Best ways to clean Gibson Fretboards


Gibson Fretboard materials are an integral part of the sound and feel of your guitar. They are designed to help you create your signature tone and are a significant factor in your guitar’s overall performance.

Gibson is well known for using Rosewood and Ebony for their fretboards, but the company has recently made an effort to use more sustainable alternatives. These include Richlite paper phenolic, pressed with a phenolic resin in a low-impact, energy-efficient process.

Best ways to clean Gibson Fretboards

Taking care of your Gibson guitar’s fretboard is essential to ensure it performs at its best. Here are some of the best ways to clean Gibson fretboards:

1. Use a soft, dry cloth to remove dust or debris from the fretboard. Make sure to avoid using any abrasive cloths or materials that could damage the fretboard.

2. If there is some stubborn dirt or grime on the fretboard, you can use a small amount of lemon or mineral oil to help lift it off. Apply the oil to a soft cloth and gently rub it onto the fretboard, being careful not to apply too much pressure.

3. you can use a specialized fretboard cleaner for more serious cleaning. These products are designed to remove dirt, grime, and oxidation from your fretboard without damaging it. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully when using these cleaners.

4. remember to wipe down your fretboard every time you play to prevent dirt and oils from building up and causing damage over time. With proper care and maintenance, your Gibson guitar’s fretboard will continue to perform at its best for years.

The different Gibson Fretboard Materials



Rosewood is one of the most common guitar fretboard materials used and one of the easiest to care for. This wood is renowned for its rich sound, smoothing over harsh highs to deliver a clear, balanced tone that complements almost any guitar.

Another benefit of Rosewood is its naturally oily pores, which re-amplify the fundamental tones of the guitar and tame unwanted overtones to create a more neutral-sounding guitar. It also does not require a finish, which makes it a more natural option and a favorite among many players.

Rosewood is also very durable and can withstand heavy use and frequent tuning changes without losing its shine. In addition, this wood has a naturally dark grain, which adds to its appeal and beauty.



Ebony is a dense black/brown hardwood from several species in the Diospyros (family Ebenaceae). It is an ornamental wood used for thousands of years for musical instruments, furniture, chess sets, canes, and wands.

It has a delicate, smooth texture with a high sheen and is highly durable. This makes it an excellent material for guitars and other instruments with stringed instruments, such as violins.

But despite its many benefits, this wood is at risk of extinction. This is because of its low supply and high demand, which leads to over-harvesting.

The extinction of this valuable species is a critical sustainability issue, as 60,000-80,000 wood carvers in Africa make their living from it. The slow growth of ebony trees also means they don’t grow enough to meet the demand.

Baked Maple

Baked maple

Baked Maple is a newer alternative to Rosewood and is an excellent substitute for players who are concerned about the environmental impact of using Rosewood. The baking process gives it a darker brown look, although some inconsistency can be seen as a result.

Despite its appearance, it is not a direct replacement for Rosewood as it still requires a finish to protect it from humidity, but it is a good choice for players who want something a little more natural-looking. With a more organic but subtle glide, it feels smoother and faster than traditionally treated maple fretboards.

While many people are skeptical about the use of baked Maple as a Gibson Fretboard material, there are several benefits that it can offer. For one, it is much more resistant to humidity and temperature changes than average Maple, which makes it a good option for frequent travelers or those who live in areas with large fluctuations in climate.


Richlite e1675337802181

Richlite is a composite material made from recycled paper and phenolic resin. It is a solid and durable wood that can produce many products, including guitars.

Richlite can be used in various guitar parts, including the body (back, sides, and top) and neck. It is relatively heavy, though, and does not have the tone projection that softer hardwoods tend to offer.

However, It holds up well to temperature changes and can withstand a lot of wear and tear, so it’s a good choice for small-shop luthiers and large-scale manufacturers alike.

It’s also easy to repair, another benefit of using it. The only downside is that it can’t withstand the pressure that wood can when it’s being played aggressively, so it may not be a good choice for guitarists who want to play a wide range of genres. For that reason, it’s probably best to stick with a traditional wood fretboard if you plan on playing multiple music styles.

Best ways to clean Gibson Fretboards

Choosing the Best Product to Clean Your Fretboard

Choosing the right product for cleaning your fretboard can be confusing and paralyzing. There are so many opinions and effects on the market that it can be hard to know what works best for your bass.

The best product depends on the fretboard material your bass is made from. So before you buy anything, find out what kind of fretboard it is!


Rosewood is one of the most common types of wood used in guitar fretboards and a prevalent material choice for various guitarists. This is because it offers a deep, rich, natural tone that many people love playing.

However, like any other wooden guitar, rosewood fretboards must be cleaned regularly to keep them looking their best. Dirt, sweat, and dead skin collect on a guitar’s fretboard over time and can corrode the wood.

When this happens, it can ruin the instrument’s tone and leave you unable to play it well. To avoid this, it’s essential to clean your rosewood fretboard at least 1-3 times per year, depending on how often you play.

When cleaning your Rosewood fretboard, the best product is 0000 steel wool, which can remove dirt and gunk without damaging the guitar’s delicate frets. This type of wire wool is outstanding and can easily be found at any hardware store, as it’s the same stuff used to polish furniture!

You’ll want to be gentle when using this and only rub it against the rosewood fretboard in a circular motion. This is because rubbing the steel wool against the wood grain can scratch your rosewood fretboard.

Another good option for cleaning your rosewood fretboard is lemon oil, which will help it to shine and look brand new again. This is an excellent option if you have any dulling or discoloration on your rosewood fretboard, and it can be applied with a cloth.

But make sure you choose lemon oil specifically for guitars, as other types of lemon oil used to polish furniture may contain additives that can harm your rosewood fretboard.

Washing your hands before you play your guitar is also a great way to prevent grime and dirt from building up on your fretboard. This can reduce the amount of cleaning you need to do and how often you need to change your strings.


Whether you’re a seasoned shredder or a novice strummer, you know how important it is to keep your fretboard clean. It’s a crucial part of your guitar’s sonic identity, and keeping it looking its best is an excellent way to increase playability and prolong its lifespan.

Ebony is an exotic wood prized for its dark heartwood and durability. It’s often used for musical instruments, as well as a variety of other wood products.

Many different species of ebony grow in forests around the world. Diospyros ebenum (Ceylon ebony) is the most common, but others include Diospyros crassiflora (Gabon ebony), D. humilis (Queensland ebony), and D. celebica (Sulawesi ebony).

The Janka hardness of ebony is generally lower than Rosewood but can be higher than Indian Rosewood. In addition to being extremely hard, ebony is also highly water-repellent.

It is an excellent choice for guitar fretboards because it will withstand moisture better than most other woods. However, it’s important to note that ebony can become dry in climates with low humidity.

Because of this, it’s essential to regularly rehydrate your ebony fretboard using 100% food-grade mineral oil. This will help prevent the board from drying out and provide a layer of protection that will make it more resistant to damage in the future.

Another option is to use lemon oil, which will give your fretboard a clean look and a nice shine. However, lemon oil isn’t an optimal solution for a long-lasting finish.

It is better to use a specialized ebony fretboard oil that will protect the wood from water and moisture loss and leave it with a soft sheen. The best thing to do is to apply a small amount of the oil and let it soak into the wood for a few minutes before wiping it down with a dry cloth.

Following these simple steps, you can maintain your ebony fretboard like a pro! With regular care and maintenance, your ebony fretboard will look beautiful and last longer.

Les Paul Custom with Ebony Fingerboard Gloss
Les Paul Custom with Ebony Fingerboard Gloss

Baked Maple

Maple fretboards are a popular choice on electric guitars due to their attractive tone and ease of maintenance. As you’d expect, they can be prone to dirt and marks when played, so keeping them clean at all times is essential to extend their lifespan.

The best way to clean a Maple fretboard is with a non-abrasive cleaner compatible with this type of wood. This can be as simple as using a spray or even a tiny amount of oil, depending on whether you have a raw or finished fretboard.

For an unfinished Maple fretboard, it is possible to rub it down with a fine 0000 steel wool. This will remove any dirt that may have accumulated while also conditioning the material and preventing it from shrinking or lifting fret ends.

If you’ve got a finished Maple fretboard, it’s still worth investing in some good guitar cleaner or polish to use alongside a clean microfiber cloth for a more thorough job. These products will not only get rid of the dirt but also help preserve the shine and gloss that Maple fretboards have become famous for.

Another great option is wiping down the fretboard with some lemon oil. This will clean the fretboard and rehydrate the wood, making it easier for the wood to maintain its shine and sheen.

This will be a lot easier and quicker to do than the alternative of trying to sand down the fretboard. As long as the oil is well diluted, you should be able to easily apply it over the entire board with a soft cloth.

Leave the oil on the wood for about 5 minutes, then wipe it down with a dry microfiber cloth. This will remove excess fat and make your fretboard look great again!

Baked Maple is an excellent substitute for Rosewood, and it’s becoming increasingly popular. It’s a good choice for those who prefer the darker, more richly colored tone of Rosewood without its hassles. However, it can be difficult to tell if it’s the right choice for you because the tone can vary quite a bit from one guitar to the next.


When choosing a fretboard material for your guitar, you need to consider what it is made from and whether or not it’s durable. The materials you choose for your fingerboard are essential to your sound and playability. It should also be a material that is easy to care for and maintain.

There are many different types of materials used for guitar fretboards. These can range from natural woods to artificial products. Each type of material has specific qualities that contribute to a guitar’s sound and playability.

Richlite is a manufactured fretboard material that’s been around for over 70 years and is a trendy alternative to ebony. This paper phenolic material is made from recycled paper and is an acoustically superior and sustainable option for many guitarists.

Richlite, like ebony, is incredibly durable and can withstand temperature changes without breaking down. The material is also resistant to chipping when refretting and is a good choice for small-shop luthiers and large-scale manufacturers.

Unlike natural wood, Richlite does not absorb oils from your hands. This makes it easier to clean off with a soft cloth and avoids using oil-based cleaners or fingerboard conditioners.

While Richlite is an excellent material for your fretboard, it requires regular maintenance. It is best to choose a cleaning product that’s compatible with Richlite. The wrong product can damage the material and make it challenging to repair.

The best product to clean your Richlite fretboard is a simple wipe with a cloth and water. This will help keep the material looking and smelling clean while keeping it safe to play on.

Another option for your guitar is a fretboard made from a carbon fiber composite called Micarta. This material is similar to Richlite and has a smooth surface that looks and feels very much like ebony. It’s a trendy choice for Martin and Taylor and has received positive feedback from players, even those who prefer to stick with traditional woods.

In 2012, Gibson decided that obtaining ebony was no longer cost-effective and began using Richlite as a replacement. This was a significant move for the famous guitar brand, meaning that one less ebony tree is harvested each time a Richlite fretboard is manufactured.

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