I'm looking to polish the fretboard but I wanted to know what this was made out of first. The guitar was made by a small company, no website with all the make info, hoping it's easily identifiable.

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  • Probably rosewood. You probably don't want to polish it, just clean and condition it with fretboard oil or mineral oil. Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 11:42
  • Looks like rosewood to me. Frets need dressing at the same time, it seems.
    – Tim
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 12:15
  • The second fret looks pretty flat-topped and might benefit from a re-crown, while the first fret looks generally a bit worn. Jazzie3 hasn't stated the age of the instrument or the time played, but I've occasionally scraped the fretboard of a dirty guitar to get the filth off. My workflow is to clean obvious gunk away with naptha, scrape the board with a safety-razor blade (with the other side taped off), clean the board again with naptha and an old toothbrush and then oil the board. I use lemon oil, though I've seen a barrage of other oils touted online.
    – ABragg
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 12:50

1 Answer 1


That definitely looks like rosewood. The indicators for me are the dark colour (though rosewood can vary) and the long, open grain in the wood.

I wouldn't polish the rosewood, per se, as I'm not convinced it can be done. Guitarists and luthiers tend to oil rosewood fretboards, though some seem to obsess with this. Over-oil a fretboard and you risk loosening the frets by turning the wood surrounding the tangs into mush. Rosewood is an intrinsically oily wood and if the fretboard isn't visibly dry, which can sometimes result in a pale, ashy appearance, then I would leave it alone. Rosewood cannot really be made glossy, like a polished finish.

  • 1
    A small amount of fingerboard oil can be used to clean an open wood fingerboard without over oiling. Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 14:12

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