Tung oil guitar neck. Detailed overview

Tung oil guitar necks are a popular choice for guitar players who prefer a smooth and natural finish on their instruments. Tung oil, also known as China wood oil, is derived from the nuts of the Tung tree and has been used for centuries as a natural drying oil.

It is a pure form of tung oil that has not been altered or mixed with other oils, making it a popular choice for those who are looking for a chemical-free alternative to traditional guitar finishes.

Tung oil guitar neck

Here we have listed some of the benefits of applying tung oil on a guitar.

Easy to apply

One of the benefits of using tung oil on a guitar neck is that it is easy to apply. The oil is usually applied using a soft cloth and can be thinned down with mineral spirits to create a light coat.

It is recommended to apply multiple coats, sanding the neck down in between each application, to create a smooth finish. This can take some time, but the result is well worth it.

The final coat of tung oil should be left to dry for several days before playing the guitar to ensure the oil has completely dried.


Another benefit of tung oil is that it does not yellow over time, like other oils such as boiled linseed oil or soybean oil. This makes it an ideal choice for electric guitars, which are often exposed to light.

Tung oil can also be used on maple fretboards and maple necks, creating a beautiful finish that will last for years.

Keep in mind

One thing to keep in mind when applying tung oil is that it can be messy. Sanding dust can accumulate on the guitar neck, and steel wool or 0000 steel wool should be used to remove any dust before applying the next coat of oil.

Additionally, it is important to keep the neck clean and free of any dust accumulation between coats, as this can affect the final finish.

Tung oil is also a great alternative to lacquer finishes, which can be brittle and prone to cracking over time. Tung oil is a natural drying oil that will not crack or become brittle, ensuring that the guitar neck will last for years to come.

Comparison with other oils

In comparison to other oil finishes, such as Danish oil or Tru-Oil, tung oil is a more traditional choice. It has been used for centuries on gun stocks and other wooden products, creating a beautiful and natural finish.

The oil penetrates the bare wood, preserving it and creating a smooth finish that is both durable and beautiful.

Can we use wood oil for guitar necks?

This type of oil is a common product used to treat and protect the wood on musical instruments such as guitars. Several types of this oil can be used, including Tru-oil, linseed oil, and lemon oil. Each type of oil has its unique properties and benefits.

For example, Tru-oil is often used for its quick drying time and ability to build up a durable finish.

Linseed oil is a traditional choice that is known for its ability to nourish the wood and enhance its natural beauty.

Lemon oil is a popular option due to its pleasant scent and ability to clean and protect the wood.

What to consider

When using wood oil on a guitar, it is important to consider the type of wood used and the desired result. For example, if the guitar has an unfinished neck, it may require several coats of oil to achieve the desired finish.

On the other hand, if the guitar has an oil varnish finish, only a light application of the oil may be necessary.

Use steel wool

It is also recommended to use steel wool to clean and prepare the surface of the wood before applying the oil. This will help to remove any dirt, grime, or debris that may be present, which will ensure that the oil can be absorbed into the wood evenly and effectively.

When applying the oil, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and to avoid applying too much oil at once. Over-oiling can cause the wood to become overly soft and prone to damage. Additionally, it may take several days for the oil to fully cure and harden, so it is best to avoid using the guitar during this time.

Best oil for acoustic guitars

When it comes to selecting the best oil for an acoustic guitar, there are several options to choose from, each with its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks. Here is a closer look at some of the most popular oils used on an acoustic guitar, and how they compare to each other.

Pure Tung Oil

Pure tung oil is extracted from the tung tree nuts and is prized for its deep, penetrating properties. It dries quickly, is resistant to water and heat, and has a natural, matte finish.

Pure tung oil is often recommended for use on guitar bodies and necks, as it helps to protect the wood while still allowing its natural grain patterns to show through. To apply pure tung oil, simply apply a thin, even layer to the surface of the guitar and let it dry for 6 to 24 hours. Repeat this process until the desired level of saturation is achieved.

Tung Oil Finish

This oil is a blend of pure tung oil and a hardening agent and is frequently used as a final finish on an acoustic guitar. It dries more slowly than pure tung oil but provides a harder, more durable finish.

Tung oil finish is typically applied in 3 to 4 thin coats, allowing each coat to dry for several hours before applying the next. The result is a smooth, polished surface that enhances the natural beauty of the guitar’s wood.


This oil is a popular alternative to tung oil and is often used on an acoustic guitar due to its ease of application and fast drying time. Tru-oil is made from a blend of natural oils and synthetic resins and dries to a hard, protective finish.

To apply Tru-oil, simply apply a thin, even layer to the surface of the guitar, let it dry for 15 to 20 minutes, then wipe away any excess with a clean cloth. Repeat this process until the desired level of saturation is achieved, which usually takes 3 to 5 coats.

Oiled Necks

Many guitar players prefer to oil the neck of their instrument, as it helps to reduce friction and improve the feel of the fretboard. The best oils for this purpose are those that are fast-drying and provide a natural, non-slippery grip.

Examples include lemon oil, tea tree oil, and mineral oil. Simply apply a small amount of oil to a clean cloth, then rub it into the neck of the guitar, taking care to avoid the frets and electronics. Repeat this process as needed, typically every 2 to 3 months.

Is it good to apply tung oil to a guitar?

Tung oil is a popular choice for finishing guitars, as it provides a natural and beautiful look to the instrument. The tung tree’s nut can be processed into tung oil, which is also known as China oil. Tung oil finish comes in a range of grades, with 25/40 to 80 being the most commonly used for guitars.

How to apply

To apply tung oil, the guitar body and necks should be thoroughly cleaned, and then the oil can be applied using a cloth or brush. It is recommended to apply several thin coats, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next. The number of coats can range from 2 to 6, depending on the desired result.

After the final coat has dried, steel wool can be used to remove any residue or rough spots, with a grade between 3 and 8 recommended. This will help to create a smooth and even finish, which will help to protect the guitar over time.

Tung oil is prized for its natural feel and the way it enhances the grain of the wood. It provides a protective barrier that helps to prevent the guitar from warping or cracking, while also giving it a warm and inviting appearance.

Tung oil finishes are particularly popular for use on guitar necks, where they help to ensure a comfortable grip and provide a smooth surface for the player’s hand to move over.

What does the tung oil do for wood?

This oil has been used for centuries in wood finishing and is prized for its natural beauty and durability. When applied to wood, tung oil penetrates deep into the grain, enhancing the wood’s natural patterns and colors. It also creates a hard, protective finish that is resistant to water, heat, and sunlight.

Tung oil is a popular choice for furniture, flooring, and other wooden surfaces because it is a natural and sustainable product.

To apply tung oil, the surface should be clean, dry, and free of any old finishes or dirt. The oil should be applied with a brush, rag, or sprayer in thin, even coats. After each coat is applied, the wood should be allowed to dry completely, which can take anywhere from a few hours to several days depending on the conditions.


In conclusion, tung oil is an excellent choice for guitar players who want a smooth and natural finish on their instrument. It is easy to apply, does not yellow over time, and creates a beautiful and long-lasting finish. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced guitar player, tung oil is a great option for finishing your acoustic or electric guitar neck.

Frequently asked questions

Is tung oil good for a guitar neck?

Yes, tung oil is a good choice for a guitar neck. Tung oil is a natural oil that provides protection for wood and helps to enhance its natural beauty. It is commonly used in woodworking and instrument making because of its durability, water resistance, and ease of application.

How many coats of tung oil on guitar neck?

As for the number of coats of tung oil, it is recommended to apply several thin coats, allowing each coat to fully dry before applying the next. A general guideline is to apply 3 to 5 coats, but the exact number of coats will depend on the specific application and desired result.

Read also: Thick neck vs. thin neck. Comparison

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James/ author of the article

If you got to my page, it means that you are fond of music and are trying to record songs on your own. In my blog, you will find out exactly which options for sound equipment will be appropriate, depending on the specific case.

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