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Cleaning Nickel Pickup Covers

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by RMosack, Jul 8, 2006.

  1. RMosack

    RMosack Supporting Member

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    Anybody recommend the best way to get the corrosion, oxidation, patina or whatever it's called off nickel humbucker covers?

    My 1994 Les Paul had the stock pickups with the CHROME covers for about 8 years. Those pickups are now in a USACG Tele Deluxe-oid. They look practically brand new.

    When I rewired the Les Paul for the Jimmy Page scheme a couple years ago, I went with 4-conductor Duncan '59s with NICKEL covers. Apparently, they offer nickel or gold, not chrome. Within a couple months (if not weeks), the covers started looking dull and discolored. I regularly wipe down all my guitars after playing, but to no avail in this case. They look horrible and feel rough to the touch. I want to make them look decent again, but don't want to do any damage.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. Bluespicker

    Bluespicker Member

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    Neverdull, it's cheap, works well on any metal and you can get it anywhere. Get the impregnated cotton in the can, not the liquid stuff.
     
  3. Topcat

    Topcat Member

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    I would be extremely careful about constantly polishing your nickel plated covers.

    When I was much younger than today, I wanted my nickel covers on my Les Paul to shine like chrome. I used to polish them as soon as they started to tarnish as they made my very 'new' looking guitar look kind of old.

    One day I noticed I could no longer get the covers to 'shine' in places. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks--I rubbed the plating right through in certain spots to the metal underneath the nickel!

    :jo

    I look at that damage every time I pick up that guitar to play--my original '60 Burst. It's really not too bad but I wish I never touched it.

    I can't recall what product I used but it was suppose to be very easy on the metal. Be careful.

    Topcat
     
  4. Rich

    Rich Member

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    Havent tried the stew-mac product, but Im with Topcat about going lightly when you clean.

    And if you really wanna kill plating in a blink, have at it with gold pups -- super easy to burn thru that thin layer. Cool if you like the two-tone effect, though :rolleyes:
     
  5. jaimo

    jaimo Member

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    The same you do with some silver plate.
    Plain toothpaste.
     
  6. Jim Wagner Pickups

    Jim Wagner Pickups Member

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  7. Seniorspike

    Seniorspike Member

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    Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths. Available at Wal-Mart, Bed & Bath, etc. Not abraisive. Works great.
     
  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

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    Probably the best suggestion here. For years I've used an automotive wheel cleaning product called "Blue Magic". Works like nobody's business! But, it will take the plating off with heavy rubbing, if you're not careful. I just live with patina on nickel - adds to the charm!;)
     
  9. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

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    Whoa there!

    Any polish, repeat ANY polish, is going to be abrasive. It may not contain actual mechanical abrasives; i.e., powdered abrasives, but it helps to see the chemicals that cut through oxidization for what they are: mild stripping agents. A rule of thumb is if it can break down oxidization, it can eventually breakdown the thin nickel plating used on guitar hardware.

    Look. Not to be a jerk, but how about accepting the natural aging process a little more gracefully? Look at it this way. Every blemish, every wear-mark, every little uncleanable stain on your guitar represents a great memory - a guitar life well lived.
     
    hdahs143 likes this.
  10. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    I agree with Dave. In fact I am looking forward to my pups NOT looking so new ;) Seriously. I know it is a matter of taste, but to me, that patina is soooo cool. I even like the way gold on ES 347 looks all worn to silver in spots. This is natural relicing. Let it do its thing. The guitar finish will catch up to the metal parts eventually.
     
  11. Luke

    Luke Senior Member

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    A little Lime Away, the bathroom cleaner, on a paper towel. Barely damp, not wet.
     
  12. lord preset

    lord preset Member

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    Coarse steel wool. What could go wrong? :crazy
     
  13. Rhomco

    Rhomco Silver Supporting Member

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    yep, rub the raw leather over the metal. It will clean and shine without abrading the surface.
     

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