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mbengs1

How do I bring back the gold color of my pickup covers?

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Due to playing and sweat, the gold color on the pickups and bridge have worn out to an almost silver color. How do I make them gold again? do i have to buy new ones ? 

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yep. that is just plating, and when it is gone, it is gone.

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How's the rest of the guitar look? The worn gold might just work for it.

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3 hours ago, Grant Harding said:

Electrolysis

That just kills the hair growth. Only happens in certain climates in season and for those that know, makes the best sound.

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3 hours ago, Grant Harding said:

I mean electroplating. 😃😃

i was thinking more along the lines of spray painting.

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I'm going to put back the gibson 498t and 490r back in my les paul custom. The gold on the pickup covers wore out especially on the bridge pickup. 

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1 hour ago, 1001gear said:

Wondering why plating on coil cover would wear. ???

some peeps perspiration is hell on finishes and plated stuff...     

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I used to have that problem with chrome snares and hoops. Still get corrosion but at about 1% the '60s rate. Pickup covers :idk:...

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3 hours ago, 1001gear said:

Wondering why plating on coil cover would wear. ???

Just a wild guess here but.... Since the plating was applied by electrolysis, and the movement of the steel strings over the magnets provide a bit of electricity, it might "push", for lack of a better term, the plating away. But I am sure someone will pop in, and explain it a lot better then me.:confused:

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3 hours ago, badpenguin said:

Just a wild guess here but.... Since the plating was applied by electrolysis, and the movement of the steel strings over the magnets provide a bit of electricity, it might "push", for lack of a better term, the plating away. But I am sure someone will pop in, and explain it a lot better then me.:confused:

That does make more sense than sweat corroding gold. (if you were kidding Voltan, I missed it)

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, 1001gear said:

That does make more sense than sweat corroding gold. (if you were kidding Voltan, I missed it)

It's not really corroding the gold. It corrodes the steel under it, and loosens the bond.  Plating looks impervious, but it's not.

Edited by mrbrown49
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Replace the pickup covers and the rest of the parts. Paint looks like paint and plating them yourself accomplishes nothing as the plating won't stick to corrosion. It's not so easy as pouring some solution in a jar, connecting a couple wires to a battery and dropping the parts in the solution as some people like to think. Unless you are able to remove all the corrosion and can re-plate with a base metal first to fill all pitting from the corrosion and mirror polish before plating, you're just wasting your time.

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I still wanna see a pic of the guitar as a whole as it is now. I'm willing to bet there's some badassery there.

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15 hours ago, 1001gear said:

Wondering why plating on coil cover would wear. ???

It's real gold, but electroplating allows for an extremely thin coating. The internets tell me about one-tenth of a micron thick.   Gold-plated connectors on computers ect. is thicker because it's functional and not cosmetic. Gold is a relatively soft metal too. 

The gold plated hardware seems to have fallen out of favor recently, except perhaps for pricey high-end guitars. It's not durable. I have a "Black 'n' Gold" Aria Pro CSB-450 bass where the plating's worn off. :facepalm:

 I have to say though, a Korina Explorer or Flying V wouldn't look correct to me without gold hardware. 

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Kaibigan, this is also why you should wipe down your guitar when you are done: the sweat, with the salt, potassium, ammonia, urea, etc. left to 'work' on the metal parts, including the strings, p-u covers, bridge and tuners. Not to mention the 'creeping crud ' on the neck, which is primarily sweat and dead skin.

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Re-plating them is expensive and involves caustic chemicals and nasty poisons.  

Pickup covers are very inexpensive to buy however.  I've bought cover sets for as low as a few dollars.  Replacing them isn't that difficult either. You either need an iron with the correct wattage and a good solder sucker or you can even use a Dremel tool and a small cutting disk to cut the solder tabs loose, then re-solder the new one in place. 

If they are Humbuckers you do need to get the correct hole spacing when purchasing new ones. Many times the generics will work so long as you measure the hole spacing. 

 

I like the look of gold plated instruments and own several that use it but they are high maintenance if you want to preserve the instruments looks, first protecting them then replacing the worn parts.  Gold plating gets eaten away by wear and chemical action.  The salts in sweat is the most common cause.

I'm on the set of hardware for my LP I bought in the early 90's. Changed the first set around 2000, and the second set has lasted double that so far and looks to be good for at least another 10 years before I change it again.  I'm rough on instruments too. Play them all the time so its not like they are sitting in a case for months at a time.    

Best thing I found to preserve the plating is to apply a good layer of Carnauba wax during string changes. Turtle wax is what I use. I've gotten double the life so far on gold hardware. Avoid using anything that contains lemon oil or silicones.  I used to use furniture was with lemon oil and I'm convinced it was the acidic lemon oil that accelerated the loss of gold plating.  Physical wear constantly rubbing against it will do it too.  Chemicals like WD40 will strip the gold off immediately strip the gold plating off. 

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