quick q

  1. BadExampleMan
    What do y'all use to clean your fingerboard? I noticed last night there's some, I think the technical term is, schmutz collecting against the backsides of the frets. I'm thinking I'll use a damp cloth the next time I change strings.
  2. HonketyHank
    I have never cleaned a fretboard but I have seen one or two that needed it. I have read comments in the main forum that indicate maybe a soft dampened cloth. If plain water doesn't work, try the same with a little bit of mild soap. Maybe a very soft toothbrush used very gently and carefully if the schmutz is in a stubborn mood.

    If the buildup has developed while the mandolin has been yours, it may be that your hands tend to sweat. If true, your strings may go dead relatively quickly. So you might get better string life by using coated strings. And you probably ought to wipe down your fret board and strings with a soft cloth after playing.

    I am dubious about using commercial fretboard cleaners or anything stronger than mild soap.
  3. BadExampleMan
    Thank you for suggesting a toothbrush to get at the accumulated crud, it worked great in conjunction with a damp cloth.

    But check this out, what I saw after unstringing the A course:

    I am pretty sure those divots weren't there the last time I changed strings - which, granted, has been awhile - but is it time to have these frets replaced? I can't say I notice any change in playability or tone, but it's this something to address before it gets noticeable?
  4. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    No, very doubtful you need a refret. Divots wear in like that pretty quickly if you play your mandolin - kudos on playing your mandolin - and tend to look worse than they are. You can always dress the frets or pay a luthier to dress them in order to be rid of the divots. But just as well wait until they cause a problem with playing or sound before you go to the trouble of doing that.

    Itís time to replace the frets when you have a problem with playing that dressing the frets wonít fix.
  5. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    To dress the frets, there are two steps: 1. Level the frets, 2. Crown the frets

    Again, no need to do this when you’re having no issue with playability or tone. The wear shown in your photo is normal.
  6. BadExampleMan
    Thank you, Mark.
  7. NDO
    I shudder to think what my fretboard looks like. From a distance it looks and sounds great
  8. FredK
    I used to have a terrible time with gunk build up around the frets on my guitar when I was younger and had to do some deep cleaning during string changes. I was always careful to wipe down the strings after playing but didn't click with me until later to get under them, too. Being older now and playing mandolin, I don't have the same finger chemistry so it's not as bad. But, I do wipe down the strings with a microfiber cloth after playing. Then, about every other session, I lay the microfiber cloth flat on the fretboard and carefully work it up to the nut. Then, gently move it back and forth with light pressure on the fretboard as I work it over each fret. Doesn't take any time at all and helps to hold down the build up, making the clean up at string changes much easier.
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