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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Preserving Worn or Reliced Hardware



Aug 13th, 2017 09:11 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have a telecaster that I bought new in 97 and has been my main electric guitar ever since. My hands sweat a lot and I haven't been good about wiping it down after playing so the hardware all has a fair amount of visible wear (pitting on the chrome control plate and neck pickup cover, rust on the pickguard screws). I love the worn in look that it has now but I also don't want it to eventually degrade to the point that I have to start replacing these parts.

Is there any way to slow or stop the rust/corrosion on these parts without trying to "fix" them?

Contributing Member

The rain sounds like

a round of applause
Aug 13th, 2017 09:19 AM   Edit   Profile  

"I haven't been good about wiping it down after playing..."


That's the best way to preserve it as it is. If you coat it with something, it will look like it's coated with something.

Get into the habit if wiping off the metal parts after *every* time you pick up the guitar. Go to Target (or similar) and buy a few cheepo cotton terrycloth face towels, and toss one into every guitar's case.

That will remind you to use the thing when you put the guitar away. It takes maybe one whole minute to really clean off the metal parts.



Aug 13th, 2017 09:53 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have been in that habit for the last couple of years (ever since I bought a jazz bass and decided to baby it) but the first 15 years or so did their damage. I am guessing even with a good wipe down the rust on the screws will continue to grow (it completely covers most of them already) and I don't know enough about chrome corrosion to know what to expect there.

Beyond the post playing wipe down, I currently put a little 3-in-1 oil on all the metal bits then wipe it off with each restringing. I'm not sure if that helps or not, but it seems worth a shot to give it a thin layer of oil.

Surely there is something the guys who do relic guitars do to keep them looking the current amount of damaged right?

Contributing Member

Broke Down

in the Brassicas
Aug 13th, 2017 01:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

Check the screws under your right hand, and if they're corroded more than their neighbours, swap them around. Last week I *just* managed to get the nearest the hand pickup screw out of a 1974 Rickenbacker bass. It had never been moved, was full of rust and there was nearly no Phillips cross shape surface left in the head.



Aug 13th, 2017 03:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

"Surely there is something the guys who do relic guitars do to keep them looking the current amount of damaged right?"

Actually, I've had to have Fender send replacement bridges because they over reliced and needed new saddles.

If you have the squarish cast saddles on your Tele (an American Standard from that year would) then those screws can get frozen in there with rust. The machining is pretty tight. You can buy replacement screws if that is the easiest route for you.

If your setup techniques are good enough and you're going to pull it apart at some point (for example, changing a pickup or whatever) you can take the whole bridge apart and soak it in a cleaner, backing out the screws so the cleaner can get down into the threads. This means starting from scratch on a setup, which is a lot of work, and not for everyone.

Alternatively, you can do this: get each saddle level. Remove just one side screw of each saddle for cleaning at a time, so you have the other one still in there as a reference. Clean them up with the cleaner of your choice, both the screw and the saddle, reinstall to the correct height, and repeat for the other side.

Dabbing some cleaner on the top won't hurt, but it won't do a whole lot either. Enough for periodic maintenance, I guess, but to really get it clean it won't go down deep enough because of the tight machining. Grabbing and allen key and wiggling the screw back and forth a bit might help, though.

For cleaners, really anything you like and can tolerate would be fine. Be aware that anything runny that will go into the wood can be an issue. This is where 3-in-1 can be dangerous, because it really likes to soak into wood and get weird. If you use something like naphtha, or an electronics cleaner, those can soak into the wood, but do very little (if any) damage.

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New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Aug 14th, 2017 06:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

Just keeping it clean will do 90% of the preservation. Dead skin and dust provides a place for moisture to hang out. Wash your hand before you play and you won't leave nearly as much guck. Wiping down the strings and the frets can cut the fret wear significantly as the oxides of both the metal of the frets and the strings are the abrasives that cause most of the fret wear (my theory and it doesn't cause any harm).

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Preserving Worn or Reliced Hardware

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