One of the simplest way to maintain your guitar is to clean and moisturise the fingerboard and bridge. As these parts are commonly made from rosewood and ebony, they need periodic nourishing to prevent cracks, splits, splintering and whatever problems found with overly dried wood.
I do this about once a year on my guitars. I can make do with such a long service span because my stuffs are well taken care of to begin with. 🙂
However, many players choose to overlook this simple and effective way to prolong their instrument’s life. This gory sight is actually quite common in the old guitars I come across.
You can see that the dirt and gunk have already built up on the first few frets. Yucks.
With plenty of lemon oil and tender massaging with a soft rag, this can be achieved.
What a world of difference! Although the deep gorges left by fingernails are still present, the fingerboard looks much cleaner and makes the guitar more pleasant to play. Of course I can still fill up the gorges with wood dust, but hey, this is an old beater guitar, leave it be. 🙂
While we’re at it, don’t forget to apply lemon oil on the bridge too. It is usually made of the same material as the fretboard and needs equal attention before it cracks and splits.
Big disclaimer: Maple fingerboards do not require oiling as maple is usually “finished” with gloss or even “roasted”.
*photo from Crafter Guitars FB page.