How to clean up fretboard scratches?

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by Bobo, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. Bobo

    Bobo SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,700
    Likes Received:
    103
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Location:
    TN
    I've come into possession of an old guitar with a rosewood fretboard that has lots of scratches in it. I've cleaned up gunky boards before, but this will need more TLC than those. I want to smooth it out and make it look new again.

    Maybe it's just a simple as sanding between the frets with progressively finer and finer sandpaper, but I've seen so many different techniques for various things posted around here that I thought I'd ask for some thoughts. Never know when you can learn something new.

    Thanks!
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

    Messages:
    31,174
    Likes Received:
    11,389
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    Racine, WI
    What guitar? Pics?
     
  3. Bobo

    Bobo SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,700
    Likes Received:
    103
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Location:
    TN
    It's a Dean Ml series, the kinda star shaped model. Maybe around 10 years old I guess.

    I don't have pics atm, but fwiw I think it got so scratched from a heavy handed dude using low tension while tuning low. So the strings were just easily digging into the board.
     
  4. Lemons

    Lemons SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    249
    Joined:
    May 9, 2015
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    It really depends on the scratches. Sandpaper between the frets could work but its a massive pain, I'd use some kind of scraper if I had to do something about it. The only way you're ever going to have good access to the entire length of board is to pull the frets, level the entire board, then re-fret, but that sounds like a whole lot more trouble than its worth.
     
  5. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

    Messages:
    31,174
    Likes Received:
    11,389
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    Racine, WI
    Are we talking just some light surface scratching perpendicular to the grain, or actual gouges?

    It's kinda hard to recommend a course of action without knowing what exactly we're trying to fix.

    Is the board dry or has it been oiled recently? Is it clean?
     
  6. Bobo

    Bobo SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,700
    Likes Received:
    103
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Location:
    TN
    Scratches are not very deep, not gouges at all. I guess you'd classify them as "surface scratches". I will learn about fretwork at some point, but it doesn't look like this calls for that much work...although the thought of sanding between each fret does sound like a lot of work in itself.

    I oiled it with Music Nomad's F One Oil twice while cleaning it. It was pretty gunked up. I was surprised to find a nice looking piece of rosewood underneath lol.
     
  7. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

    Messages:
    31,174
    Likes Received:
    11,389
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    Racine, WI
    If after a good oiling you still see surface scratches, try scrapping with the grain with a razor blade. Don't go across the grain, push down too hard or angle the blade more than 45 degrees.

    If that still doesn't take care of it, some 1000 grit or higher sandpaper or micromesh, again with the grain, should clear it up.

    If all that doesn't work, learn to love the scratches or go to a pro.
     
    Bobo likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.