How To Polish Your Guitar Frets

If you maintain your guitar properly, you will tremendously increase the lifespan of that guitar. One of the key ways you can maintain your guitar is by polishing its frets. In this article, we’re going to show you how to polish your guitar frets. 

How To Polish Your Guitar Frets

Photo by Jeremy Allouche on Unsplash

Why Should You Polish Your Guitar Frets?

Polishing your guitar’s fret is needed in guitar maintenance. This is because the cleaner the frets are, the better and more enjoyable your playing is. This is especially if you love to bend your strings. 

Remember how smooth your string bending was when you first bought the guitar? Exactly. It’s because of the clean and polished guitar frets were. So, cleaning and polishing those frets will bring that back to that buttery smooth bending feel. 

Alright! Now that we know why we need to polish our guitar frets, let’s now look at how to go about the whole process. It’s not as hard as it seems. Just sit back, take a deep breath, and get ready to polish your guitar frets. 

Polishing The Guitar — How To Polish Your Guitar

Step 1 — Remove The Guitar Strings

Before you polish your guitar’s frets, you’ll need to remove all of its strings. That way, you have easy access to all of the frets. You definitely don’t want to have to start fiddling with strings to get access to the strings. 

Step 2 — Choosing The Right Method For You

The next time after removing your strings is to determine what method you want to use to polish the frets. You can use, a basic fret cleaning kit, steel wool, micromesh finishing abrasives or 3m polishing papers.

Basic Fret Cleaning Kit

So there are four main things you’re going to need for this process:

  1. Frine Fret polish
  2. Fingerboard guards
  3. Microfiber cloth
  4. Cotton wool or towel

Music Nomad MN124 FRINE Fret Polishing Kit

However, if you don’t want to have to go out and get all these tools one after another, you can simply get the kit shown above. Click on the image above to buy the fret cleaning kit that comes with everything you’ll need to polish your frets.

Process

Wrap the microfiber cloth around your finger and drop a very tiny drop of polish on it. 

Tape over your fretboard, leaving only the frets exposed. This would prevent polish from touching the fretboard. 

With mild pressure, rub the polish across each fret, making sure to polish the sides too. 

While you’re cleaning, the polish might begin to turn black, that’s a good sign. It means it’s removing the specks of dirt, just like we wanted. 

Remove the tapes. 

Buff of the frets with cotton wool or a towel. Just like you did when applying the polish, wipe with mild pressure both the top and sides of the fret to remove the polish. 

At this point, black stuff should be coming off the fret to reveal a mirror-like shine. If there’s no shine, don’t be afraid to repeat the process. 

Do this for all the frets on your guitar.

Restring the guitar. 

Bend away!

Caution!

If you have a maple fretboard, don’t clean either the frets or the fretboard with oil soap. Maple is very light-colored and the oil will easily stain it. And that stain is almost impossible to come off. 

If you have a maple fretboard, it’s better to use the other methods we talk about later in this article. 

On the other hand, if your guitar has a finished fretboard, then oil soap is the best option for you. Using the other methods in this article might scratch the fretboard’s finish. So, unless you can get your tapes to cover every nook and cranny, it’s better to stick to oil. 

Steel Wool 

#0000 Steel Wool 4 Pads

Steel wool is the more traditional way to do fret polishing. It does a great job. However, it sheds a lot. This shedding leaves tiny slivers and shavings everywhere. So, if you do intend using this method, then you have to be super careful.

The best type of steel wool to use is 0000, which is the finest grade of steel wool. Do not use any other grade. 

The process of cleaning is very similar to the one we’ve talked about earlier. So, just use that process but insert steel wool where you see frine polish. 

However, before you start, ensure that your pickups are well-covered, this is because many pickups have magnets inside them and as such, they can easily pick up the slivers of steel wool lying around. 

Micromesh Finishing Abrasives

Micro-Mesh Finishing Set

These have a similar feel to sandpaper. Like sandpaper, the have a fine abrasive side. The only difference is that this makes use of rubberized cloth backing and not paper. It works really well and is quite flexible.

Micromesh Finishing Abrasives are available in different grits. Using two different grits on each fret should do the trick. Typically, these grits are 2400, then 4000, in that order. 

This is probably the easiest way to clean your guitar frets. It doesn’t take much time, and it doesn’t require much cleaning afterward. However, this does come at a price. Which brings us to the one downside of micromesh- It’s quite expensive!

If you do have the money, though, this is definitely the way to go. 

Polishing Paper

Cool Tools - 3M Polishing Paper - Complete Set

These are similar to micromesh but not as easy to use. They are thin fabrics that are also available in different grits, with different colors representing each grit. Most people use a 600-grit, followed by a 1200-grit. 

However, that’s not a rule of thumb. You can try it out for yourself and find out what works for you. 

Step 3 — Restring Your Guitar

Now that you’re done polishing your guitar, it’s time to restring it and get to playing. If you don’t know how to restring a guitar on your own, we’ve got you covered. Watch the video below:

Conclusion

Now that you know all there is to know about polishing your guitar frets, it’s time to go out there and actually polish them. Make them shine! Make sure you can see your reflection in each fret, lol. 

Anyways, till next time, keep bending. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *