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  1. #1

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    Brasso? I don't know - anybody got any cool ways of shining or cleaning the "gold" hardware that's on so many jazz guitars? I guess it's actually brass.

    Spit doesn't work - that much I've learned.

    Anybody?

    kj

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I was cleaning my gold pickups and tailpiece this weekend for the first time in a while. I would start with a microfiber polish cloth and good old fashioned elbow grease. After that, if it doesn't looks clean enough, I would try a non abrasive polish of sorts...I tried a little Gibson pump polish and it worked ok.

  4. #3

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    Gold is soft.
    It does not tarnish.
    It does not corrode.
    It's also really expensive, so goldplating on guitar parts is hardly known for its thickness.

    Almost all "polishes" will remove gold along with the dirt on top of the gold. Especially Brasso. You need a non-abrasive cloth, a little dishwashing detergent and a lot of patience. Otherwise, inevitably, you will rub away the plating itself.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  5. #4

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    Thanks Hammer; nice summary.

  6. #5

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    Yes - thanks Hammer - and to all of you, thanks.

    The "gold" hardware though - it's brass, isn't it? If gold doesn't tarnish...

    Maybe I should have noted that I'm talking about *cheap* guitars, mostly. Although I thought even the $10,000 boutique guitars had the same "not-really gold" hardware.

    I'll try some dish-washing stuff. It's the pickups that cause me most of the trouble.

    kj

  7. #6

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    It's not brass. There was a brassomania wave of guitar parts in the late Carter Administration, it has passed like gas.

    There are some rare clear-coated brass components, or brass tailpieces on D'Angelico repros, but mostly it is not brass.

    Typically, "gold" guitar parts have nickel plating with a thin layer of gold plating over the nickel. Some of these parts are actually made from brass or "nickel silver" but that is not the surface finish.

    It can sometimes be a "gold tone" finish, which is a gold tinted clear coat over almost anything: aluminum, chrome plating, nickel plating, zinc, etc..

    Anyway, Hammer nails it above.

    In my opinion.

    Chris
    Last edited by PTChristopher; 04-02-2012 at 11:58 AM.

  8. #7

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    Agree with hammertone. Personally I dont use soap/water tho. I just use lighter fluid (naptha).
    Edit: yeah I dictated that to my phone, and no I'm not going to fix the mistakes.

  9. #8

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    Okay - Hammer is the man! I actually have some real gold in the house - dang. Now if I can find one of those "micro-fiber" cloths. Where ... hardware? Sewing supplies? Ha. I have no idea.

    kj

  10. #9

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    Now it's pretty readily available, usually in the kitchen towel section I think, Target or WalMart...

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojo27 View Post
    Now if I can find one of those "micro-fiber" cloths. Where ... hardware? Sewing supplies? Ha. I have no idea.
    Micronesia?

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojo27 View Post
    Okay - Hammer is the man! I actually have some real gold in the house - dang. Now if I can find one of those "micro-fiber" cloths. Where ... hardware? Sewing supplies? Ha. I have no idea.

    kj
    Microfiber polish cloth from Amazon: Amazon.com: Planet Waves Micro-Fiber Polish Cloth: Musical Instruments

  13. #12

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    Use a little naptha, then fold some newspaper or newsprint paper into a thick little "pad" and buff with this. Trust me--it works.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Micronesia?
    Hahaha - you crack me up, CG. The avatar doesn't hurt.


    Quote Originally Posted by martinopass View Post
    Thank you! Got it on the way!


    Quote Originally Posted by life_with_a_song View Post
    Use a little naptha, then fold some newspaper or newsprint paper into a thick little "pad" and buff with this. Trust me--it works.
    Oh, cool... I'll have to ask someone what "naptha" is, but my daughter will know if anybody does. (I gave up the tube years ago and if it's a name brand thing, I know Ivory; Carnation; Kelloggs; a couple of others.) The newsprint is a great-sounding idea. Today I made a little progress with my fingertip and spit. Very little, but hey....


    kj

  15. #14

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    Hi , I have just been looking at your forum and tried the soap and elbow grease . Good lashings of wd40 the spray / clean lubricant on a really fine green Scotch scourer to the affected areas did a much better job for myself on a Gretch Synchromatic from 1937. The Gold was left and the crap was gone . The mixture seemed to dissolve only the corrosion. Always do a little test some where not noticeable .
    Hope this helps , Clyde .

  16. #15

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    My grandmother used to clean silver and brass ornaments with a soft cloth and cigarette ash (really.) Reading this thread reminded me of it. I've never tried it on guitar metalwork.
    Before the wisecracks start, she didn't smoke and had to use ash my grandfather left in ashtrays.

  17. #16

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    if memory serves, i degreased my guitar with a bottle of naptha from stew mac and some of those little cotton squares/rounds you'd find in the supermarket, in the section with all the crap you put on your face. worked ok. gold is still there, nice and shiny. and the little squares were easier to maneuver and manipulate around all the weird little crevices and curves of a guitar.

    never considered that it could possibly remove gold. that didn't seem to be the case, but i'd love confirmation now that we are discussing it again. i was told before that elbow grease was the only safe way to do it, possibly with some light soap and water.

  18. #17
    destinytot Guest
    Is naptha the same as what is called 'white spirits' the UK?
    Last edited by destinytot; 08-16-2015 at 12:02 PM. Reason: spelling

  19. #18

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    no clue. i'm guessing no, but possibly? i think we think of it as lighter fluid here in the states. this is what i used, if that clears it up any:

    Behlen Naphtha Solvent | stewmac.com

  20. #19

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    Paper towels or old cotton t-shirts work OK too.
    and Q-tips work great for rubbing around hard to get spots.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by destinytot View Post
    Is naptha the same as what is called 'white spirits' the UK?
    It is basically lighter fluid.

  22. #21

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    What ever you do don't use the metal cleaner that comes in the Gibson Restoration Kit. Took the gold plate right off my L5 tailpiece. Funny thing is you can't feel any abrasives in the cleaner so it must have a mild acid base in the solution. The stuff does work great on nickel plate though.

  23. #22

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    Joe D turned me on to this great stuff called Menzerna polishing compound. Works great on gold plate and won't remove it.

  24. #23

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    Po85rd. Menzerna. Just used it tonight on the tail piece of a guitar. This one was nickel. The shine and perfect surface came back easily. The finest polish I've ever used. Afterward you must seal the paint/plating with a sealant. I use powerlock by Menzerna. I think virtuoso would work too..

  25. #24

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    The Menzerna powerlock works great on your car too. Great tip Mr.D :-)

  26. #25

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    Definitely don't use a jewelry polishing cloth... looks good for bit, but you will gradually lose the gold plating. My L5 tailpiece is more nickel looking now, than silver, by the time I realized what I was doing.
    It all works out in the end; if it's not working out, it's not the end.

  27. #26

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    Has anyone any experience of deliberately trying to polish off gold plating in order to reveal the nickel underneath? My 165 started life with some pretty tacky goldplating on the tailpiece which flaked off. I have now replaced it with a genuine Gibson nickel zig-zag one and wonder if polishing the gold off the humbucker and and tuners with Brasso would be effective or just result in a mess? I am not a fan of gold plate but don't want to go to unnecessary expense in order to convert the guitar to nickel plate.

  28. #27

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    we just gotta face it. That Gold is gonna wear off whether you want it to or not.
    Personally, I don't hate the look of gold hardware with some nickel showing through.
    I don't hate scratches on my pickups either

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by stoneground View Post
    Has anyone any experience of deliberately trying to polish off gold plating in order to reveal the nickel underneath? My 165 started life with some pretty tacky goldplating on the tailpiece which flaked off. I have now replaced it with a genuine Gibson nickel zig-zag one and wonder if polishing the gold off the humbucker and and tuners with Brasso would be effective or just result in a mess? I am not a fan of gold plate but don't want to go to unnecessary expense in order to convert the guitar to nickel plate.
    Wenol. a micro fiber cloth, and elbow grease will take the gold plating off while leaving as high a luster as one desires on the original metal beneath. I've used it for 30 years. It's what auto shows used back in the day to prep flat aluminum wheels to create a high luster finish to them. It'll make flat aluminum look nearly chrome if one is willing to put in the work.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop View Post
    Wenol. a micro fiber cloth, and elbow grease will take the gold plating off while leaving as high a luster as one desires on the original metal beneath. I've used it for 30 years. It's what auto shows used back in the day to prep flat aluminum wheels to create a high luster finish to them. It'll make flat aluminum look nearly chrome if one is willing to put in the work.
    Dura Glit on the belt buckles on my dress blues . . . then a real tight military gig line! Remember those days?
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop View Post
    Wenol. a micro fiber cloth, and elbow grease will take the gold plating off while leaving as high a luster as one desires on the original metal beneath. I've used it for 30 years. It's what auto shows used back in the day to prep flat aluminum wheels to create a high luster finish to them. It'll make flat aluminum look nearly chrome if one is willing to put in the work.
    Thanks for the tip. What I would really like is a dull nickel finish so I don't want to polish things up until they gleam. As I said I'm not keen on gold plate and even less on high lustre chrome finishes. None of this is going to make me a better player, I just like understated simple guitars.
    Last edited by Dirk; 05-19-2018 at 01:25 PM.

  32. #31

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    I often wonder why the chrome and gold pickups are used so often.

    Is there any disadvantage to using a pickup that's just plain black enamel?


    Danielle

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2 View Post
    Dura Glit on the belt buckles on my dress blues . . . then a real tight military gig line! Remember those days?
    Yes, one tiny speck on the back of the brass
    and we were in big trouble too.With the RSM
    screaming at you one inch from your nose .
    Happy days !

  34. #33

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    @Danielle, I think it's just for looks. I also prefer the black pups.
    "Ahhh - those Jazz guys are just makin' that stuff up!" - Homer Simpson

    "Anyone who understands Jazz knows that you can't understand it. It's too complicated. That's what's so simple about it." - Yogi Berra

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop View Post
    Wenol. a micro fiber cloth, and elbow grease will take the gold plating off while leaving as high a luster as one desires on the original metal beneath. I've used it for 30 years. It's what auto shows used back in the day to prep flat aluminum wheels to create a high luster finish to them. It'll make flat aluminum look nearly chrome if one is willing to put in the work.
    If I tried the Wenol and micro fiber cloth think it would get the gold nicely off this L-4 tailpiece?
    Can I do it while the tailpiece is on the guitar with some protection under it, or better to remove?

    Good way to clean "gold" hardware?-l4-jpg

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neyzensia View Post
    If I tried the Wenol and micro fiber cloth think it would get the gold nicely off this L-4 tailpiece?
    Can I do it while the tailpiece is on the guitar with some protection under it, or better to remove?

    Good way to clean "gold" hardware?-l4-jpg
    If you want the gold removed then absolutely Wenol will remove it. But why would you want to remove the gold on an L4CES? You do realize that removing the gold entirely will impact the resale value of the guitar? But definitely Wenol would do that job. I use it on dulled aluminum wheels to bring the rims back to a high luster. Best!
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  37. #36

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    i had some masking tape residue on my GB10 tailpiece WD40 spray on toilet paper, worked fine,

    certain it would work fine on pups too.

    it is a lubricant not abrasive (it does not state that on tin)

    not much rubbing is needed at all, the WD seems to just lift it.

  38. #37

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    WD40 has a multitude of uses. Removing adhesives is one of them. It also works as a fish attractant on lures. Among many others.

  39. #38

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    Ok guys we got crazy yesterday and de-golded my 89 L-4 CES
    We upgraded the tuners, replaced the bridge with a tune-o, pulled off the wacky pickguard, and rubbed off the gold from the tailpiece. The gold actually came off pretty easy using a Gorgomyte condition cloth we had. I know it may impact the resale, but I think it looks a 1000% better; I'm just not a fan of gold at all. Not to mention it was so oxidized and worn down, it looked sloppy. I'm actually shocked how easy the gold came off!

    Next step is to customize and replace with a black bound pick guard and get it re-fretted with stainless frets

    Good way to clean "gold" hardware?-l4-jpgGood way to clean "gold" hardware?-original-pickguard-jpgGood way to clean "gold" hardware?-l-4-de-golding-tuners-jpgGood way to clean "gold" hardware?-l-4-de-golding-2-jpgGood way to clean "gold" hardware?-l-4-bridge-de-golding-jpgGood way to clean "gold" hardware?-l-4-tune-o-replacement-jpgGood way to clean "gold" hardware?-l-4-de-golding-jpg

  40. #39

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    I've used oven cleaner to remove gold plating.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojo27 View Post
    Brasso? I don't know - anybody got any cool ways of shining or cleaning the "gold" hardware that's on so many jazz guitars? I guess it's actually brass.

    Spit doesn't work - that much I've learned
    Anybody?

    kj

    WD-40

  42. #41

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    Naptha should do the job. The easiest way to find it is as lighter fluid. It won't harm nitro lacquer, but will remove most tarnish, without removing any metal coatings.

  43. #42

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    Interesting thread. It has gone from cleaning gold hardware to removing gold hardware. But does anyone know how to "age" gold hardware? I have a 1959 Airline Town and Country that has well-naturally aged gold pickups but with replacement gold machine heads that are too shiny and new looking. Any suggestions here?