Conditioning Your Fretboard

Another great purchase is a fretboard conditioner, which can easily be found online or through your local music store. The first step here is to apply your conditioner to your fretboard lightly and carefully rub it in using your pad of steel wool.

The trick to remember here is to turn your steel wool over regularly to maintain an even coverage. Start by moving up the fretboard from the body of your guitar, and work slowly around the fretboard, rubbing the side of each fret.

Once you’re happy that your fretboard is clean, run your steel wool up and down the fretboard to polish off each fret. When you’re finished, be sure to vacuum your fretboard to remove any traces of steel wool fiber that may be left.

Using a Toothbrush

A toothbrush can be a great alternative to using steel wool since you’ll be able to apply a much more controlled amount of pressure, perform more detail cleans and there’s less risk of leaving fibers on your board.

The approach is the same as if you were using the steel wool. This means simply applying a gentle amount of conditioner and then rubbing it in using the brush.

Once you’ve completed the length of the fretboard, be sure to polish each and every fret in turn while putting extra effort into the immediate side of each fret.

Once you’re happy with your work, simply use a slightly damp jay cloth or kitchen towel to give your fretboard a once over. This will make sure all your grease, grime and dirt that collects from playing is removed, leaving you with a seemingly brand-new fretboard.


Gavin Whitner for Guitar Noise.