Maple fretboard discolored- or maybe dirty?

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Maple fretboard discolored- or maybe dirty?

Postby ibasso » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:44 pm

Yet another fretboard cleaning question. (I think)

I recently acquired a 2007 L2500 Tribute with position stickers on the fretboard. I removed them and tried cleaning the fretboard - which helped a bit - but you can still see the lighter-colored squares where the stickers used to be. I tried using soft cloths with lighter fluid; mineral oil; 50, 70 and 99% alcohol; Windex; dish soap; Goo Gone gel; spit; nail brush and soap; and baby wipes.

Anyone else ever deal with this problem?
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Re: Maple fretboard discolored- or maybe dirty?

Postby Ken Baker » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:39 pm

ibasso wrote:Yet another fretboard cleaning question. (I think)

I recently acquired a 2007 L2500 Tribute with position stickers on the fretboard. I removed them and tried cleaning the fretboard - which helped a bit - but you can still see the lighter-colored squares where the stickers used to be. I tried using soft cloths with lighter fluid; mineral oil; 50, 70 and 99% alcohol; Windex; dish soap; Goo Gone gel; spit; nail brush and soap; and baby wipes.

Anyone else ever deal with this problem?


If you removed the markers and can no longer feel any adhesive, you're probably looking at wood that isn't discolored from exposure to sunlight (UV) because it was under the markers. Nothing to be done to fix it unless you have the neck refinished.

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Re: Maple fretboard discolored- or maybe dirty?

Postby ibasso » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:34 pm

Ken Baker wrote:If you removed the markers and can no longer feel any adhesive, you're probably looking at wood that isn't discolored from exposure to sunlight (UV) because it was under the markers. Nothing to be done to fix it unless you have the neck refinished.


Thanks, Ken. I was afraid that was the case.

Oh well, maybe it will even out a bit in time. I have no wish to refinish the fretboard at this point and the neck is otherwise fine. Here is a very bad picture.

Ya know, I bought this bass online from an older guy, I think he was just getting out of playing. It was at a good but fair price, and was in a case. I made assumptions, didn't haggle or demand too much, and I'm sure he didn't realize what was going on under the stickers. I wanted to be fair to him, but wasn't fair to myself.

I should have known better- but maybe I should just be happy. Perhaps the real lesson here is to worry less about cosmetics and practice more.
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Re: Maple fretboard discolored- or maybe dirty?

Postby Ken Baker » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:51 pm

Wood will fade or change its shade if left exposed to UV for extended periods. Exposure to air can have an effect as well, but the effect is so small it's not worth noting unless the wood in question is bare. In the case of G&L, it doesn't matter whether it's a USA or import instrument. Furniture will do this as well.

A poly clear coat can help to mitigate this UV-caused discoloration, but it doesn't eliminate it. Obviously, an opaque case of some sort does.

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Re: Maple fretboard discolored- or maybe dirty?

Postby RocketMusic » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:54 pm

I would hope it evens out over time. I wouldn't advocate placing it in direct sunlight for a long time, but I would leave it sitting out in a stand rather than stored in a case. Maybe in a room that gets some sunlight during the day?

You may want to consider controlling the humidty level in the room if you do set it such that sunlight hits the neck for an hour or more each day. My concern would be having the wood dry out and shrink, leaving you with a case of fret sprout to add to your woes. Something as simple as placing a large cup of water in the room might do the trick. Or you can get as elaborate as you want trying to control the humidity level.

Good luck!
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Re: Maple fretboard discolored- or maybe dirty?

Postby ibasso » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:23 pm

Good advice-

I will work on this.

Thanks, Ken and Greg.
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