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11/21/2008 @ 04:20 PM: I'm frequently asked about safe and thorough ways to clean and condition guitar necks, so I've opted to simply publish that info here to my website/blog to hopefully help others. From having owned and maintained so many Peavey Wolfgang guitars over the years, I've done a lot of experimenting with different methods and products.

Here's an approach I've found works very well for cleaning and maintaining your Wolfgang neck, or any guitar neck that is only oil-finished. (This method can also be applied to just the fingerboard of guitar necks that have a hard finished backside.)

*Remove the old strings from your guitar. Remember to block off or remove the tremolo if you have one, as it will otherwise "pop" out from spring tension and possibly damage the finish (most common with Floyd Rose tremolos).

*In a small bowl, mix a small amount of Murphy's Oil Soap (available at most hardware stores) with an equal amount of water. Use either a small bristled brush (like a fingernail brush) or a non-scratch Scotch-Brite pad and soak it in the soap/water mix. Lightly use the brush or pad to go over the entire neck and fingerboard in small circles. One pass should be enough, but you can do a quick second pass if the neck is especially dirty. Remember to not apply much pressure, as both the brush and pad can be abrasive.

*Immediately use a clean towel to thoroughly wipe off the excess soap/water mix on the neck. Allow the neck to dry for several minutes.

*Apply a light coat of lemon oil (also available at most hardware stores) to the entire neck and fingerboard. Allow it to dry for several minutes, then gently wipe off the excess.

*Re-string your guitar.

*Try to have this entire process completed in no more than one hour (from the time you remove the old strings to the time you put the new strings on). You don't want to damage the neck from a lack of counter-tension to the truss rod.

I've found most lemon oils leave a little residue anywhere from 12-48 hours after you condition the neck with them. I've also started experimenting with applying a light coat of Howard Feed-N-Wax Beeswax & Orange Oil Wood Preserver. The original "finish" applied to the Wolfgang necks was similar to Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil and gunstock wax. I've been finishing my custom guitar necks with Tru-Oil and discovered the Feed-N-Wax serves as a nice sealer. It is not something that needs to be applied regularly, though.

I've re-conditioned very dirty Wolfgang necks and maintained several others from using the processes above. Unfortunately the dirt is just a matter-of-fact when it comes to necks without a hard finish, but you can definitely thwart the build-up if you clean and condition the neck regularly.

thumbnail 001thumbnail 002thumbnail 003thumbnail 004Photo Chronology: 1996 to Today
thumbnail 005thumbnail 006thumbnail 007thumbnail 008Please feel free to peruse these memories from the AT photo archives.

Andrew Thomas