How to polish frets in your bass guitar?

Learn how to polish frets in your bass guitar with the luthier Davide Garbujo from Tribe Guitars.


Required materials

- Paper adhesive tape
- Steel wool N.00 or 000
- Scissors


The procedure works on all types of fretboard (maple, rosewood, ebony etc.) as long as it is not fretless.

First, remove your strings, it will be easier without them. :)

Cover the entire fretboard with adhesive tape leaving only the fret wire visible, so that the wood of the keyboard is protected during polishing.

You should have something like this:


As the frets become more and more tight, if you do not have the adhesive tape tighter, cut it in half for its length with scissors so that it can be applied comfortably between one button and the other.

You can also use this fret protector to gain more time. 

Once the fretboard is completely covered, take a steel wool pad and start polishing one fret at a time, from one end to the other along its entire length, following it longitudinally, pressing just enough to remove dirt and any oxide until it becomes shinier.

I recommend not to pass the steel wool perpendicular to the key or you will mark the thread, follow the instructions carefully.

After polishing, remove the adhesive tape from the fretboard and remove any steel wool residues from the pickups.

Remember, polishing should be done sporadically, not at all rope changes or setups but only when necessary.

If you have any questions, leave a comment on this page, below.

1 comment

1 comment

  • doomkeeper

    i don’t usually mask the fretboard for polishing frets if the fingerboard hasn’t got any finish on it. especially if it’s my guitar i’m working on. would definitely use OOOO instead of 00 or 000 though.

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