Gretsch Detailing Challenge

Craig Encinitas

Gretschie
May 3, 2021
345
Encinitas, Ca
Hi all. This post is made it jest, but I just spent the past two-plus hours doing a string change on my 6120.

Okay…five minutes on the strings, the rest on polishing the frets, oiling the ebony fretboard and gently caressing the thin nitrocellulose finish with a plush microfiber cloth.

I will now drop the mic…

🎙 💥

Gotta play now!
 

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Seamus

Country Gent
Feb 25, 2011
1,027
New England
Hmm. I keep reading about people oiling the fretboard. This is something I have never done. Am I suppose to have been oiling fretboards for the last three decades?!? Or is it just cosmetic?
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
18,972
Petaluma
Hmm. I keep reading about people oiling the fretboard. This is something I have never done. Am I suppose to have been oiling fretboards for the last three decades?!? Or is it just cosmetic?
It helps keep the fretboard from drying out which can cause fret sprout. I find it is most helpful with rosewood, then ebony then maple.

I recommend buying food grade mineral oil. It is purer than other types and much less expensive than the same oil marketed for guitars, guns, etc. An $8 bottle should last a life time unless you are in the business. You may already have some to oil a cutting board or wood cooking utensils.
 

Seamus

Country Gent
Feb 25, 2011
1,027
New England
It helps keep the fretboard from drying out which can cause fret sprout. I find it is most helpful with rosewood, then ebony then maple.

I recommend buying food grade mineral oil. It is purer than other types and much less expensive than the same oil marketed for guitars, guns, etc. An $8 bottle should last a life time unless you are in the business. You may already have some to oil a cutting board or wood cooking utensils.

Thanks! You'd think after this long, I'd know that. It may be too late for my pre-WWII Cromwell, but I'll give it a go!
 

G5422T

Country Gent
May 24, 2012
4,123
usa
Hi all. This post is made it jest, but I just spent the past two-plus hours doing a string change on my 6120.

Okay…five minutes on the strings, the rest on polishing the frets, oiling the ebony fretboard and gently caressing the thin nitrocellulose finish with a plush microfiber cloth.

I will now drop the mic…

🎙 💥

Gotta play now!

Nice job. Well worth the time.
 

Emergence

Synchromatic
May 25, 2022
564
New York
It helps keep the fretboard from drying out which can cause fret sprout. I find it is most helpful with rosewood, then ebony then maple.

I recommend buying food grade mineral oil. It is purer than other types and much less expensive than the same oil marketed for guitars, guns, etc. An $8 bottle should last a life time unless you are in the business. You may already have some to oil a cutting board or wood cooking utensils.
Oil the fretboard. I oil the ebony on my Gretsch and the rosewood on my other guitars. I use the same teak oil I use for outdoor furniture. It’s always on hand and a neck and bridge only take a few drops. I don’t touch the thick (poly?) finish on the maple board of my American Standard Strat.
 

Craig Encinitas

Gretschie
May 3, 2021
345
Encinitas, Ca
Hmm. I keep reading about people oiling the fretboard. This is something I have never done. Am I suppose to have been oiling fretboards for the last three decades?!? Or is it just cosmetic?
Guitar specific oil products may be listed as having a cleaning agent in them. I use “F One” brand. After a drop between each fret, I will gently agitate the wood surface and sometimes the cloth will turn a little brown’ish in color.

I add another drop and spread the oil evenly with a cotton swab and allow it to sit for several minutes, then wipe off with a cloth. I like to be thorough. 💫
 

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stevo

Friend of Fred
May 1, 2012
7,168
Atlanta
I polish frets...only if/when I do a level/crown. I rarely oil my fretboard and wonder if it is really necessary.

Has anyone ever actually tested it over 30 years or so? I don't think I've ever seen any evidence that soaking your fretboard with a petroleum distillate will keep cellulose and resin from drying out. I actually wonder if it accelerates it? Why wouldn't oils and dirt from my fingers be more effective at sealing moisture in?

And yet, I do oil my fretboards...
 

Teledriver

Synchromatic
Feb 12, 2011
990
Iowa City, IA
Why wouldn't oils and dirt from my fingers be more effective at sealing moisture in?

And yet, I do oil my fretboards...
There is that same thought out there on the 'net as well, and I think it has validity- namely, that there already is oil in rosewood (and other woods, obviously) and just playing the guitar will get those oils (mixed with your oil finger oils) active and get the job done.
However, some of us are 'dry' and not acidic in our skin. Me, for example. I can't tarnish nickel to save my life, but a former band-mate could just look at a guitar and the strings are crusty the next day.
So, each player have or may not need to oil a fretboard. If nothing else, an oiled fretboard looks rich and vibrant. Once a year for me, usually sometime in winter as the furnace can dry things out. Usually do this the same time as when I make bridge and truss adjustments during those cold winter months.
 

speedicut

Friend of Fred
Jun 5, 2012
6,217
Alabama
I need to rejuvenate the rosewood fretboard on my 6120 DSW but I worry that I might booger up the inlays since they are large and ingraved ( I don't think I'd worry too much about thumbnails)...
Am I off base on this?
 

AZBrahma

Synchromatic
Dec 18, 2020
626
Arizona
Hmm. I keep reading about people oiling the fretboard. This is something I have never done. Am I suppose to have been oiling fretboards for the last three decades?!? Or is it just cosmetic?

Couple schools of thought. To ask the premier luthiers they almost universally say, don't do it. There are enough oils present in the wood that it isn't necessary, but worse, oil can collect around the tangs of frets, gathers and holds crud, and ultimately have something of a 'softening' effect in the slots. If there is moisture ingress, it can actually interfere with the moisture egress and can become trapped in the board (a bad thing). These are the guys that I personally tend to listen to...well, mostly (more on that below).

The other school is, do it. That's where most people are. It looks nice and feels good. The trick, if you're going to do it, is quickly wipe a LIGHT coating of oil, give it a few seconds, and wipe it away. Don't give it a chance to migrate into the fret slots or other voids. People generally haven't had issues with this, but some repair folks see issues when a re-fret is performed. NEVER 'quench' the board, that's bad stuff.

Me...I'm special, LOL. I'll do this once - I'll wipe the board thoroughly with naptha to clean the heck out of it. Then I'll take a 50/50 mix of 100% pure tung oil and an organic solvent of my choice (usually orange oil or turpentine), and wipe it over the board. I'll let that soak for a bit, repeat if the board is especially thirsty, and wipe it dry thoroughly. Then set that guitar aside and let it cure for a good week, maybe two. Pure tung oil takes a long time to cure fully, but I use that to avoid the metal drying agents in a lot of commercial tung oil products. String it up and never touch it again. Result: A nice dark board that stays that way permanently, and an actual super-thin moisture-proof natural finish which is integrated into the wood itself, and zero ill effects from the use of non-drying oils. WIN! I can't figure out why no one else does this.

Long answer but hopefully a helpful one.
 


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