with paper towels. Try not to leave anything behind.
  • Scrub the surface of the fret with steel wool: At this point, you should place the fretboard guard over every fret and scrub the surface of the fret with steel wool. The reaction of wood and metal are different on gunk. While metal tends to rust, wood buildups filth gradually over time. It is crucial that you clean the fretboard as well as the frets. Clean every single one with steel wool, and enjoy the glimmering, glowing frets when you are done.
  • Use a saturated Naphtha paper towel to wipe each polished fret: At this point, any straggler that is left behind can be gotten rid of with lighter fluid. To remind you once again, you need to be very cautious when applying a paper towel. It is highly flammable, so you should avoid taking it close to an open flame.
  • Polish the whole neck with a microfiber cloth: This step involves polishing the entire neck of the guitar with a microfiber cloth that is sprayed with guitar detailer. This will clean up the remaining debris on the fretboard. It will also distribute the oil all over the fretboard evenly. You can spend a little more time here to make sure the polishing is perfect.
  • Use a paper towel to wipe every fret: You are almost done. When some oil particles are left on unfinished wood, it usually has very little or no effect. But when there are leftovers on the frets, your strings will have to suffer it. At this point, you should wipe every single fret with a paper towel. Microfiber cloths usually spread oil around, but the job of a paper towel is to absorb the oil right off the fret.

That is it, you are done. You don’t need to overwork yourself when cleaning a maple fretboard. Just follow the steps provided above and you are good to go. The materials used are also very important, so it is crucial that you get the right materials before you start your cleaning process.

Maple fretboards are more susceptible to absorbing and showing dirt than other types of fretboards such as ebony and rosewood boards. As a result of this, cleaning the fretboard regularly is very important if you want to constantly get the original and magical performance of your guitar.