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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: removing fingerboard tape residue


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wormbower - Posted - 01/01/2008:  21:53:39


A teacher put tape on my fingerboard to mark the top 4 key positions. It helped, but I'm ready to wean myself now. And two of the tapes are slipping, anyway. I pulled off one of the tapes, but it left sticky residue on the fingerboard that I can't seem to wipe away with my fingers. How can I remove it safely?

Paul

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. -Faith Petric
The chief enemy of creativity is common sense -Pablo Picasso

John Gent - Posted - 01/01/2008:  22:22:42


I used denatured alcohol. Didn't seem to do any harm at all. In fact, I'll clean my strings from time to time with it.

- John

wormbower - Posted - 01/01/2008:  22:28:32


So, that would be any standard rubbing alcohol? Like 70% ethanol or 70% isopropanol? That won't damage the wood of my fingerboard? Sorry to be following up--I just don't want to damage anything (and I'm a scientist--we're naturally paranoid...). Thanks.

Paul

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. -Faith Petric
The chief enemy of creativity is common sense -Pablo Picasso

krugwaffle - Posted - 01/01/2008:  23:25:42


I've used 90% isopropyl before without harmful effects. Just be sure and test it first on an inconspicuous part of the fingerboard. Some fingerboards are dyed wood which may be discolored by alcohol.

If it is affected by the alcohol, try a small amount of baby oil (mineral oil) on a rag. Again, be sure and test on a small area before soaking the board with it. It shouldn't remove your stain or discolor the ebony. Naptha is a good bet too. Might cause the fingerboard to look dry or chalky after it evaporates but that's easily remedied by reimpregnating it with the oils from your hand. Some people use parafin wax to darken and polish their fingerboards after cleaning. Gives them a satin sheen and not a high polish.

If you use alcohol, be sure and prevent contact with the varnish on the fiddle itself. Alcohol and many other solvents will immediately attack and dissolve the finish on contact. I use the minimal exposure possible when cleaning with alcohol. Take a small 2 inch square of paper towel and drip some alcohol on it. Squeeze the towel into a tight wad to distribute the fluid and squeeze out any excess alcohol. Wrap the wad in some dry paper towel and squeeze to remove the last possible liquid before using the small square to wipe anything on the fiddle. Basically I leave only vapors to do the work. Be sure your fingers are completely dry and devoid of fumes before touching the fiddle.

Be sure and clean the backside of the strings too. That goop has probably coated the strings so be sure and make a few swipes with the towel wrapped around the string and pinched tight so it gets all sides. This is a useful technique to know and use from time to time to remove finger grime and excess rosin when the sound gets muggy. You'll be surprised how much brighter clean strings will sound after you've been playing a while. I was surprised by how much black goopy residue that came off on the rag the first time I wiped the strings.

wormbower - Posted - 01/02/2008:  00:00:20


Thanks to both of you. I'll try the 90% isopropanol tomorrow.

Paul

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. -Faith Petric
The chief enemy of creativity is common sense -Pablo Picasso

BanjoBrad - Posted - 01/02/2008:  17:04:05


Hey, Paul-

Think about "Goo Gone." It's a citrus-based cleaner. I use it on all sorts of things to remove label gunk that won't rub off (Never on an instrument, though). It says safe for all stuff, but it does contain petroleum distillates.

Brad
"I'll tune up my fiddle, and rosin my bow, to make myself welcome wherever I go." Tommy Jarrell - Drunken Hiccoughs
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

www.PricklyPearMusic.net
ezFolk Page
Tucson Old Time Music Circle on ezFolk Page

Eric Sprado - Posted - 01/02/2008:  17:09:43


I'd vote for lighter fluid(naptha).I used to deal in rare books and we always removed sticky tags with lighter fluid. I have used it for years to clean fiddle strings. If you do use alcohol(which cleans fine) PLEASE be careful to not touch the violin finish. Eric Sprado

kyfiddler1 - Posted - 01/02/2008:  17:41:45


WD-40 will do the job and won't hurt your finish.

Practice only on days that you eat!!

Kyfiddler1

Barry Dudley - Posted - 01/04/2008:  09:12:43


My suggestion would be naptha too. I use it when I am cleaning up different parts during the building process. I would NOT use WD-40.
Lighter fluid is naptha.

wormbower - Posted - 01/04/2008:  09:21:10


quote:
Originally posted by Barry Dudley

My suggestion would be naptha too. I use it when I am cleaning up different parts during the building process. I would NOT use WD-40.
Lighter fluid is naptha.



Ah, a violin maker! Your answer carries a lot of weight. Thanks, Barry. (I haven't done anything yet).

Paul

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. -Faith Petric
The chief enemy of creativity is common sense -Pablo Picasso

John Gent - Posted - 01/04/2008:  09:43:37


quote:
Originally posted by Eric Sprado

I'd vote for lighter fluid(naptha)....



Hmm. I hadn't thought of that. I have a gallon of naptha that I use for cleaning up other stuff (and filling my Zippo), but always considered it too 'aggresive' for my instruments. Thanks Eric.

- John

P.S. I still owe you a phone call and a cup of coffee. Just wanted to let you know I hadn't forgotten.

wormbower - Posted - 01/05/2008:  00:13:27


OK folks, here's the end of the story. With the wide range of answers I was getting here, I decided to email my luthier friend at Southwest Strings (before you chimed in, Barry). He said that he usually uses denatured alcohol on the fingerboard, but knows of people who have used goo gone with no ill effects. He had also heard of lighter fluid and WD40 but felt those might be too much. He said people usually use that to remove the pick guard tape on guitars, etc. So, first I tried 70% isopropanol. That didn't do much. Remembering (I think) from my chemistry classes that ethanol is a tad less polar (thus more hydrophobic) than isopropanol, I tried some 70% ethanol. It did a little better, but was still having a tough time cutting through all that tape adhesive. Next I tried the only other kind of (non-potable) alcohol we had on hand--absolute (100%) ethanol. That did the trick, though I still had to do some real scrubbing. I'm sure the naptha would have cut right through the goo, but I didn't have any on hand. Next, I tried krugwaffle's trick of wiping down the strings with the ethanol. My fiddle has become increasingly muddy and nasal sounding of late, and I was wondering if excess grime and rosin on the strings might be the cause. Well, krugwaffle, you were absolutely right. I could tell the result even as I was wiping off the strings. They started singing! Like you said, I was amazed at how much brighter the fiddle sounded when I played it after the wipedown. I normally wipe down the strings with a dry cloth, and sometimes a wine cork, after each session, but I'm certainly going to wipe them periodically with ethanol from now on. By they way, I'm using Helicore steel strings. I don't know how well synthetics would tolerate the ethanol.

Thanks again for everyone's advice and information.

Paul

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. -Faith Petric
The chief enemy of creativity is common sense -Pablo Picasso

Laya - Posted - 01/07/2008:  18:39:05


I've used Goo Gone - lol - and I giggle at the tape because I put that on all of my Fiddle Students finger boards too. I used striping tape from an Automotive Store. Works fabulous, doesn't slide and comes off clean.

Hmmmm - Ethanol, to wipe down strings eh?!?!??!?!?! *rubs chin*

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's beginning to look allot like WINTER

wormbower - Posted - 01/07/2008:  23:43:34


quote:
Originally posted by Laya


Hmmmm - Ethanol, to wipe down strings eh?!?!??!?!?! *rubs chin*



Yes, and it did a manificicent...magficicent...gamificent...gramisifent...
...GOOD JOB!


Paul

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. -Faith Petric
The chief enemy of creativity is common sense -Pablo Picasso

M-D - Posted - 01/08/2008:  00:07:46


I thought of Goo Gone. WD40 is used to treat the fingerboards of many the major guitar manufacturers, so I wouldn't worry about it being too harsh. And, be careful with the ethanol. It may attack your finish so fast that you'll think you're fiddle's turned into an albino leopard.

_________________________________________________________________

M-D

Old-Time, All the Time

Music is found in the space between the notes -- in the silence between the chords. Get your spaces right, and you've got it. ~ Albert Greenfield




BanjoBrad - Posted - 01/08/2008:  16:00:05


Paul-

I'm glad you dumped those tapes! I had a H of a time trying to play your fiddle at the last Circle, and it was because those things kept messing with my mind.

Brad
"I'll tune up my fiddle, and rosin my bow, to make myself welcome wherever I go." Tommy Jarrell - Drunken Hiccoughs
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

www.PricklyPearMusic.net
ezFolk Page
Tucson Old Time Music Circle on ezFolk Page

wormbower - Posted - 01/08/2008:  21:54:44


quote:
Originally posted by BanjoBrad

Paul-

I'm glad you dumped those tapes! I had a H of a time trying to play your fiddle at the last Circle, and it was because those things kept messing with my mind.



That's because you already know where the notes are.

I have to admit I was a bit skeptical when my neighbor/teacher put the tapes on my fiddle, but they really did help me. What has helped even more (and I'm still using) is my clip-on tuner. But my ears are getting better every day.

Paul

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. -Faith Petric
The chief enemy of creativity is common sense -Pablo Picasso



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