Fretboard looking shabby? Heard about cleaning it with lemon oil, but want to know more? You're in the right the place. I wrote about the best way to clean a guitar fretboard already, which gives you a step by step process.
As for the oil you use, there are plenty of different types. I reviewed some of them here.
In this article however, we're going to review some of our favourite lemon oils.
At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 4 Best Lemon Oils For a Guitar Fretboard
Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon. If you do purchase something we get a small commission, which has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay.
Buyer's Tips: Things to consider before you go using lemon oil...
- You may have lemon oil in your kitchen cupboards that you use for pancakes. DO NOT attempt to use that kind of lemon oil on your guitar. It will ruin it.
- Lemon oil is used for treating your guitar fretboard. It is not used for the body of the guitar, for that we recommend other products.
- Importantly, you should only use lemon oil on
- Untreated surfaces - i.e. not on surfaces that already have a finish or lacquer on them.
- Certain woods such as rosewood. Do not apply lemon oil to maple fretboards.
- Many guitarists and luthiers do not like to use lemon oil full stop. There are differing opinions about the long term consequences of using lemon oil. For other types of oil for your fretboard you should check out our article about other guitar fretboard oils
- When you apply any of these oils, you are always better off spraying the liquid onto a clean rag before you apply it. Avoid spraying directly onto the guitar.
4 Best Lemon Oils For a Guitar Fretboard
Here are our five best lemon oils. Remember adding the oil is just one step in the process. To get the full effect you should clean your fretboard before you apply lemon oil. See our tutorial whats the best way to clean a guitar fretboard for the full low down on how to do it.
1. Jim Dunlop 6554 Dunlop Ultimate Lemon Oil
First lemon oil on our list is a popular choice among guitarists. Known as fretboard 65, this product by the guys at Dunlop does everything youd hope it too. Easy to apply to the fretboard with the applicator at the top, smells great, is nice and light (not gooey) and leaves a good finish once you’ve applied it.
- Soft felt applicator at the top
- No greasy or oily feeling to your fretboard after applying
- 4 Oz bottle gives you plenty of juice for the money
- Is a conditioner only, not a cleaner too like the other products on our list
Let's take a look at this product...
2. Planet Waves Lemon Oil
Second on our list is a lemon oil from planet waves, part of the D'Addario family of brands. Like the Dunlop above, Planet Waves have created a reliable lemon oil that applies easily to your fretboard and leaves a smooth finish and light lemony scent. In addition to conditioning, it is also cleans your fretboard so serves as an all-in-one product.
- Cleans as well as conditions
- Lightly scented, not too overpowering
- 2 Oz bottle is quite small compared to the other lemon oils on the list (though will still last you a long time)
3. Kyser Dr.Stringfellows Lem-Oil
Kysers Dr Stringfellows Lem-Oil wins the prize for best name alright, and turns out the oil is pretty great too. Non-oily, with a great spray nozzle, it polishes, protects and preserves your fretboard really well. It is not a cleaner too though, like other products on the list.
- Handy spray applicator
- 4 Oz bottle
- Just conditions - no good if you also want a cleaner
4. Peavey Lemon Oil
Our final lemon oil is one from Peavey. Doing everything youd expect from a lemon oil, it also cleans as well as conditions your fretboard. The size of the bottle is on the small side (2 fl. oz) compared to other similarly priced products.
- Cleans as well as conditions
- 2 fl. oz bottle size relatively quite small
- Quite expensive for the size
Summary - Wrapping it up
All four will do your guitar proud or they wouldn't be on the list full stop.
If I had to choose, I'd opt for the Planet Waves product from D'Addario. Although it's only a 2 fl. oz bottle, it cleans as well as conditions so you're saving money there. Plus the oil itself is great quality.
Based in London, UK, Zac Green is editor-in-chief and head writer at online music magazine Zing Instruments. He’s a self-confessed music fanatic and spends most of his time jamming, gigging, or tinkering with his 1979 Campervan. He has a particular passion for indie, hip-hop, gypsy and rare groove jazz, as well as blues, alt rock and electronic music.