Finger sweat's pH and sticky fretboard thoughts... (weird) - Jemsite
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 05:15 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Finger sweat's pH and sticky fretboard thoughts... (weird)

Hello everyone, I appreciate the time you take to read this weird thread and share some thoughts, I'll try to keep it simple.

Ever since I started playing guitar I always seem to be very profuse to leave fingerboards sticky and grimed after playing.
I have played a few guitars which seemed like they haven't been cleaned for years but they have this good, non sticky, slippery and superficial grime which I feel quite comfortable with, but if I play that guitar for a few days the good grime turns into bad, sticky grime, which seems to be absorbed somehow by the rosewood... as much as it happens with a very clean fretboard, I have also noticed this small white things... which I assume are very little pieces of dead skin that are left over the fretboard, the problem with this is that I no longer feel comfortable playing, it seems to affect playability and (believe it or not) sustain.

Yes, I have tried: washing my hands with soap before playing, cleaning the strings and fretboard EVERY time after playing, using dunlop's string cleaner after playing and even WASHING MY HANDS EVERY 20 MINUTES OR SO during my practice sessions, nothing has given any results.

The funny thing is I'm NOT a sweaty guy and I AM a pretty hygienic guy, my hands do not sweat that much when I'm playing, they do sweat but not like dripping sweat, they just feel a bit sweaty that's all.

I have friends who play their guitars for hours and NEVER clean their fretboards except every time they restring the guitar and they just use a normal cloth with a bit of water and that's it, they look amazing, I have used a ton of products and some steel wool everytime I restring but after a few days, the issue persists.

I did a bit of research about a few conditions that can cause people to corrode metal quicker that an average person with their sweat, but this is generally caused by extreme sweat and a condition named hyperhidrosis, which I'm sure I don't suffer from.

I have a pretty regular diet, I do not drink as much water as I should, but I do drink water during the day, I basically eat eggs for breakfast and some meat and vegetables for lunch and finally some cereal at night, with rice or soy milk, I am a lactose intolerant.

I think this sticky/corrosive sweat thing is not just in my fingers, as i remember I owned a car which had gray fabric interiors and my sweat actually caused the fabric to become kind of darker, even though I did wash my interiors from time to time, and also there was this sticky dark layer of whatever forming over the steering wheel! (very similar to what I leave on my guitars)

I finally have to point out that I have always owned rosewood fretboards, never maple nor ebony.

So the possible solutions I'm thinking of are:

1.-Try maple fingerboards and see if the grime, sticky stuff can be cleaned easier...
2.- I saw on ****** some product which claimed to stabilize your pH so if you use it every time before playing your guitar, the sweat wouldn't cause so much trouble. (I don't remember the name but maybe someone could enlighten me on some personal experiences with these kind of products?)
3.- Try an ebony fretboard?
4.- Any other thoughts?

Sorry for such a long explanation but i wanted to try and be as clear and explanatory as possible, any thoughts are appreciated, thanks.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 08:16 AM
 
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Re: Finger sweat's pH and sticky fretboard thoughts... (weird)

i know what you are talking about, i personally dont suffer from this problem, but i swear blind a friend of mine sweats industrial grade acid through his fingertips, years ago i let him borrow my les paul(never my ibby, wont let it out of my sight), i re strung it about a week before, he only had it for 2 weeks but when it came back all the strings were corroded and there was some nasty gunk on the fretboard, i mentioned it to him and he said that he had to change his strings every 3-4 weeks, bear in mind we were both only bedroom guitarists then. I've not lent him a guitar since that day.

Its just one of those things, i dont think there's a lot you can do about it though, although with age i think his problem has now gone
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 09:02 AM
 
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Re: Finger sweat's pH and sticky fretboard thoughts... (weird)

It sounds to me more like you're losing skin off your fingers, which would explain a buildup.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 09:17 AM
 
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Re: Finger sweat's pH and sticky fretboard thoughts... (weird)

I wonder if there is a product you could use on your rosewood that would seal the wood a little better? In other words, instead of just using the typical oils and fingerboard conditioners (bore oil, linseed, mineral, etc) there may be a product that also seals it a little better.

Currently, I'm trying out Stewart MacDonald's ColorTone Fretboard Finishing Oil <-- clicky

I only use it 1-2 times a year--when I do a serious deep cleaning of my fretboard. I can't guarantee it would "seal" the wood sufficiently to resolve your problem. However, that's what I'm getting at: maybe there IS a product out there that'll seal those rosewood pores a little better and make it more resistant to sweat and skin.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 05:38 PM
 
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Re: Finger sweat's pH and sticky fretboard thoughts... (weird)

Clear coat the fretboard maybe?
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Finger sweat's pH and sticky fretboard thoughts... (weird)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Takin' a Ride View Post
It sounds to me more like you're losing skin off your fingers, which would explain a buildup.
Yeah, you are absolutely right but not only that I think that it is a sum of skin with my corrosive sweat because how do you explain the grime build up on the steering wheel of my car? I don't do bendings on it...
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Finger sweat's pH and sticky fretboard thoughts... (weird)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LonePhantom View Post
Clear coat the fretboard maybe?
Might be a good idea, OR try clear coated maple fretboards?
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 09:10 PM
 
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Re: Finger sweat's pH and sticky fretboard thoughts... (weird)

I didn't know you could sweat out your fingertips? Oily maybe
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 11:36 PM
 
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Re: Finger sweat's pH and sticky fretboard thoughts... (weird)

I used to have this exact same problem as well. I HATED the way it felt when the strings and fretboard got sweaty/oily. It doesn't happen as often as it used to, but it still does happen. Some things I do:
I always wash my hands with soap before I pick up my guitar.
During the summer when it gets hot in the house, I have a fan pointed at my hands so I don't sweat as much (actually works pretty well).
Like you said you already do, if I feel my hands getting sweaty while practicing, I go and wash them.
If they get too grimy, I'll wipe them down with a GHS Treated String Cleaning Cloth, then I clean them with Dunlop Ultraglide String Cleaner, then wipe them with a wet paper towel to get rid of any excess. This actually works really well, keeps them feeling fresh for a week or sometimes two.

I also clean my fretboard with Music Nomad Fretboard F-ONE Oil once a month when I change strings (probably a bit too often, but does a great job of cleaning/revitalizing the wood).
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2013, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Finger sweat's pH and sticky fretboard thoughts... (weird)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GUITARMAGEDDON View Post
I didn't know you could sweat out your fingertips? Oily maybe
Trust me, I do sweat from my fingertips I just double checked, it sounds weird to me too!
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2013, 03:08 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Finger sweat's pH and sticky fretboard thoughts... (weird)

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Originally Posted by kfm946 View Post
I used to have this exact same problem as well. I HATED the way it felt when the strings and fretboard got sweaty/oily. It doesn't happen as often as it used to, but it still does happen. Some things I do:
I always wash my hands with soap before I pick up my guitar.
During the summer when it gets hot in the house, I have a fan pointed at my hands so I don't sweat as much (actually works pretty well).
Like you said you already do, if I feel my hands getting sweaty while practicing, I go and wash them.
If they get too grimy, I'll wipe them down with a GHS Treated String Cleaning Cloth, then I clean them with Dunlop Ultraglide String Cleaner, then wipe them with a wet paper towel to get rid of any excess. This actually works really well, keeps them feeling fresh for a week or sometimes two.

I also clean my fretboard with Music Nomad Fretboard F-ONE Oil once a month when I change strings (probably a bit too often, but does a great job of cleaning/revitalizing the wood).
Actually I prepare and oil (condition) my fingerboard every time I change strings, which is about every month, same as you, and this has definitely helped but the issue is still there, at least enough to consider it uncommon.

But I just did something very interesting which shall help me to clear out the doubts on wether the problem is the same on both woods, I just purchased a beautiful, oldie but goldie 540s with a maple fingerboard! (Errr... excuse for getting another s to my collection??? apparently...)
So I will play this thing every chance I get without touching the rosewood fingerboard 540s and let you know what the results are so if anyone else has the same problem they might find some useful info on this thread.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2013, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Finger sweat's pH and sticky fretboard thoughts... (weird)

By the way, the maple fingerboard on this new guitar does have some brownish stains on it, and it seems like the clear coat is practically worn off, I read both the sticky threads on cleaning maple fretboards and the amazing restoration job on that JEM77 done by HDS and also the tip regarding cleaning the maple fretboard with "simple green" I find it amazingly useful, but there is only ONE thing that seems to be unclear regarding this subject: once I'm through with the "cleaning" part, I would like to protect my fingerboard, I definitely do not want to put a clear coat on it with acrylic stuff or whatever, I basically want to know the difference between using Tung oil vs Carnauba wax to refinish it.

Any thoughts? (Or should I have started a new thread?)
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2013, 05:02 AM
 
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Re: Finger sweat's pH and sticky fretboard thoughts... (weird)

I let a local kid play my CST once and after he strummed around on it for about 15 min. After taking it back from him and playing it, my new strings suddenly felt old and dead. Some people just have a totally different pH level going on. My strings last me forever, this kids, probably not even 2 weeks. It is what it is as far as body chemistry. All I know is that when he comes over, most of my guitars get put away!
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2013, 11:40 AM
 
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Re: Finger sweat's pH and sticky fretboard thoughts... (weird)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErickMoral View Post
Yeah, you are absolutely right but not only that I think that it is a sum of skin with my corrosive sweat because how do you explain the grime build up on the steering wheel of my car? I don't do bendings on it...
Do you smoke? Almost every smoker's car I've ever been in has a lot of gunky buildup on the steering wheel, as does their keyboard, etc.

Also, do you wash your hands before playing or just start playing? I always wash my hands before playing.

Also, DO NOT use tung oil on a maple fretboard. It will actually make the stains worse. I made the mistake of doing this on a Jem fretboard once.

I would suggest stripping what remains of the clear by cleaning the board with something like ammonia, then re-sealing the board with a product like Minwax wipe-on poly.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-23-2013, 11:41 AM
 
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Re: Finger sweat's pH and sticky fretboard thoughts... (weird)

I used to have the same problem when I was younger, but it gradually went away. Now it's to the point that my boards and strings will stay clean and corrosion free for months without doing any more than wiping them down with a microfiber cloth after playing...

I think when you're younger your hormones wreak havoc on some of your bodily functions, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it until they even out
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