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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / even up the color on rosewood finger board



Nov 27th, 2016 10:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've got a 2000 MIM Standard Strat with a rosewood board and the color is getting pretty uneven. There are light streaks under the top 3 strings pretty much all the way to the 12th fret and the whole 1st fret is much lighter than the rest. I oil the board about once a year. What can I use to just even up the color. I am not trying to get the whole board darker - just a touch up to even things up.

Contributing Member

Irishman in Paris

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Nov 28th, 2016 04:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

Honestly, the answer is "not a lot". I think this is just the rosewood that mother nature gave you. Short of making the whole thing look like ebony, it'll be tough to only colour the lighter parts to accurately match the darker parts there.

Finger oils and dirt will darken rosewood where you play the most, and that can be lightened a little with sandpaper and steel wool. However, short of pulling all the frets it can be tricky to get an even result at each fret position and in a few months it will revert back to what you had before anyway. A paste of oxalic acid (e.g. Barkeeper's Friend) will clean dirt engrained unlacquered maple maple back to almost raw white but I have no idea what it would do too rosewood or even if that would help in this case.

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Nov 28th, 2016 04:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

Since recommended to me by Ampeg in 1972 for my Dan Armstrong Ampeg I've used Simonize Fine Wax for Cars and Floors...a pure carnuba wax, with no cleaners.

Today it's available as "SC Johnson Paste Wax." A can lasts me decades and it's the best thing on fretboards I've ever found. (and great for waxing the guitar.)

Three or so coats on the board, and a refreshing every 5 years or so.

Unlike oil or other conditioners, this lasts.


USA / Pennsylvania

Nov 29th, 2016 10:49 AM   Edit   Profile  


I have a 2000 American Strat (Roadhouse). It came with a rosewood board, about medium brown in color and fairly uniform. I've applied food-grade mineral oil (from the drugstore) on the board at successive string changes...and then every other, and then every third string change. I apply the mo with a cotton cloth and rub it into the board. The board will have a wet look after application, and will then dry...let it soak in overnight...wipe down with dry cloth the next day. The board now looks almost like ebony and is very supple to the touch. I reapply mo every 3rd or 4th string change to maintain it's look and feel.

Try it...you may like it. It will definitely darken the boards. The more often you apply it, the darker the board become to a point.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Nov 30th, 2016 10:35 AM   Edit   Profile  

You should be able to lessen the streakiness by painting the light areas with Fiebing's Professional Oil Leather Dye applied with an artist's brush. Paint it on, let it sit for a while, wipe off. Repeat as needed. You can mix colors if needed.

You probably won't get a totally even color, but you should be able to lessen the contrast between the light and dark areas.




Dec 2nd, 2016 09:54 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for the suggestions. This is exactly what I wanted to hear. I really like this guitar and did not want to do any trial and error off roading with this one and mess it up. regards


LA , Calif

I try my best
Jan 6th, 2017 10:06 PM   Edit   Profile  

I never liked using oil on a rosewood board.It may help the board from drying out , it concerns me seeping into the fret tangs and perhaps changing things. I agree with Steve Dallman on the paste wax I used it on a guitar I built and it worked very well.

Contributing Member

Wichita, KS USA

It's all gravy from here on...
Jan 7th, 2017 05:35 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've always liked using oil on a rosewood fretboard. I have some "Gibson Fretboard Conditioner" (mineral oil) that I use and also use lemon oil. The bonus with the lemon oil is it smells good. Oiling a rosewood fretboard has been recommended by guitar builders and experts forever. Dan Erlewine and builders from A-Z recommend oiling your fretboard.

Modal Magic
Contributing Member

MBJ, Highway Hound.

You Can't Bend It Aussie!
Jan 7th, 2017 11:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

I only oil my boards when required with a mineral oil. I used to do it at string change or about once a year. I now only do it if the board seems to be drying out but playing them often negates it IMO because the oils in my fingers seems to do the trick.

Paul L

New Jersey, USA

It looks just like a Telefunken U-47!
Jan 8th, 2017 06:13 PM   Edit   Profile  

Personally I like a little bit of streaking and color variation in my rosewood. Gives it character. Even untreated ebony looks nice, in my opinion.



Jan 13th, 2017 01:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

Paul this isn't about natural streaking in the wood.

This is a factory stained board that has lost the stain directly under 3 of the strings from the nut to the 12th fret over the last 17 years. Looks like three parallel light chalk lines.

This in no way looks natural and in fact it makes the RW board look like some kinda fake. There's nothing wrong with a worn look but this looks just wrong.

I usually use a little mineral oil about once a year to condition the board but I am going to try some leather dye to even up the stain when it warms up and I can work in a better ventilated area. Thanks for the tips


Hawaii, USA

Perfect is the enemy of good enough
Jul 26th, 2017 03:42 PM   Edit   Profile  

My 07 MiM fretboard has some nice variations in it's color. It's got a "wave" for lack of better terminology, of lighter colored wood that starts at the first fret bass E side, waves to about the 7th fret upper e string, and then back down to the bass side all the way to the end of the neck. It's natural as far as I can see, and actually a cosmetic plus. Others may find it unattractive, but it's good to me.



Jul 26th, 2017 09:50 PM   Edit   Profile  


FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / even up the color on rosewood finger board

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