Y’know how there are shampoos which are 2-in-1, or those combined body/hair/facewashes? Dr Duck’s Ax Wax is kind of like that. An all-inclusive, self-proclaimed ‘marvel mystery oil of the guitar industry,’ it protects your finish, moisturises your fretboard, cleans your strings and lubes up the string contact points. And it does it all without any wax, abrasives, silicones, synthetics or acids. What the hell is this stuff? Don’t know. Dr Duck’s secret.
Ax Wax comes in a 4oz bottle with an applicator flip top cap. All you need is a polishing cloth to get going. Here are just some of the ways you can use it:
PROTECTING THE FINISH
Simply put a few drops of Ax Wax on an applicator patch, spread it around, let it set for two minutes then buff with an appropriate cloth. Ax Wax does not dry, so if it still appears wet or if it feels sticky to the touch, just give it a little more elbow grease – which I found myself having to do the first few times I used it. It doesn’t tint or stain the finish, and it seems gentle enough to use on most finishes. You can use it on the entire guitar, including metal parts such as pickup covers and tuning keys, and on plastic parts such as pick guards and electronics cavity covers. I found it took a bit more buffing to get plastic parts looking their best, but it worked its magic on metal rather quickly.
CONDITIONING THE FRETBOARD
Dr Duck recommends cleaning around the frets with a tooth brush prior to using Ax Wax on your fretboard. Once you’ve done that, the procedure is much the same as for the body. Just buff it out with an all-cotton polishing cloth afterwards. This will clean the fretboard itself as well as the frets, and make the playing surface feel nice and slick.
CLEANING THE STRINGS
Dr Duck recommends treating strings with Ax Wax immediately after putting on a fresh set, to prolong their life to almost as long as that of treated strings while retaining the natural tone of untreated strings. It can also be used on strings that have started to go dead, or if they’ve gone squeaky. And it doesn’t seem to make as bad a “fingernails down the blackboard” sound as any other string conditioner I’ve tried.
You can also use Ax Wax to increase the efficiency of string contact points – ie: the bridge saddes, the nut, or a Bigsby roller bar. Lube these points up with a small cloth or a Q-Tip and you’ll decrease the friction at these locations when the string moves. This is invaluable for helping a Bigsby return to perfect pitch, or for those who perform behind-the-nut bends on a Telecaster, or for those who use light strings, but it’s something which can benefit any guitar player.
Floyd Rose feel creaky? Fine tuners not turning like they should? Tuning keys sticking? Apply some Ax Wax to these areas with a Q-Tip to increase their efficiency. Your Floyd will get its flutter back. This is a criminally overlooked aspect of proper guitar maintenance – how many players even stop to think about lubricating their tremolo posts? But due to its all-in-one nature, Ax Wax allows you to take care of this crucial step while you’re polishing your finish, conditioning your fretboard, cleaning your strings and buffing your metal bits.
WAX ON, WAX OFF
There’s really nothing Ax Wax can’t do when it comes to cleaning or lubing your guitar. And not to sound all ‘infomercial segment on morning TV’ but it really does take the place of half a dozen different products, it’s inexpensive and most importantly of all, it works.