Gold Hardware Tarnish/Oxidation--Can Anything be Done?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by DualRectifier, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. DualRectifier

    DualRectifier Member

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    I did a search and only found one thread discussing how to prevent this from happening.

    But--what happens if you buy a guitar that has gold hardware which has already tarnished? Just live with it? Is there any kind of solution or product that can remove the rest of the plating?

    I'm not a princess about buying flawless guitars, I just don't like the look of the tarnished gold hardware. Wondering if there's any way to either take the gold off, or refresh it somehow. Can't replace the hardware cuz the bridge is RMC Piezo, and the Sperzel tuners look anodized. They're pretty rough looking too. Seymour Duncan pickups with gold covers are heavily tarnished. Might just take the covers off if they're not wax potted.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?
     
  2. gbdweller

    gbdweller Member

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    If they are pitted you are pretty much out of luck. If just tarnished, I have had good luck with a flannel buffing wheel with some Menzerna very fine compound. I have very acidic sweat and tarnish everything I touch. I hit the parts with the buffer every once in awhile and presto..good as new. Be very careful with this method because the wheel can grab parts and throw them, injuring you or destroying the part.
     
  3. Rich

    Rich Supporting Member

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    This is just the opposite of the usual-- ie, how can I clean without removing the plating?

    My experience with gold plating on pickup covers in particular is that its so thin you can easily burn right through it by hand with any metal polish or cleaner that has any abrasive in it.

    Take Mothers or Maas, for example. Rub just a bit too vigorously and not only will the tarnish be gone but so will the plating too.
     
  4. gbdweller

    gbdweller Member

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    Good point. I was thinking nickel. Glad I never tried the buffer on gold.
     
  5. gkoelling

    gkoelling Supporting Member

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    I've had a couple guitars with gold hardware. Never again. It looks good but is complete crap.

    Fighting the tarnish and pitting is futile and it only takes 6-8 months and the guitar looks like a garage sale special.

    I hope you have better luck than I.
     
  6. Rich

    Rich Supporting Member

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    Just as an update to my previous.

    Whether gold or nickel -- if all somebody has is just some basic cloudiness/tarnish they want to get rid of, try Trick polish. Its a regular guitar polish made for wood, but it will clean off metals without much risk of damage.

    Ive used it a long time and it works well. But still the same caveat-- too much rubbing of any type (whether using any type of polish or not) can cause micro-scratching and wear -- especially on gold.
     
  7. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

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    Yeah,

    a metal polish will likely clean the hardware and the gold right off. Pretty tough to save the gold, but not too hard to get to what's under it.:D
     
  8. HEY!YOU!

    HEY!YOU! Senior Member

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    1977 all gold.
    [​IMG]

    The plating is very, very thin. You gots to be carefull!!
    I wipe it down after playing so my sweat doesn't eat it up.
     
  9. NuSkoolTone

    NuSkoolTone Member

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    Never seen a solution. Perhaps coat it with clear paint/nail polish when new to protect it?

    My hands oxidize hardware too, gold wouldn't have a chance! THis is why I do not own or even look at guitars with gold hardware. :(
     
  10. BisonFute

    BisonFute Member

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    Clean soffly hardware with a soft cloth, no more

    [​IMG]
     
  11. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    I think gold hardware looks great with patina and ageing..
     
  12. PolyMorf

    PolyMorf Member

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    To clean the crud off I use ceramic stovetop cleaner and wipe it off with a cotton cloth.
     
  13. codeorama

    codeorama Member

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    I do to... I have purposely left the sweat on the pick up covers and TOM bridge and tailpiece on my Les Paul Custom because I think it looks better, just my 2 cents.
     
  14. DualRectifier

    DualRectifier Member

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    I agree it looks good when the rest of the guitar has an "aged" or broken-in look, but I think it looks crappy on a modern style guitar. In this case, a cherry sunburst Brian Moore i2p.

    I was hoping for a magic bullet formula or polish, but it looks like I'm gonna have to live with it. I will try some of the above mentioned polishes. I wonder if jeweler's rouge would do anything? Maybe using a Dremel with a buffing wheel?

    Thanks for all the tips
     
  15. Sonar

    Sonar Member

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    Remove the trouble parts and send them to Three Rivers Gold Plating Company of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Get it done right the first time.

    They professionally replate with a thicker amount of gold than anything you see on factory guitar hardware. The is PROFESSIONAL stuff....not some brush-on quickie deal. Much better than NEW.

    The owner, Tom, is a guitarist and a heck of a nice guy. He got into the business decades ago when he thought companies wanted too much to replate HIS guitar parts. Now he does full range services & government work also......but retains a special place in his heart for starving guitarists.

    He and Phil Jacoby are behind my complete 1983 Ibanez AM205 (small bodied 335-style) restoration. Whadda great pair of guys to know!!

    Contact info located at: http://www.goldplater.com/
     
  16. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    When I had guitars with gold hardware, I used a jewelers cloth (used to clean jewelery) to keep the hardware looking good. Might be worth a try in your case?
     
  17. PanamaCZ

    PanamaCZ Member

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    For those interested in restoring the gold finish yourself, I've used Plug N' Plate by Caswell - it's an electrostatic brush plating system. It was $53 from Micro-Mark and it worked superbly.

    I've re-plated gold humbucker covers and was very impressed. I've also touched up bridges, tail pieces, pickup rings and the tops of tuners, as well as some screws.

    It took a little patience and experience working with the solution and wand, but I believe most folks can get the same results I did. With this approach, you control the amount of plating you want where you want it.

    Mike
     
  18. randuro

    randuro Member

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    Gold is bad. Looks nice but doesn't last. Like Sonar said, replating is the only option.....and, they'll look beeeaautiful when done. Good Luck
     
  19. AaeCee

    AaeCee Silver Supporting Member

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    I hear ya, but I'm in the camp that thinks that gold hardware doesn't look good UNTIL it's oxidized.
     
  20. Sonar

    Sonar Member

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    You might be a good candiate for saving money by skipping the gold top plate....and the nickle beneath.

    Simply get your hardware copper plated and wait for that nice green patina to set in! :AOK
     

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