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I would like hear some opinions on cleaning gold hardware/pick-ups that have suffered from 'out-gassing' of an old pickguard. I usually just try get it off with very mild cleaning, but was hoping someone might have trick up their sleeve? Thanks - Tom

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Hi Tom,

My only experience with this is an early '70s L5 CES. I had thought the loss of plating was due to terrible body chemistry (I've known the customer for a long time) but when the gutar came in with black strings, corroded to the point of breaking, I became suspicious.

The pick ups covers were indeed corroded through the nickel (under the gold) plating. The pick guard bracket and screws were etched and pitted (read that "dripping red rust). I investigated getting the hardware replated, but couldn't find a suitable source. I did get a quote of $700 (not including polishing) for replating the tailpiece. We decided to string up the guitar and move on.

If the hardware is not too terrible, I'd try Nevr Dull. This is a polish on wadding. I would escalate to Simichrome (on an old sock), but I'd be concerned about this getting under the pick up covers. It would be fine for tuners & tailpieces.

Not much help here.

Joshua
Thanks Joshua

I am working on a L-5 CES as well. It's been the case for years. The pickguard gases played total mayhem on the hardware plating. Looks like and old boat bottom. I have used various methods on other guitars; guitar polish, spit, naptha, swirl remover, etc. I am hoping someone may know a better method? I'm not expecting to keep all the gold in tact. I just want to remove the gunk as efficiently as possible.
Hi Tom,

The corrosion I saw was bad enough to use 0000 steel wool. Some guitar players like that "played to death" look so scrubbing the loose corrosion off might be OK.

The wood on the guitar looked almost new. The last few frets were black, though.

On a related topic, the pick guard I got from allparts was really pretty nice. They also carry a replacement bracket that looked right, but they were out of stock.

Regards,

Joshua

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