When taking care of your guitar, one area that often gets overlooked is the fretboard. Taking care of the fretboard is important because it’s where you press down on the strings to make different notes and sounds. One way to do this is by applying oil to the fretboard. But what oil should you use?

Here, I will discuss the different oils suitable for guitar fretboards and their specific benefits. Whether you have a rosewood, maple, or ebony fretboard, this information will help you make an informed decision and ensure your guitar stays in great shape for years.


Why Oil Your Fretboard?

Wood that has yet to be sealed likes to dry out over time. If the fretboard wood dries too much, it will crack and wear out. In the worst cases, the frets might not fit as well in the neck.

You can hold on to the wetness your fretboard is losing using natural oils like lemon or mineral oil. You must use a product made just for guitars when you clean your guitar. 

For example, furniture oil will not properly moisturize your guitar. Also, some oils may not work well with the metal on your strings, which could shorten their life.

What Oil To Use On Guitar Fretboard?

The fretboard is an important part of your guitar that must be properly cared for and maintained to ensure optimal playability and longevity. Choosing the correct oil for oiling the fretboard is critical. In this post, we will look at several oil options for guitar fretboards and present information to assist you in making an informed decision about which oil to use.

Lemon Oil

Lemon oil is a popular choice for cleaning and conditioning guitar fretboards. It is widely accessible and specially prepared for fretboard care. Lemon oil moisturizes the wood, keeps it from drying out, and enhances the natural beauty of the fretboard. Look for high-quality lemon oil developed for guitar fretboards to ensure compatibility and safety.

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is a popular solution for fretboard maintenance. It’s a clear, odorless oil that’s widely available. Mineral oil helps to condition the fretboard by hydrating it and preventing it from drying out or breaking. Ensure your mineral oil is food-grade and free of chemicals or perfumes.

Walnut Oil

Another natural choice for treating guitar fretboards is walnut oil. It is derived from walnut kernels and feeds and protects the wood. Walnut oil is popular due to its organic and non-toxic characteristics. Choose pure, food-grade walnut oil that is free of additives.

Linseed Oil

Linseed oil is a wood finish that is made from flaxseeds. While linseed oil can cure guitar fretboards, remember that raw linseed oil takes longer to dry. A more suitable choice is boiled linseed oil with drying agents added. However, use caution because certain boiled linseed oil products may contain additives that can harm the wood or finish.

Tung Oil

Tung oil comes from the seeds of the tung tree and is a natural oil. It is frequently used to polish wooden instruments. Tung oil offers great protection, improves the beauty of the wood, and is moisture resistant. Choose pure tung oil that has no additional solvents or drying agents.

How To Oil Your Fretboard?

The fretboard is where the player’s hands touch the strings, so keeping it clean and oiled is important so that playing is smooth and easy. Putting oil on the keyboard is another way to keep it in good shape.

Things To Need Oil Your Fretboard

You will only need a few things to oil your fretboard.

  • Guitar cleaning brush.
  • Soft clean cloth.
  • Fretboard oil.

What To Do

  •  Take the strings off the guitar before you oil the frets. 
  • Clean your guitar properly with a brush.
  • Then, wipe the fretboard with a clean, soft cloth and add a little oil. 
  • Pay extra attention to the area between the frets as you work the oil into the wood.
  • Once the oil is spread out evenly on the fretboard, use a second clean cloth to wipe off any extra. 
  • It’s important to clean the strings before putting them back on after oiling the fingerboard. 
  • Do it with a dry, clean cloth to wipe them down. Once the strings are clean, put them back on the guitar and tune it to the right sound. 

An important part of taking care of a guitar is oiling the frets. Because you did the above things, your fingerboard should stay in good shape for many years.

Things you need to consider before oiling the fretboard

Wood Compatibility:

Different fretboard timbers’ responses to lubricants may vary. While certain harder woods, like maple, might not need to be oil-finished, some porous woods, like rosewood and ebony, usually benefit from it.

Application Frequency:

Depending on your playing style, humidity levels, and climate, your guitar’s fretboard may require oiling more frequently. Generally speaking, oil the fretboard as needed or a few times a year.

Application Method:

Use a soft, lint-free cloth or applicator while applying oil to prevent scratching the wood. Apply a small amount of oil to the cloth and gently run over the entire length of the fretboard, taking extra care in the areas around the frets. Remove any surplus oil to avoid accumulation.

How often should you oil your fretboard?

In severe circumstances, an oversaturated fretboard may be just as harmful to your guitar as a dry one. For this reason, it’s important to remember that you should oil your fretboard sparingly.

The majority of manufacturers of commercial guitars advise oiling your fretboard once every six months. Some people have the habit of oiling their fretboard each time they replace their strings; this is not only a waste of oil but also risks harming your guitar. If this describes you, you should wait a few months before re-oiling your instrument.

Final Words On What Oil To Use On Guitar Fretboard

When caring for your guitar fretboard, choosing the right oil is essential. The type of wood and finish on your fretboard will determine the best oil to use. Whether you have an ebony, rosewood, or maple fretboard, specific oils can help maintain its condition and enhance its appearance.

By using the appropriate oil, you can prevent drying and cracking, protect against dirt and grime buildup, and prolong the lifespan of your fretboard. So, before you decide, research and consult with experts to find the perfect oil for your guitar fretboard. Happy playing!


Is olive oil good for oiling a guitar fretboard?

No. Olive oil or vegetable oil is not suggested for oiling guitar fretboards because they can go dry or rancid.

Is cleaning important before oiling your fretboard?

Yes. If you oil it with dirt, it may damage it early and affect the sound.

Can I use Vaseline on the fretboard?

Vaseline is petroleum jelly, which means minerals, such as petroleum. It will stick to your fingerboard and make it sticky. You should only use items made to “condition” fretboards if necessary.

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