What do you use for guitar polish?

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by Dumple Stilzkin, Oct 2, 2021.

  1. Dumple Stilzkin

    Dumple Stilzkin Dirt Magurt

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    I’m almost out of what I’m currently using, what do you prefer? Also looking for suggestions for something to clean up a really dirty guitar too, the fretboard is noticeably oily from not being cleaned. I’ve heard naphtha?
     
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  2. John

    John New album out now: https://goo.gl/PdPVYh

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    I usually used Dunlop System 65 since that's readily available to me.
     
  3. wheresthefbomb

    wheresthefbomb SS.org Regular

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    Naphtha works great, I like to have another rag to clean it off the fretboard with as it will definitely dry stuff out, and then put oil on it after. I've never had naphtha damage a fretboard though, not all that dissimilar from shampooing and conditioning your hair. Also using Dunlop 65 right now.

    Naphtha does tend to leave a residue on finished/painted surfaces like the body in my experience. Isopropyl is a good substitute here, assuming it won't damage your finish. Even a wet cloth and a dry microfiber do a pretty good job here.

    If it's really crusty I would start with just a wet rag and get the crust off before you bother with the solvents. Also something thin and stiff like a credit card or guitar pick or even a razor if you're careful are great for taking crust off the fretboard.
     
  4. gunch

    gunch Riff Chugman

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    windex
     
  5. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    I have a small bottle of something I got like 16 years ago. Smells great, works well.
     
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  6. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Depends on the type of finish.

    For standard poly finished guitars with unsealed wood boards I do the following for cleaning:

    Body/Neck: Damp, clean flannel or microfiber rag with distilled (mineral free) water to remove the top surface grime. I'll add a small drop of Dawn if really (and I mean REALLY) nasty and/or move to a slightly rougher terry or shop rag. Once clean, I wipe it down with a fine cloth, make sure it's dry, and then apply a drop of Meguiar's or Flitz polish and buff until satisfied.

    Fretboard: Same damp cloth method as above, but if there's a lot of grime I'll soak the board in naphtha for between one and ten minutes. If that doesn't do it I whip out the razor blade. Since the strings are off at this point, I polish frets with my Dremel/Foredom/buffing wheel with either green or white compound, 4000 and above micromesh works great too. Fuck steel wool. Once clean and wiped down let air dry. Hit it with mineral oil applied with a saturated rag. Apply until there's a nice uniform, wet sheen. Let sit for between half and hour and overnight if super duper dry. Wipe excess away in the direction of grain.

    Hardware: Remove and disassemble. Place parts in a naphtha bath and agitate gently every so often. The worse the grime, the longer the soak. Remove, brush with an old toothbrush, hand polish with 3-In-One oil and a clean microfiber cloth. Only use something cotton if lint free.

    That's sort of a quick rundown of the basics. There are slight changes for more specialized or unique finishes, but that should be good for most production guitars over the last three or four decades.
     
  7. mmr007

    mmr007 (anti)Social Influencer

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    I use my government tracker to follow other guitarists to guitar center and then just hit em in the head with a lead pipe and steal whatever they bought I'm not picky...but that's just me. There is no one size fits all solution to dirty guitars...especially since I don't even clean some guitars. My strats have 5 years worth of sweat, beach sand and spaghetti sauce on them....but I also really like the whole dunlop 65 thing for the guitars I keep clean
     
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  8. Grindspine

    Grindspine likes pointy things

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    Naptha is great for cleaning a fretboard. Make sure that you oil the fretboard after it dries if it is anything other than a finished maple board. Lizard Spit was the one that I used for most cleaning when I was a guitar tech; it does a great job at removing fingerprint smudges from show room guitars. The Dunlop 65 stuff is not bad at all, nor is the D'Addario guitar cleaning product line. For my fretboards, I have been using PRS fretboard oil. Dunlop 65 lem oil or plain white mineral oil will get similar results.
     
  9. Chris Bowsman

    Chris Bowsman Nu-Metal Apologist Contributor

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    I use Howard's Feed & Wax beeswax on everything. All my necks are finished in oil & wax, so I hit the back of them and the fretboards with Howard's a couple times a year. Afterward, I run the rag over the body. Use the same stuff on my Warwick bass, which is bubinga, ovangkol, and ebony.
     
  10. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Colorless green ideas sleep furiously Contributor

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    Mayones

    :lol:
     
  11. AltecGreen

    AltecGreen SS.org Regular

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  12. Captain Shoggoth

    Captain Shoggoth literally just vibing

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    The same bottles of Planet Waves Shine and Hydrate I bought 12 years ago
     
  13. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Now that I'm at my computer:

    - Smith pro formula polish
    - planet waves lemon oil cleaner and conditioner
     
  14. beerandbeards

    beerandbeards Majestic Shoveler

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    I use a microfiber cloth and wipe the guitar with no polish or chemicals.

    for the fretboard I started using F-One oil this past year. I used to use the standard lemon oil but heard it wasn’t best for all wood types.
     
  15. Andromalia

    Andromalia Pardon my french

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    Poly finish and rosewood board: window cleaner on everything. Served me fine for 30+ years now.
     
  16. DeepSixed

    DeepSixed SS.org Regular

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    Dunlop 65 for Poly and Gibson Pump Polish for Nitro.
     
  17. Decipher

    Decipher Ibanez Enthusiast

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    When it comes to cleaning and conditioning I've come to find the MusicNomad line to be the best. I love their entire product line. Cleaners, polishes and tools.

    For nasty fretboard I scrape them with plastic scraper blades to start. I condition/clean with the FOne oil a tooth brush and their special cloths that's got a light abrasive woven into it. Works fantastic. Frets I polish with either their Frine polish or I've used Autosol metal polish with a dremmel.

    Hardware I disassemble and run through my ultrasonic cleaner to remove rust and grime. Prior to getting the ultrasonic cleaner I just used the Hoppe's gun cleaner and a variety of small gun bore brushes and toothbrushes. Sometimes have to bust out some dental picks to carefully remove the really stuck stuff that may be in joints. Dry fully and reassemble!

    Bodies I start with a detailer and then polish to bring out the shine!
     
  18. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    My own sweat, spilled beer, and sometime a little bit of lemon-scented furniture oil.
     
  19. dspellman

    dspellman SS.org Regular

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    About the only hardware that requires soaking on my guitars are complicated bridges. I have an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner (they're cheap), and I will pull the Floyd off a guitar, drop it into the cleaner and run it for a few hours (or overnight). Dry it off with some compressed air and drop it back in, all bright and shiny.

    For most of my guitars, and especially those with poly whatever finishes, I'll use Meguiar's Cleaner Wax (the stuff in the burgundy bottles: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002NYE5M/?tag=sevenstringorg-20 ). This doesn't go on the fretboards; those get a few drops of mineral oil, wiped on, wait a few minutes, then wipe it off. Never let it "soak in." Not applicable to maple boards (though I guess you could do it on the Roasted Maple boards without a finish). The Meguiars obviously works just fine with metal components as well. Wipe on, wait a bit, buff off.

    My guitars never get to a point where they're so cruddy they need naphtha treatments, but I've used it to clean abused used guitars. But a lot of those also have corrosion issues, etc., that need attention.
     
  20. JSanta

    JSanta SS.org Regular

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    It's all finish dependent for me. I have two French polished guitars, and they just need a very lightly dampened cloth. My nitro guitars have nitro safe polish, and then I have this stuff from PRS for my PRS or my poly finished guitars. I also use the Dunlop Formula 65 for unfinished fretboards and that stuff always works well.
     

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