Hi, I've always wondered what's going on with Maple Fretboards that are worn like this. I've never really seen any like this close up, almost all my guitars are rosewood, ebony or one or two maple that don't really have any wear.
This fretboard looks like as if the maple veneer has worn off. I know that's probably not the case, but you can kind of see the "ridgeline" at the edges of the worn spots.
The only thing I can think of (and this might be way off base) is that the clear lacquer has worn off, and the exposed wood has gotten discolored. The parts that are still under lacquer look "normal" because they're protected? I've also heard people say you can clean this up with Naptha. Is that true? This one is so bad I'd be tempted to remove all the frets, sand the whole thing down even, clear coat it and then install new frets!
Here the picture - and then one of Phoebe Cates, who used to play maple boards all the time. (Okay, not really, but she was cute back then, huh?)
"Jimi would be playing an HM Strat if he were still alive." Bob @ Genesis Recording Studios.
Jim its the lacquer that has worn off from playing. My old Peavey Tracers maple board looks like that. I have never tried it but have read you can clean them up. But I kinda like that look myself. Hell some folks will pay extra for a new guitar that looks like that. Never understood why someone would pay for the mojo look though.
I've also had a few Kramers with maple boards that looked like that.