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Re: Cleaning fingerboard & touching up surface.

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Posted by Bob Gollihur on May 21, 2001 at 10:33:48:

In Reply to: Cleaning fingerboard & touching up surface. posted by Joe on May 21, 2001 at 10:06:27:

: I've got an old Kay, same color as a new E. swingmaster. The finish on some
: areas of the lip, (between bout and top) is worn to the wood.
: Should I use Varathane on those edge areas to protect the bare wood,
: or would varnish be better?

: Also, would it be a good idea to use Watco oil (same color of course)
: on the scratches on the top, to make the top look a little better. (I don't want
: to refinish the whole Bass.)

There are a lot of finish materials out there these days. I am real fond of the newer water-based rub on polys, especially the one from Minwax. I've used aniline dyes to tint it and it is really easy to use - I touched up a sunburst guitar using it with amber dye and it worked out well. You could use a stain on the wood and protect it with a compatible finish.

: Also, what should I use to clean oil and dirt gunk off the rosewood fingerboard?

I have been using a good grade of Lemon Oil on my fingerboards, URB and electric, although Roger Sadowsky recommends Boiled Linseed Oil because he says the Lemon Oil dries the wood out. That hasn't been the case with my 15+ year old Teak dining room set or any of my bass fingerboards, but I did buy a pint of boiled linseed oil last week just to give it a try.

I usually drip some Lemon Oil here and there and then use a paper towel to rub it in and remove the grime and excess oil. I'll repeat that process maybe 3-4 times, sometimes waiting a half-hour or so to let the oil loosen any other grime and soak into the wood (rosewood isn't as dense as ebony, which doesn't absorb much or seemingly any oil sometimes). I do it until the paper towel only picks up oil and doesn't get dirty anymore. Then I'll let the oil soak in again and use a cotton cloth to soak up any residual oil, then use another, another, etc., until I pick up no oil whatsoever - don't want any of it on my strings. Been doing this for over 20 years and it works really well on older mistreated fingerboards on electric basses I've bought.

: Need advice from those who are experenced at this kind of thing.

Hope this helps.

Bob Gollihur
eclectic bass -

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