Corroded hardware

tache3

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Messages
87
Reaction score
182
Hello all. First time poster here, hoping someone can advise me. I'm considering buying a mid-90s Standard from a friend. He freely admits that he was a sweaty old git when he used to play live and as such there is some corrosion on the hardware, particularly the bridge and tailpiece.

The discolouration doesn't bother me but there are large patches of what appears to be a green powdery coating or flaking. I am loathe to get out steel wool or a wire brush for fear of causing further damage. Has anyone else come across this and have an idea of how to remove it safely?

Many thanks for any help anyone can give.
 

BuzzHaze

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
7,115
Reaction score
16,441
Unless it's causing the strings to buzz or go out of tune, you should be fine cleaning it with a toothbrush or metal brush. Use some never-dull or metal cleaner.

I melt hardware too, but it doesn't turn green..haha Here's the last set I melted off my Explorer

 

BuzzHaze

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
7,115
Reaction score
16,441
I only change mine if it effects the playability. You can see the low E string saddle is worn almost to the bottom in the pic I posted. The E and A were starting to get too low to adjust, otherwise that hardware would still be bolted to my Explorer. It looked bad-ass for sure. I've already bubbled the new bridge and tailpiece so it's all good.
 

tache3

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Messages
87
Reaction score
182
I melt hardware too, but it doesn't turn green..
Here's the greeness I referred to-





I'm going to go out and pick up wire brushes and steel wool later today. Thanks for the advice.
 

major

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
686
Reaction score
377
Here's the greeness I referred to-





I'm going to go out and pick up wire brushes and steel wool later today. Thanks for the advice.
There are folks on here who pay top dollar to get their hardware to look like that!:cool::shock:
 

BuzzHaze

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
7,115
Reaction score
16,441
If you could bag that green powder, it's worth $100 p/gm to the relic guys...haha

Nevr-Dull would rub that right off. Home Page
 

dspelman

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2009
Messages
11,140
Reaction score
7,603
The green powder is verdigris or, more likely, copper sulfate. Copper ordinarily corrodes to a blue-green powder in the presence of several kinds of acid. Take a look at the Statue of Liberty, which is sheathed in copper. You'll notice that same characteristic color. The copper is one of the layers in the plating process, usually before nickel goes on. Step away from the wire brushes and steel wool, you can fix this a lot easier with mild chemicals; Nevr Dull, Miracle Cloth, etc. What's happening is that the plating itself is corroding and coming apart -- it's not a surface thing. You need to replace this stuff or have it replated (or sell it to one of the relic boys). Steel wool and wire brushes will simply scratch your plating and increase the number of sites that will become corroded.

One of the problems with old Gibsons is actually the paint itself -- it's made of nitrocellulose, which is cotton (usually) or other plant cellulose (wood pulp?) nitrated with nitric acid and sulfuric acid. As the paint degrades (which begins to happen within the first five years) it outgasses both of those acids, and these acids attack through micro pinholes in the plating. Worse, these acids (including those in sweat) also attack pickup coils (the windings are copper) and the resultant crystal growth can actually punch through the thin insulation on the wire and cause shorts.

Once you get the hardware replaced or replated, wipe it down frequently. Better yet, WAX it (carnauba car wax is best) to protect it. And finally, toss a VCI (Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor) into the case and replenish it about once a year and keep the guitar inside the case, closed. You can find these at theruststore.com
 

tache3

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Messages
87
Reaction score
182
The green powder is verdigris or, more likely, copper sulfate. Copper ordinarily corrodes to a blue-green powder in the presence of several kinds of acid. Take a look at the Statue of Liberty, which is sheathed in copper. You'll notice that same characteristic color. The copper is one of the layers in the plating process, usually before nickel goes on. Step away from the wire brushes and steel wool, you can fix this a lot easier with mild chemicals; Nevr Dull, Miracle Cloth, etc. What's happening is that the plating itself is corroding and coming apart -- it's not a surface thing. You need to replace this stuff or have it replated (or sell it to one of the relic boys). Steel wool and wire brushes will simply scratch your plating and increase the number of sites that will become corroded.

One of the problems with old Gibsons is actually the paint itself -- it's made of nitrocellulose, which is cotton (usually) or other plant cellulose (wood pulp?) nitrated with nitric acid and sulfuric acid. As the paint degrades (which begins to happen within the first five years) it outgasses both of those acids, and these acids attack through micro pinholes in the plating. Worse, these acids (including those in sweat) also attack pickup coils (the windings are copper) and the resultant crystal growth can actually punch through the thin insulation on the wire and cause shorts.

Once you get the hardware replaced or replated, wipe it down frequently. Better yet, WAX it (carnauba car wax is best) to protect it. And finally, toss a VCI (Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor) into the case and replenish it about once a year and keep the guitar inside the case, closed. You can find these at theruststore.com
Now that's quality info! Many thanks.
 

ACELUEK

ACE FREHLEY'S BASTARD SON
Joined
Nov 9, 2009
Messages
4,246
Reaction score
4,415
Man, what the hell are you guys eating/drinking to cause the metal to corrode like that??:lol:
 

Dino Velvet

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
3,674
Reaction score
2,571
If they are Gibson parts replacements are cheap enough on ebay. And you can sell those also.
 

dspelman

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2009
Messages
11,140
Reaction score
7,603
Man, what the hell are you guys eating/drinking to cause the metal to corrode like that??:lol:
In a lot of cases, heavy drinkers output sweat that turns strings black almost immediately, and that can quickly corrode guitar parts. There are other conditions that can produce similar results.
 

BuzzHaze

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
7,115
Reaction score
16,441
I thought only Brass would rust green?
I live in Ottawa and our Parliament Buildings have copper roofs. The older parts are green and the newer roof sections are now drk brown but will eventually turn green. You can see the older roof sections in the back and on the very top of the Peach Tower. We have a bunch of building like this here in the Nations Capital.

 

old mark

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2009
Messages
3,825
Reaction score
3,504
I live in Ottawa and our Parliament Buildings have copper roofs. The older parts are green and the newer roof sections are now drk brown but will eventually turn green. You can see the older roof sections in the back and on the very top of the Peach Tower. We have a bunch of building like this here in the Nations Capital.

Better get somebody up there to polish that roof, dude...:dude:



My first LP Custom had gold hardware like that, but the guy's sweat was so noxious it actually bubbled the metal! I bought new covers and a tailpiece...I didn't want that shit touching my hands.....:shock:


mark
 

TerribleRacket

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2010
Messages
872
Reaction score
459
In a lot of cases, heavy drinkers output sweat that turns strings black almost immediately, and that can quickly corrode guitar parts. There are other conditions that can produce similar results.
That's really interesting. I'm a definite hardware melter (even chrome hardware) and have been since I started playing in my early teens. Like many of us, I was thoroughly muddled throughout undergrad, but I never noticed my strings turning black or the rate of corrosion increasing during that time frame.

You've really piqued my interest, I think I'll look into this a bit more and get back to you if I find anything interesting.

Edit: Alright, maybe we hardware melters are lushes, but we're hygienic lushes. ;) Apparently, urea inhibits corrosion.

http://www.benthamscience.com/open/tocorrj/articles/V003/38TOCORRJ.pdf
 


Latest Threads



Top