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Thread: Cleaning dark stains from maple neck

  1. #1
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    Cleaning dark stains from maple neck

    It was NGD yesterday, but before I show it off, the guitar needed a good cleaning.

    Spent some time buffing out swirl and pick scratches from the surface, cleaning up the bridge... next is cleaning up the fretboard. I already went over it with 0000 steel wool, but I'm left with some dark stains in the maple.

    Anyone have suggestions on how to get this cleaned up before I do the gunstock oil treatment?

    These are the before shots...
    Cleaning dark stains from maple neck-img_0971-jpg
    Cleaning dark stains from maple neck-img_0970-jpg

    The neck looks a little cleaner than what's shown, but still has the dark stains.

    In the past, I've used 800/1000/1500 sandpaper to clean this type of thing up. Just wondering if there were other methods that you've tried and used? Sometimes I feel like I'm working on guitars way more than playing them.
    Last edited by kimonostereo; 10-07-2017 at 05:20 PM.
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  2. #2
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    I'm interested in hearing what others have to say. I have similar dark stains on my Reflex maple neck, and so far I haven't been able to remove them. Simply using a slightly damp piece of cloth removes some of it, but it'll quickly return.

    Personally I'm thinking that's probably just how it is when you actually use your guitar with a maple neck... it doesn't hurt anything besides the look afaik.
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  3. #3
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    Sandpaper can indeed help. Murphy's oil soap can also help a bit. However, I haven't found anything that completely removes it. Sandpaper and the oil soap make a difference, without question. I just think it is the nature of unfinished maple.

  4. #4
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    Over the years my '94 pinkburst AL developed dark stains too. When I bought it used in '08 it was possible to remove them with 0000 steelwool and/or 800-1000 sandpaper. But now the stains are permanent

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  5. #5
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    I had a Silo Spec that was somewhat dirty, never was able to fully restore it.

    I just make sure I play with clean hands and do an annual Murphys and Gunstock Oil & Wax treatment and mine current maple necks are staying clean
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeller View Post
    I had a Silo Spec that was somewhat dirty, never was able to fully restore it.

    I just make sure I play with clean hands and do an annual Murphys and Gunstock Oil & Wax treatment and mine current maple necks are staying clean
    Ive noticed my sterling 5 bass neck is starting to darken. I kind of like it but i do try and my instruments clean. Will have to try the murphys and gunstock oil.

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  7. #7
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    I personally like the look of used dirty maple fretboards... adds mojo
    Nice guitar btw.

  8. #8
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    There's always Erie Ball Wonder Wipes Fretboard Conditioner...

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrickGlass View Post
    Sandpaper can indeed help. Murphy's oil soap can also help a bit. However, I haven't found anything that completely removes it. Sandpaper and the oil soap make a difference, without question. I just think it is the nature of unfinished maple.
    With the Murphy's soap I had success with a stiff tooth brush and lots of elbow grease.
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  10. #10
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    Don't know if this would work on that fretboard but I use naptha on my Suhr(john uses it too) and it does wonders

  11. #11
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    Naptha can be good. It really helps make the dirt and grime more soluble. Dan Erlewine uses it to break up crud on guitars that have been ridden hard and put away wet.

    I used a soft toothbrush and a 1:1 mixture of water and murphys oil soap to gently tease the grunge out of the pores when I refinished the neck on my SR4H, which I have since sold. It REALLY helped.
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  12. #12
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    One day - One day ..... I'll get a "scrap neck" off my mate. Make sure that the maple is grungy.

    Then I'll initially clean using Murphy's etc and fine sand it - no doubt I will have a neck infinitely better but still
    has a stain - then I'm going to try a bleach - a propitiatory bleach and some good ol' peroxide.

    See what happens!! Trouble is I can't see people plucking up the courage to try a bleach should it work - it'll be interesting though lol!
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  13. #13
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    Hey all, Thanks for all the replies!

    I've used naptha for years but it will only remove surface crud on unfinished maple necks.

    To Spudmurphy: Yes! I think I'll try this on one of my old discarded bare maple strat necks. What type of bleach would you suggest? The main issue with bleach is making sure to wash all of it off the surface. I may try hydrogen peroxide first.
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    2016 - Cutlass - Vintage Sunburst

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  14. #14
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    Murphy's oil soap and a rigid toothbrush. Mix 3/1 with water. Scrub, wipe, repeat........ It may take 3-4 times. Good luck.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kimonostereo View Post
    Hey all, Thanks for all the replies!

    I've used naptha for years but it will only remove surface crud on unfinished maple necks.

    To Spudmurphy: Yes! I think I'll try this on one of my old discarded bare maple strat necks. What type of bleach would you suggest? The main issue with bleach is making sure to wash all of it off the surface. I may try hydrogen peroxide first.
    i've never tried it on a guitar neck, but many years ago I tried it on a dark oak and got the colour to a really light finish, I'll see if I can remember what I used?
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