Raw/unfinished vs polished nickel covers?

What's your preference? Raw or polished nickel?


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Wound_Up

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What's your preference? Raw nickel covers or polished nickel? Trying to decide on what to get to replace the chrome covers on my Goldtop guitar. Anybody got good pics of their raw nickel covers they could post?

Any reason why I shouldn't get raw nickel covers? Could I polish them myself if I so chose? How long does it take polished nickel covers to lose that shine? Do reliced covers usually start polished or do they start with raw nickel covers usually?

Anything I'm missing? Thanks.
 

ARandall

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I guess the only thing missing is that it has nothing to do with our preference, and everything to do with yours.

Raw nickel is essentially a brushed plain cover with no plating. The plating is actually a different metal composition, as well as being shiny. It will take a bit of effort to make them fully polished like a plating, as the brushed look is essentially an even level of fine/medium scratches to the whole surface.
Most covers on guitars do not lose shine very much. You will actually see that the vintage 50's Les Paul covers are way more shiny than any reliced cover, so 'a very long time' is what it will take a well looked after cover to dull.
 

efstop

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I bought two sets of raw nickel covers, one set dull, the other set polished for the P-90s in two of my LPs. One can be turned into the other with the appropriate polishing or scuffing material. Currently I'm not using either set because I went back to plastic covers for those pickups.
 

strayedstrater

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Covers aren't made of nickel (pure nickel would dampen highs excessively). The full term for unplated covers is raw nickel silver. "Nickel silver" is a copper/nickel/zinc alloy, also called German silver (the alloy contains no silver -- it was created to be a cheaper alternative for silver, and the word is used to describe the color, not the material it's made of).

It's the same stuff frets are made of. Like frets you could polish it to a nice silvery mirror shine -- but it won't be exactly the same as polished nickel plating.

It tarnishes differently than nickel plate does. My eyes see it as a slightly green hue.
 

Wound_Up

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I guess the only thing missing is that it has nothing to do with our preference, and everything to do with yours.

Raw nickel is essentially a brushed plain cover with no plating. The plating is actually a different metal composition, as well as being shiny. It will take a bit of effort to make them fully polished like a plating, as the brushed look is essentially an even level of fine/medium scratches to the whole surface.
Most covers on guitars do not lose shine very much. You will actually see that the vintage 50's Les Paul covers are way more shiny than any reliced cover, so 'a very long time' is what it will take a well looked after cover to dull.

Oh no. I'm not basing whether I get them on others' preference of whether they like them over polished. I was just wondering who preferred them and if people actually do use them in that, raw/unfinished state. And was hoping to see a few good pics to use to help me decide what to get. You know...how they wore/weathered as you use them and other things. Sorry if it came off as something else. I tried searching and get way too varied results to find anything meaningful, so I figured I'd start a thread.



Covers aren't made of nickel (pure nickel would dampen highs excessively). The full term for unplated covers is raw nickel silver. "Nickel silver" is a copper/nickel/zinc alloy, also called German silver (the alloy contains no silver -- it was created to be a cheaper alternative for silver, and the word is used to describe the color, not the material it's made of).

It's the same stuff frets are made of. Like frets you could polish it to a nice silvery mirror shine -- but it won't be exactly the same as polished nickel plating.

It tarnishes differently than nickel plate does. My eyes see it as a slightly green hue.

I know. I just didn't feel like typing nickel silver every time and I figured everyone would understand what I meant.


I appreciate the responses. Thanks!
 

efstop

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No plating at all, just the raw nickel/silver. If they were to be chromed or gold plated, there might be several steps to the final finish.

Let me see if I can get a pic or two of my P-90 covers, polished and not. Back in a bit.
 

monstruo_loco

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I like the natural wear of the polished covers that comes with playing, feel the same about playing wear vs. relic, just personal preference is all.
 

efstop

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Oh no. I'm not basing whether I get them on others' preference of whether they like them over polished. I was just wondering who preferred them and if people actually do use them in that, raw/unfinished state. And was hoping to see a few good pics to use to help me decide what to get. You know...how they wore/weathered as you use them and other things. Sorry if it came off as something else. I tried searching and get way too varied results to find anything meaningful, so I figured I'd start a thread.






I know. I just didn't feel like typing nickel silver every time and I figured everyone would understand what I meant.


I appreciate the responses. Thanks!
The raw can be polished, but it would take a while.



 

BadMongo

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I like the raw ones I've used, they seemed to polish up pretty nicely on a buffing wheel but not super bright:
20210126_231545.jpg

They got a little salty vinegar dunk after that to match the guitar they went into, but I'll keep using raw ones in the future. Pretty easy to get them however shiny you want.
 

cooljuk

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I like the raw ones I've used, they seemed to polish up pretty nicely on a buffing wheel but not super bright:
View attachment 514847
They got a little salty vinegar dunk after that to match the guitar they went into, but I'll keep using raw ones in the future. Pretty easy to get them however shiny you want.

That's true. Raw nickel will polish up to nearly a mirror. ...but it won't stay that way very long. Without the plating to protect them, they will age back to a dull gray, perhaps even with some greening, extremely fast.
 

Cory

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I’m no expert, but nickel covers/hardware seem to lose their luster rather quickly, especially with frequent playing - I’d say go with a polished set and allow them to age naturally (if that’s the look you’re going for) - my vote would also be a slight relic’d plated cover over a raw nickel cover.
 

80smetalhead

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Every drop of sweat from every gig I’ve played for the last 20 years including my dream gigs playing at the Fillmore San Fransisco and the Wiskey A Go Go is on the no longer polished nickle covers of my Gibson Les Paul Standard.

It’s funny but the first picture makes my pickups look way more polished than they are and the second makes my LP look newer than it is...flash just caught it right this time lol. The second picture shows how tarnished the bridge and tailpiece actually is...I’d swapped the pickups out for some SD Alnico Pro II’s by this pic. I still have the original’s though!

I would always go for polished nickel because they helped to tell my story and preserve my best memories as a musician every time I look at them.
815B678C-D3BF-401F-891D-9743CAA338E6.jpeg


7EE2BD3B-C438-4BA5-9CA2-116D34FFD2E0.jpeg
 
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WolfeMacleod

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Raw nickel is also less prone to cover-induced feedback issues. Becasue no nickel plating.
 

Wound_Up

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Well I guess it doesn't matter much anymore. Ended buying a brand new, covered SD 59 model bridge pickup, SH-1B, for about half price from a nice little shop in TX. It's got a nice, shiny nickel silver cover so that settles that. Lol.

I've just got to install it now. It's just 2 wires but jeez. I took less time to replace the 3-way switch and it's more complicated lol. I don't even want to talk about that. I installed the Switchcraft switch and it didn't work so I reinstalled the crappy import switch. Then redid it again the next day when I realized I had the signal and ground wires backwards on the Switchcraft. It took about 5 mins total the 2nd time. So I reamed the hole out for the deep shouldered nut and it was done.
 
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BornToLooze

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This just had regular nickel covers. The neck's still kinda normal looking, the bridge, not so much.
M8TiPkl.jpg
 


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