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Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 4261
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - 7:14 am:   Edit Post

Last night I started cleaning up the body and neck of my recently acquired fretless Epic 5. The bass was built in 1995, and I suspect the fingerboard has never been oiled since. I've applied lemon oil to my guitars before, but never had an experience like last night. I applied several thins coats and each time the board completed absorbed the oil in a matter of minutes! Should I keep on applying oil until it stops being sucked up so quickly? Have I already oiled enough? Too much? Waddaya think?

Bill, tgo
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 632
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - 8:56 am:   Edit Post

Hi Bill,
I had the exact same experience with my 81 Distillate when I acquired her. I gave her 2 hardy applications. The first one as a scrub & cleaning and wipe off to remove the DRECK (dirt) and the second as a treatment. I figured that I could always apply more later if needed.I TOO am interested to know what others have to share about this.
Senior Member
Username: jet_powers

Post Number: 481
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - 3:37 pm:   Edit Post

I was under the impression that you wipe off the excess. If it's being absorbed there is none. Do you keep going until there's excess?

That's the same as Bill's question isn't it?
Username: poor_nigel

Post Number: 29
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - 7:27 pm:   Edit Post

Hey Bill:
I've always kept the board wet with lemon oil for 30+ minutes, which means every five minutes or so, I wipe on another coat, as I see it has absorbed most of what I put on. That five string I just bought was not done for six years. It soaked a lot of oil up in the 40 minutes or so I treated it. I kept going until it did not soak it up much at the end. Fretboard is perfect now. Make sure you get it wiped 'dry' before putting the new strings on. You do not want any lemon oil on your strings.
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2540
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 2:18 am:   Edit Post

To add to Thomas's coments about strings, if you're putting alot of oil on the fingerboard, put the old strings back on for a few days playing - they'll pick up all the excess oil - then put new strings on once there's no more residue. It's a faff but worth it.

Senior Member
Username: hieronymous

Post Number: 693
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 7:52 am:   Edit Post

Especially on a fretless! (This is a fretless isn't it? I'm already confused!)
Senior Member
Username: hydrargyrum

Post Number: 739
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 8:09 am:   Edit Post

I believe that Bill said this bass came without strings, so he may be out of luck in this regard. Good advice otherwise.
Advanced Member
Username: eligilam

Post Number: 227
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 12:35 pm:   Edit Post

A tangential question, hopefully not taken as a hijack:

I have a fretless with ebony fretboard that also has small strips of maple as fretlines (kind of a cool feature, in that you can't tell there are any fretlines from the audience, as the lines are brown/wood colored and appear to blend into the fretboard from a short distance)...

Anywho, is there any known difference in the "lemon oil" cleaning method with regard to such small maple fretlines? I didn't think there would be, but thought I'd ask the experts.
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 2384
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, January 03, 2010 - 6:29 am:   Edit Post

I have darkened maple inlaid fretlines, and I just oil the whole board. I guess if you had light-coloured fretlines, they might darken somewhat.

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