Guitar Wax: Why It Is So Important For Maintenance

Posted on November 28 2022

Guitar maintenance and good instrument hygiene are important parts of keeping your guitar sounding great. Neglecting to wax your guitar neck and fretboard makes it more susceptible to damage in the long run. Rosewood and ebony are both kinds of wood that benefit from a guitar wax, and neglect over time can permanently damage your guitar neck. A good-quality guitar wax keeps open-grained wood fretboards from cracking over time.

Guitar wax prevents damage by penetrating the bare wood and leaves a smooth finish to play on. During the process, you'll clean off any embedded dirt and sweat that has built up during your hours of playing. Apply the guitar wax to protect against future wear and tear as well. Guitar maintenance doesn't just mean setting up or changing out the hardware. Take care of your open-grain wood guitar by putting in the research and time to wax it properly.

What Does Guitar Wax Do?

There are several different types of waxes depending on whether you want to nourish your fretboard and guitar neck or stain a light-colored fretboard. While there are a lot of different opinions on what brand of wax to use, refrain from using things not specifically made for your guitar. Open-grained wood guitars waxed with oils that contain solvents can dry them out, causing permanent damage to the wood.

A rosewood fingerboard has gorgeous grains that can look lacklustre if they aren't taken care of. If you want to wax it, try Monty's Instrument Food Guitar Wax. Using a generous amount of guitar wax will keep your fretboard looking like new while protecting it from the wear and tear of your hand's natural oils. Other open-grained woods can also pop impressively with guitar wax. It's really not just for looks though and is an important part of guitar maintenance for wood electric guitars without a lacquer finish.

Check Out All-Natural Waxes

Most 'lemon' oils can dry out your fingerboard, and the shine can be less than impressive. Try out Monty's Instrument Food instead. Instrument Food seals in a natural smooth feel that has a lustre to it on any open-grained wood guitar. Unlike lemon oils, Monty's Instrument Food is all-natural. Solvents are effective at cleaning fretboards, but they can dry out open-grained wood. Don't even risk it. Instead, always use an all-natural guitar wax for your prized guitars.

Ready To Wax

When you're ready to wax and get that luscious feel on your guitar, you'll need a few supplies set up to make sure it goes smoothly. Have the following supplies on hand:

  • Several Clean Microfiber Cloths
  • Guitar Wax
  • An Old Toothbrush
  • Naphtha (Lighter Fluid)
  • Gloves

Once you've got all of this assembled, clean off your workspace. You need a clear, clean workspace that gives you plenty of room to manoeuvre around. 

  • Put the naphtha on the neck, and scrub it with your first cloth. At this stage, use the old toothbrush if the grime is really caked on.
  • Allow all of the naphtha to evaporate, and use a soft towel to work the Wax evenly into the fretboard.
  • Leave it for five minutes and buff off any excess with a clean towel.
  • Use chamois leather or a buffing wheel for an extra-shiny finish if you'd like. This step is optional!

Monty's Instrument Food Guitar Wax also lubricates guitar nuts, lubricates screw holes, and it seals bare guitar necks and bodies safely for luthiers working with open-grained woods. With no solvents, Monty's Instrument Food doesn't dry out the wood and is easily removed without leaving a sticky residue behind. Need enough for an industrial amount of work? Get Instrument Food in Monty's coffee mug, which lasts six times as much as a tin.

Relic Your Fretboard

Want a good dark relic look for your wood guitar? The lightest shades of grain can look awesome when they're darkened. A lot of guitar players want to relic and darken their guitar to give it that well-played, older, rich look. Staining your fretboard is a permanent change to your instrument, and no matter of wishing or cleaning will get it back to a lighter colour, so make sure it's what you want to do. Prepare for the process by reading through the instructions and testing the stain on a small piece of the fretboard before you begin.

If your wood guitar is made of Rosewood or Pau Ferro and you want a rich shade like Brazilian rosewood, Monty's Montypresso Relic wax is the perfect colour. Want to make your guitar neck look like it's been played all over the world, and give it that grubby feel of long hours of practice? Use Montypresso for that! Open-grained guitar necks can be stained on the back for a lush, dark look. Again, stains permanently change the look of your instrument, so before you commit, we advise you to test a small spot so you get what you want.

Montypresso Wax

Want an in-depth tutorial on how to stain your fingerboard? Check out Matt giving a full tutorial over on YouTube here! You'll need the same supplies as you need for the Instrument Food Wax, but with extra caution. Montypresso will stain workspaces if it drops onto them, so make sure to cover the workspace underneath so you don't end up with brown stains on your workbench.

  • After you put on your gloves, put lighter fluid on the neck generously.
  • Use an old toothbrush or paper towel to scrub it in and dislodge dirt and grime.
  • Allow all of the naphtha to evaporate.
  • Wax into a small test area of the board to get a feel for it. When you're happy with it, use a fresh soft, clean towel to rub the wax into the board.
  • Let set for at least ten minutes to penetrate and darken the wood, but if you can leave it overnight you'll get a better colour.
  • Use another clean, soft towel and buff the excess off the board.
  • To achieve darker shades, go through several stages of this process over time. Keep rubbing your wood at regular intervals to darken it.

Montypresso only works on open-grained woods, and the shade results may vary due to the type of wood. Make sure to use a generous amount of the relic wax on your fingerboard and you'll be on your way to a dark, fantastic-looking fretboard in no time.

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