Swiss Files


Letters from Paul Schobernd


What is He Oiling?


Dearest Anthony and Galoots...

EVER body knows if you oil the neck on the Strat-O-Caster you can play much faster! You just have to be careful not to catch it on fire from excessive heat on that oil. Now, I have never had the problem personally, but I keep my favorite Martin earled-up real good just in case I should have an uncharacteristic burst of energy and inadvertently scorch the neck.

My late Uncle Dukes - he was a military and Golden Gloves Boxer - who kept his guitar neck supple with a dose of rendered Possum fat. It kept the old brass wound strings shiny when you wiped it off and it was his subjective view that he played better with the fat on the neck of his pre-WWll Gibson Archtop. I never could bring myself to slather up a Martin with Possum. If he didn't play for awhile it tended toward the rancid end of the smell scale. I wasn't convinced he was any improved anyway!

A number of years ago I bought a Martin NWD, a tribute guitar to the famous architect and woodworker, George Nakashima. Now this was not your average plunking guitar as useful for swatting skeeters as anything so I set to lookin' for a high class possum fat substitute.

Finally I settled upon the most expensive Japanese oil I could find that might fill the bill and made a down-payment on a gallon of Camellia Oil. It is right good stuff. It keeps the strings from tarnishing, soaks into the neck, but it ain't much for taste. Now I am a rip-roaring guitar player and I can really burn up those first 5 frets, so I figured there was no sense in greasing up all those frets I never use! I might need to pull 'em and put 'em higher up someday!

So, I am so slick at playing this guitar today that OIL is just a natural addition to making good, maybe not good, so much as really slick, music!

So, my friend, be not surprised when you see that old buzzard out there slicking up his Strat! My money is on him, knowing something he just ain't decided to share with the brother/sisterhood yet!

Paul in Normal - in the Dark
June, 2008


Hack Saws


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