This rosewood board has some old crust on it.
Not too bad, but old crust is hard crust. I use the edge of a pick to scrape the heavy stuff off in the direction of the grain of course. (here the board is already clean and I had to find some crust to scrape to take the pic:) This picture does show the minimal fretwear that doesn't need any attention at this time.
After you've scraped as much of the crust as you want the rest is elbow grease. If you keep your players board clean every string change it's a breeze. On these old crusters it's a pain. To clean in against the fret wrap the rag around your thumbnail. Always use your fingernail flat against the board pointed into the fret, your fingernail tip is sharp and will mar the board if you push into it.
There ya go, nice clean board. Looks terrible doesn't it?
That's what board wear looks like on rosewood, polished from playing and stained from the old crust. You don't think I'm leaving that like that do you?! ;-) Time to get out the 0000 steel wool. Rub the entire board in the direction of the grain. This will also remove most of the oxidation from the frets.
For the best results pinch the edge of the wool and get right up against the fret. The golden rule is never rub against the grain, but, I will sometimes give a few light strokes against the fret beacuse I know I'll be polishing those scratches out pinching it up to the fret. This is very time consuming but worth the results.
Notice the dramatic difference?
Better get to work, only 21 more to go!
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Revised: June 24, 2009.