I have used rubbing alcohol on a rosewood fingerboard for years and years...no problems. I clean the frets and the strings with it. No problems at all. On a Maple neck like a Strat, that is not good. The Les Pauls don't seem to mind and it hasn't been a problem...probably not the best idea to use Isopropyl on rosewood, but in 20 something yrs of playing...never had a problem and it does take off a lot of grime...my thoughts...
I use to use fast fret. Now when I change my strings I clean my guitar w/ Erine ball guitar polish. spray a little up and down thee neck and rub good w/ a cloth. Now, I dont know if these products are "good" for the neck, but it works for me.
From a professional standpoint. 3 in 1 oil is a huge no no. It collects dust grime and gunk that you really dont want imbedded in your fretboard. Alcohol is fine as long as you follow it with lemon oil to replace the needed moisture content in your fretboard. Most waxes and polishes just build up on the fretboard leaving it gunked and unpleasant to say the least.
If your going to clean your frets, use masking tape on the open fretboard areas to protect them while you polish the frets .
Lemon oil is actually a wonderful thing, it replenishes lost moisture in the fretboard and helps to keep the cellular structure of the wood stable which helps keep your frets nice and tight in the fretboard. This also helps to keep frets from raising up .
If your on a budget like most of us you can buy Lemon oil in the household cleaning aisle at most discount stores like walmart in a 16oz bottle for under 3 bucks. A 2 ounce bottle will run you that much in most guitar shops.
Use a soft lint free cloth. (flannel dust rags work great) Saturate a portion of the cloth and apply it to the fretboard allowing it to soak in. Repeat this till it stops soaking in the lem-oil. Wipe off any excess afterwards.
I used lemonoil. My Ibanez RG470, which I think is Rosewood, or Maple ? Anyway, a darkwood :lol: was so, so dirty. So I figured that I would give it a try. The neck has come up a real treat, and plays nice once again.
There was so much grime on there it was embarassing !
Goo Gone would work. but i dont think its made for bare wood such as a rosewood or unfinished maple. Its designed for removing paint and other chemicals. Its a pretty harsh solvent to be using on something of that nature. That would be like washing your car with paint thinner. Simply wiping down your guitar after playing takes a few seconds. and saves loads of work later.
There are some terrible suggestions on this forum. Never use water or water-based cleaners on your fingerboard; it will penetrate the wood and cause the wood to swell and will change the feel of the grain (especially on unfinished maple boards). Solvents such as 3 in 1 and Goo Gone are also inappropriate, they are potentially harmful to the wood and may erode glue holding inlays and fretwire in place. Furniture polish is generally water-based (bad) and contains silicone (double bad). Silicone makes the wood look nice and shiny, but is a nightmare for refinishing if you ever choose to do so. Alcohol or Naptha are effective cleaners, but may stain the board (some players like this look) or erode glues. It is best to use Lemon oil or light mineral oil (which are 99% the same), or a brand-name fingerboard cleaner and conditioner, available at most music stores.
To clean a heavily soiled UNFINISHED board, use a small amount of Lemon oil and 0000 steel wool, working gently with the grain of the wood (cover pickups with painters tape first, and be careful around inlays). It should be noted that "Lemon oil" in this case is not made from lemons, but is a product made from mineral oil and petroleum distillates which is yellow and lemon-scented. Do not rub lemons on your guitar . Linseed oil acts less as a cleaner and more as a varnish. Light mineral oil is ideal for maintaining and conditioning the wood but is less effective as a cleaner than Lemon oil. For FINISHED maple (standard on Fenders), oil will have no effect and should not be used. A small amount of guitar polish on a microfibre cloth is best for these boards.
NOTE: I agree with VB when he says that its best to simply keep your hands clean and wipe the board after playing, in the long run this will be alot less work, not to mention less expensive. An improperly maintained board will effect the tone and playability of your guitar. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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