Bass Cleaning/maintenance

Hi all

Not sure if this is the right place to post this so feel free to move it if wrong.

I’m just curious about cleaning and maintenance of various types of finish. Specifically the difference between cleaning a gloss finish or a dull/ matte finish.

My questions are :-

  1. How often to clean?
  2. Using instrument polish on matte/ dull finish?
  3. Contact cleaners on pots/ electronics?
  4. Fretboard cleaning gloss and natural wood?

I’m sure there’s a wealth of knowledge with you all and if anyone has the answers or pointers I would love to hear them.

Thanks for your time :slight_smile:


Some reading materials:


@Mike_NL pretty much summed it up. I just wanted to say that I do love the look of freshly oiled rosewood.

If you don’t find the answers in those threads, feel free to ask more questions. There are plenty of folks here to help.


Thanks for the informative links, it gave me plenty of answers (even for questions I hadn’t thought to ask… Didn’t think the gold hardware would tarnish from touching).

From what I’ve gathered guitar cleaner is ok for all finishes and lemon oil is good for fretboard but not to leave it soak in too much.

I’m changing the strings on my K5 tomorrow so will pick up some wirewool and masking tape to do the frets. (Looking at the bass I think it has it’s original strings on it and the frets aren’t as bright as I would’ve thought)

If anyone has anymore tips please post them my way.

Thanks all

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I have managed to over oil a fretboard. It actually took some effort to get to that point. :rofl: It took many, many, rounds of reapplication. If you do a single round of application, you can let it sit without worry.

The wirewool breaks up and will stick to your pickups. If you go this route, make sure you tape up the pickups to make it easier to clean up. There is stuff you can get that is specific for polishing frets. @John_E likes the Gorgomyte Fretboard Conditioning Cloth.

There is also a hard putty I’ve seen for this but I can’t think of the name right now. If it comes to me, I’ll come back and name it.


Thanks for that, I’ll have a look online for the cloth and if in doubt I’ll tape over and around the pickups and air dust after using wool.

Thanks again

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Just found this video while doing a quick Google search.

How often should you clean anything? :slight_smile: I give my basses a full cleaning maybe once a year? usually some time in winter. I play them, i really don’t look at them all that much…The interval is getting longer as they get older :joy: The rest of the year I might give it a quick wipe with a microfiber cloth and i use music nomad string fuel on the strings.

A gloss finish, esp (poly)urethane coatings require similar care to an automobile finish. Do not use polish on a matte finish unless you want it to stop being matte. There are quitar and bike/automotive matte finish cleaners available, I use a microfibre cloth with either water and a little dish soap, or window cleaner. As the matte finish starts to wear, it will get shiny; there’s not a lot you can do about that.

I don’t clean my pots unless i find that they’re scratchy, i’ve only had to do it on one used guitar I bought. DeoxIT is very good, i just used some electronic contact cleaner I already had.

Keep your hands clean and you won’t have to clean your fretboard very much :slight_smile: Most bare wood fretboards can be cleaned with ronson lighter fluid/naptha if they’re extremely dirty. I just use a fretboard oil product and that gets them clean enough. Depending on the fretboard and how dirty it is, i like Fender custom shop fingerboard remedy, music nomad f-one oil or d’addario hydrate. If it’s got a coating on it like most maple necks, just wipe it with a wet microfibre cloth and maybe some dish soap. For polishing my frets, i use some chrome polish on a cloth. Mine don’t get that dirty and I really don’t care that much :laughing:

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I use abrasive pads instead, don’t break up as much as wire wool, non magnetic anyway, just dusts off :wink:

Quick rub over the frets with that and polish with Autosol metal polish

Dunlop fingerboard care kit :ok_hand:

Dab the oil on and rub it in, wipe the excess off, then done :+1:

Side note, if you get Schaller strap locks, keep the plastic container they come in, the lid’s great for looping over one of the edges with a strip of abrasive pad to scrub the fretboard and get right up to the edges of the frets :wink:


Simple but aggravating issue…strap peg screws continually coming loose!! Using a Lekato strap (have tried with and without the rubber locks)
Best way to correct? Larger screws? Should I redrill holes for larger screw?
Bass is an entry level Squire Precision I bought as a package.
Again, simple problem but is driving me CRAZY!!!

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Wood glue and toothpicks. Am I missing anything @Barney ?


No, it’s a simple fix. No special tools required.

Similar thing for stripped pick guard holes


That was going to be my suggestion lol. If you use a larger screw, you’re just making a larger hole and if you decide to upgrade to strap locks, the screws that come with those won’t fit.


Thanks!! That helped…


Who are all you people who keep toothpicks around? I haven’t seen a toothpick in like 20 years :joy:


Figured I’d throw my 2 cents in here. I had asked Joe Kruse this question. he had helped coordinate the finishing and delivery of my Carl Thompson Bass. For those who arent familiar with him, he works with Carl allot, and is the proprietor of MBJ Guitars:

I had asked how best to maintain my CT. He recommended Howard’s Feed and Wax. I’ve seen it mentioned on the Luitier subreddit several times as well. I’ve cleaned my CT twice now since I’ve gotten in. I guess thats pretty in line with twice a year. I really like the Feed and Wax, and use it now on pretty much everything that has a wood oil finish.

Of course if you have a painted finish, you’ll need to use something else. Pretty much any decent cleaning/polishing product should do the trick.

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I keep my wooden toothpicks at any of many nearby grocery stores. They just charge me a small fee each time I ask to bring them home.


Man, that’s way too much trouble and i usually need something at like 2am :joy:

Whenever i need a “toothpick” I just steal a stick from an old sushi mat :laughing: once upon a time, it was matchsticks that people used, they’re way better than toothpicks :slight_smile:


But do they hold a screw?

Ah! That is the bass question.

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Thanks everyone for the tips and advice this is the finished result of cleaning and re stringing the ibanez, I bought her second hand so there was some scuffs and some of the matte finish has worn off but I think I done well.