I'm refretting an older epiphone before they were bought out by gibson. The fingerboard needed some sanding and I am finding out that it has been stained. I looked at the endgrain behind the nut and it is definitely a light colored wood.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Or any knowledge pertaining to the use of light colored fingerboards?

I suppose it isn't really a big deal, could I simply restain it? And if so, would I want to spray it first, then tape it off and refret/dress?

Thanks in advance!


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Don't quit understand what you are doing with the fingerboard?
But, if it has no finish on the fingerboard, like most guitars, you can apply alcohol or water base stains with a pad, or I have use a Q-tip swab. Add more stain, if needed, until you get the look you want. The stain will dry quickly, then you can buff with a paper towel. that's about it.
Don't understand your statement about spraying, then tape it off and refret/dress????
Sounds like you are trying to make this more complicated than it really is.

Hi Jim, so just for clarification, the reason I was sanding the board down was because when I took the frets out it had a lot of dips not just in betwenn the frets, but at the frets themselves. So the reason I was sanding the board in the first place was to get it level.
After a little sanding I started to notice that the color was coming off, and before I realized what was happening (due to a combination of not paying good enough attention and my lack of experience) the fretboard was splotchy with dark spots and light spots.

I then looked at the end of the fretboard where I had removed the nut and saw that the board was a light colored wood - it looks like maple and sands like maple - SO, I was like "shit" and that is when I got on here to see if anyone had stripped an old board of the stain that was on it and replaced it with something else similar.

In regard to the spraying, followed by taping off the board to refret and dress the frets, It was just an idea that was running through my mind at the time.

Anyway, you calmed my mind by refering me to rubbing on stain and continuing from there.


Thanks a lot Jim.

Yeah I prolly am making it more complicated than it needs to be, at least. Just wanted to get the guitar back to its owner in at least the same cosmetic condition it was in.


Take the whole board to flat, but radiused, and restain the whole thing..You probably won't be able to stain it to match the blotches...
You should be able to get it dead on black by using the fingerboard stain from Stew Mac. It is actually a leather stain and works very well.

Wear gloves unless you want it on you for quite some time!

Yeah I was thinking of trying the stew mac stain, but it wasn't black when I started so I wanted to try to get a dark brown/rosewood type color, figuring that if that didn't work I could always put the black stew mac stain over that - can't go wrong with a black ebony fingerboard in my opinion. Luckily I found a really nice colored brown oil-based stain by miniwax.

The only concern I have now is that possibly the stain will rub off on sweaty fingers after it has dried - I am not planning on putting any "protective finish" on it. I think it should be fine, time will tell.

Thanks for the reply


If you haven't done the board yet, you might consider doing a test piece, letting it dry for a couple of days, and checking to see how much rubs off. The leather stains are pretty thin and seem to penetrate into the wood well, and after a few days of drying, I haven't found they transfer to my fingers...



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