Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Maintaining fretboards

Any advice or product recommendations for fretboard cleaning and conditioning?

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First off… manufacturers recommend different things (many of which are to avoid common practices). Here’s the safe thing… removal of gunk next to frets using mechanical methods like a cloth with a fingernail, or something stiff but not hard (like pro piks) is ok for anything. Beyond that, check with the manufacturer.
As for me, I get each edge of every fret with a fingernail through a cloth. Then I wipe down the entire board. If there is something on there that hasn’t come off, I try light moisture, then naptha with a cloth. If the board is not finished and it seems dry, I will use a few drops of “lemon oil.” Note that Martin says not to do this… I suspect if you do it enough, you could affect the nitro on the finished portion of the neck. I have never had that issue. Some people use wax products. I am not personally a fan of such things.

I use gorgomyte on my frets every time I change strings. I use trewax in the fretboard. My banjo was kept in storage for years though and it was the only thing that could keep the board moisturized after I bought it.

Thank you for @agoodjohnson!

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Please come back regularly and post often!

Yeah I saw a YouTube video where they advised against lemon oil as its acidic. Maybe over time it effects the wood I don’t know?? I give mine a clean using a guitar pick close to the frets and use 0000 wire wool along the grain then hoover off any bits. The wire whool helps buff the frets too. Then I Brush it down then use F-one oil. :wink: