How to Clean and Hydrate a Rosewood Fretboard

Over time, you will definitely need to clean and hydrate the fretboard of your guitar. In my case, I recently received 2 “Made in Japan” vintage guitars, a Greco and a Burny, with  rosewood fretboards. Nowadays, the trade of this wood is highly regulated.

When I received these guitars, the fretboards were “dry”. I think they had never received treatment before.

While doing some research, I found out that many instrument makers use linseed oil for the maintenance of the fretboards made out of rosewood. This oil can very easily be found in any DIY store and the price of a liter is only $5,00 to $7,00 depending on the trader.
In the case of my guitars, their fretboards were not very dirty. After removing the strings, it was easy for me to clean them.

Using paper towels, I applied linseed oil on the fretboard. By rubbing just a little, the dirt went away easily, which pleasantly surprised me because I did not need to rub like crazy. I waited ten minutes for the fretboard to absorb the oil and I applied a second layer of linseed oil. This time, I waited about 30 minutes to be really well hydrated. Finally, I used some paper towels to remove the excess oil by rubbing the whole thing.

Voilà ! The rosewood fretboard shines again, and the guitar looks spotless after this simple and effective treatment!

óleo de linhaça
Lindseed Oil
Escala de Jacaranda
Look at the difference: dry fretboard (left) vs hydrated fretboard (right)
Escala Rosewood
Hydrated fretboard. It's beautiful!
Escala Rosewood
Final result.

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2 Responses

  1. Hello from New Zealand
    Finally a site dedicated to vintage Japanese guitars. Was able to identify one I have in my collection.
    Thank you and I’ll be visiting this site frequently
    Peter Spencer

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