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Cleaning gold hardware


dogbiscuit
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The gold plating is thin, and soft (easily marked). It is corroded by amino acids, and fatty acids found in perspiration. Conventional metal polishes are all abrasive to some degree, and will remove the plating. After playing, I use a clean, damp micro-fibre cloth to neutralise the sweat, then buff with a clean dry cotton cloth that I keep just for this purpose. With plating that is not so durable, such as nickel and gold, I occasionally buff using a small amount of WD40 on the cotton lint free cloth. Chrome is much more durable and harder wearing. Good chrome has 3 coatings. A base layer of copper, then nickel and the top coat of chrome (which also is thin but much harder than gold). If gold shows signs of corrosion, don't be too enthusiastic trying to restore it - it might end up looking worse !

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I would wipe it gently with a rag dampened with naptha (lighter fluid) which should remove whatever gunk wants to come off. Then leave it alone. The more you rub gold the more it rubs off because it's a soft metal. The tuning pegs on one of my guitars has the gold worn away from using a stringwinder on string changes. Another has the gold entirely gone from two tuners because I was too lazy to remove them when buffing the neck with a big felt buffing wheel. It doesn't take much to remove the gold.

 

On the other hand, gold is relatively inert and it's hard to imagine it actually corroding or oxidizing, it might just be dirt and gunk that can be lifted with a gentle cleaner.

 

I'd avoid anything sold as a "metal polish" since that's going to be abrasive and is meant for polishing hard platings like chrome (or nickel). if you really want to use a metal cleaner, maybe you should try it on the underside of the tailpiece first.

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On the other hand' date=' gold is relatively inert and it's hard to imagine it actually corroding or oxidizing, it might just be dirt and gunk that can be lifted with a gentle cleaner.

 

[/quote']

 

the gold isnt what corrodes. once the gold is rubbed off (easy to do) the nickel under it corrodes. (gold is always plated over nickel on guitar parts). so, even though gold is inert, that nickel under it is anything but! that's what he is seeing if he sees corrosion.

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  • 4 weeks later...
I emailed Gibson about this and someone replied saying that their metal cleaner is fine to use. Then today he emailed again to say that he's just found it isn't safe and NOT to use it!! A suggested alternative would have been nice! After all this is Gibson.

 

Hello everyone, I'm new here in this forum (and German -- so excuse my English, please).

 

I had the same problem and I did use the original Gibson metal cleaner. First of all, DON'T APPLY IT TO GOLD HARDWARE.

After cleaning the golden tune-o-matic of my pretty Les Paul Studio (wine red, very nice thing), the following happened:

 

1. Although I precisely followed Gibson's instructions on the bottle (you know, this "apply small amount .... rub to shine" thing), the gold coating almost immediately disappeared, exposing the silver metal underneath it.

 

2. Meanwhile the exposed silver surface has become almost black (due to oxidation or whatever). Shame!

 

So Gibson's advice not to use it comes a bit too late for me but fortunately, it's a relatively small black spot (and invisible when I'm playing because it's then hidden under my palm).

 

Of course, my Les Paul was a bit more "flawless" before, but in my opinion, the sound is much more important than perfect looks.

 

By the way: So far, I've applied Gibson's metal cleaner to the chrome bridge of my SG two or three times with absolutely no problems, so for chrome hardware the Gibson stuff seems to be OK.

 

What about this Dr. Duck's Ax Wax? Has somebody tried it?

 

Kind regards to all of you!

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Hello everyone' date=' I'm new here in this forum (and German -- so excuse my English, please).

 

I had the same problem and I did use the original Gibson metal cleaner. First of all, DON'T APPLY IT TO GOLD HARDWARE.

After cleaning the golden tune-o-matic of my pretty Les Paul Studio (wine red, very nice thing), the following happened:

 

1. Although I precisely followed Gibson's instructions on the bottle (you know, this "apply small amount .... rub to shine" thing), the gold coating almost immediately disappeared, exposing the silver metal underneath it.

 

2. Meanwhile the exposed silver surface has become almost black (due to oxidation or whatever). Shame!

 

So Gibson's advice not to use it comes a bit too late for me but fortunately, it's a relatively small black spot (and invisible when I'm playing because it's then hidden under my palm).

 

Of course, my Les Paul was a bit more "flawless" before, but in my opinion, the sound is much more important than perfect looks.

 

By the way: So far, I've applied Gibson's metal cleaner to the chrome bridge of my SG two or three times with absolutely no problems, so for chrome hardware the Gibson stuff seems to be OK.

 

What about this Dr. Duck's Ax Wax? Has somebody tried it?

 

Kind regards to all of you!

[/quote']

 

Yeah, I think the consensus is that a good dry cloth is the best thing for gold hardware. I've never heard of Dr. Duck's before, but Ipersonally would hesitate to put any kind of wax on my guitar.

 

BTW, welcome to the forum. Not many Germans around here.

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I just wipe it clean with a slightly damp cloth. No need to polish the micro plating; it will rub off. You might try to use clear nail polish in high wear areas. For me, it did stop further wear after 40 plus years. The wear spots will always be there no matter what you do. But once it's played and worn...hey, the worn areas stops there and call it a relic job.

 

Or if you have the money, have one made in solid 18K... !!!

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This might be helpful?

 

How to Clean Gold Jewelry

About Gold

Pure gold (24k) is extremely soft so to make gold sturdy enough to use in jewelry, other metals are mixed with it, creating an alloy. Gold is an inert element so it doesn't tarnish, but the silver and copper in the alloy may react to the oxygen, sulphur and moisture in the air and eventually turn the gold jewelry dark.

 

There are rare circumstances in which alloys containing a high percentage of gold will tarnish, but in general the higher the percentage of gold in the alloy, the less likely it is that the gold jewelry will tarnish. Gold jewelry that is 14k and higher may never tarnish. If it does, the process will be much slower than the tarnishing of sterling silver.

 

Cleaning Gold Jewelry

To remove tarnish: To clean gold jewelry that does not include any soft gemstones, pearls or crystals put the gold jewelry into warm sudsy water containing a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid such as Dawn, Ivory or Simple Green, and rub gently with your fingers or a cotton swab. For more abrasive cleaning (only if needed), brush lightly with a soft baby toothbrush. Be gentle. Even with the added metals, gold is still very soft and easily scratched.

 

Do not use toothpaste or baking soda to clean gold jewelry. They are much too abrasive. Use only mild non-phosphate dishwashing liquid.

 

Rinse your gold jewelry thoroughly with warm water and dry with a cotton cloth. Avoid using paper products such as tissues because they contain particles of wood that can scratch the gold's surface.

 

Before storing, let the gold jewelry lie flat and air dry completely, overnight if possible. Moisture speeds the tarnishing process so it's important to make sure your gold jewelry is dry before putting it away.

 

Once the jewelry is dry, if it looks dull, rub it gently with a jewelry polishing cloth. Use a clean cloth, or a clean section of a previously used cloth, so that the gold is not scratched. To avoid creating a pattern, rub with the polishing cloth in varying straight lines, not in a circular motion.

 

Machine cleaning: If your gold jewelry still looks dark, it may need aggressive machine cleaning. Most jewelers have some type of automatic cleaning equipment, such as an ultrasonic, ionic or steam cleaner, and experience using it so they can give you advice about whether such cleaning is safe for your specific piece of gold jewelry. If it is, they can thoroughly clean your gold jewelry for you. The professional ultrasonic machines used in jewelry stores heat the cleaning solution so are more effective than the small ultrasonics sold for home use.

 

Professional polishing: Clean gold jewelry that still isn't looking like new may be scratched and in need of extensive polishing to be shiny again. This process is done in stages with abrasive papers, not with a polishing cloth, and is a job for your local jeweler. Such polishing will remove some gold so storing your jewelry carefully will save your gold, and save you some money, too.

 

Storing Gold Jewelry

When storing, keep each piece of gold jewelry separate from your other jewelry to avoid scratches. If the jewelry is a delicate gold chain, hanging it from a hook will keep the chain from getting tangled. Or stretch the chain out onto jewelers' anti-tarnish tissue, roll up the tissue, and then place the roll in your jewelry box, laying flat. That will keep the chain from getting knotted and also slow down the chemical process that results in tarnish. You may also want to put it into a plastic bag and squeeze as much air out of it as you can before closing (unless your gold jewelry includes pearls or opals; those gems need exposure to the moisture in the air to maintain their luster).

 

If your gold jewelry is well cared for and properly stored, you may never have to clean it. That means protecting your gold jewelry from being scratched by other pieces, keeping it in a dry atmosphere by using silica in your jewelry box or putting each piece in an airtight plastic bag, which in addition to keeping the piece dry gives the alloy metals less oxygen to react to, and keeping your gold jewelry away from sulphur producers such as rubber bands. As rubber bands age and break down they release sulphur so wrapping jewelry packages with rubber bands or having rubber bands in your jewelry box will speed up the tarnishing process. Other sulphur producers that you should not use for storing your jewelry are newspapers, clingy plastic wraps, and non-archival cardboard boxes.

 

Additional Tips About Gold Jewelry

As with all jewelry, do not wear gold jewelry in a swimming pool or hot tub or when using ammonia or cleaning bleach at home. Bleach, including chlorine, will attack and dissolve the metal so that the more delicate parts, such as connecting rings in a bracelet, will come undone. It's better to not wear gold jewelry in the shower either. The soap can leave a dull finish on the gold that is not easy to remove once it builds up.

 

Taking Care of Gold Jewelry ~ Summary

Clean gold jewelry with diluted mild dishwashing liquid. Rinse thoroughly. Dry with cotton. Lay flat to air dry overnight. Store protected so it does not get scratched.

It's okay to get gold jewelry wet if there are no gemstones, pearls, crystals or silk thread in the piece.

If more extensive cleaning is needed, your experienced local jeweler needs to do this.

Same advice as with all other jewelry: avoid getting any chemicals, including perfume, hairspray, deodorant spray, body lotion, acetone, bleach, or turpentine, onto your gold jewelry.

Wear with joy! Over time, when gold is worn it develops a beautiful glowing warm patina.

Cleaning Gold-Filled Jewelry

These instructions about how to clean gold jewelry also apply to gold-filled jewelry. By U.S. law, gold-filled means that at least 1/20th of the weight of the piece is a layer of gold (often 14k gold) that has been bonded by extreme heat and pressure to base metal (usually brass). Through that process, the outer gold layer becomes joined with the inner core of base metal (the “filled” in gold-filled) and the result is jewelry that has the appearance and durability of gold, but is stronger and costs much less.

 

It's important to clean gold-filled jewelry gently to avoid scratching the outer layer of gold. Better yet is to store the pieces so carefully they rarely need cleaning and never need any polishing other than a gentle rub with a soft cloth.

 

About Gold-Plated Jewelry

Gold-plating is an extremely thin layer of gold applied to base metal, almost like gold paint. That wash of gold usually wears away quickly. Because so little gold is used in gold-plating and the process is simple compared to the bonding process used to create gold-filled material, jewelry that is gold-plated is much less expensive than gold or gold-filled jewelry. But gold-plating wears off, so we do not use gold-plated material in our ColorSpark Jewelry, not even vermeil that is often promoted as a high-quality product. The plating on vermeil is usually 22k gold and the structural metal is usually a silver alloy, but the gold layer is still just a thin wash of gold that will wear off no matter how careful you are when wearing or cleaning your gold-plated jewelry.

 

Instructions about how to clean gold jewelry do not apply to gold-plated jewelry. Usually the plating won't tarnish (especially if it's 22k gold), but once the surface has rubbed off and the structural metals are exposed, the jewelry will tarnish quickly. Remove the tarnish and you risk also removing any gold-plating that remains. It's a difficult situation if your much-loved piece of jewelry is gold-plated rather than gold or gold-filled.

 

Because the surface is so delicate, our main advice about cleaning gold-plated jewelry is to wipe it lightly with a damp cotton cloth or cotton swab to remove surface dirt or dust. To restore shine, rub very gently with a polishing cloth that's made for gold. Avoid using abrasive polishing cloths. They may remove too much of the gold surface. It's especially important to protect gold-plated jewelry from getting scratched.

 

Another way to restore the beauty of your gold-plated jewelry is to have the piece replated by your local jeweler. Or, for a long-term solution, a jeweler can reset the stones in gold or gold-filled settings. That can be expensive but with proper care gold jewelry and the relatively inexpensive alternative of gold-filled jewelry will look like new for a very long time and can be cleaned and polished without being damaged.

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I've been taking care of gold-plated guitar gear for years -- what I'm using is a good grade of carnauba wax on all metal parts within hours of unpacking the sucker (you can use this on the finish as well; this stuff is, after all, car paint). This helps protect it from acids and scratching. The gold is very thin plating (as mentioned elsewhere) and the main way that it's damaged is that it's simply rubbed off. The second way it's damaged is that the base metal beneath it corrodes and allows the gold to flake off (very small flakes). Waxing helps protect it in both cases. Do NOT use metal polishes; you'll just accelerate the process of wearing off the gold. Re-Wax your guitar as often as you'd wax a new car.

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  • 11 years later...

Hi,

just buffing my ‘93 LP and saw this about the “gold” hardware. 

I can report  with great satisfaction that Weiman’s Stainless Steel cleaner (essentially a white mineral oil for kitchen appliances ) works superbly on my pickups, etc.  Took care of 80% of problems on first pass with microfiber.  No tarnishing, darkening, or chipping as reported by others. 
 

hope that helps you!

Andrew Mirhej

Eugene, Oregon

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On March 25, 2009 at 8:58 AM, chongo said:

I've been taking care of gold-plated guitar gear for years -- what I'm using is a good grade of carnauba wax on all metal parts within hours of unpacking the sucker (you can use this on the finish as well; this stuff is, after all, car paint). This helps protect it from acids and scratching. The gold is very thin plating (as mentioned elsewhere) and the main way that it's damaged is that it's simply rubbed off. The second way it's damaged is that the base metal beneath it corrodes and allows the gold to flake off (very small flakes). Waxing helps protect it in both cases. Do NOT use metal polishes; you'll just accelerate the process of wearing off the gold. Re-Wax your guitar as often as you'd wax a new car.

 

I agree 100%

It doesn't take much for the thin layer of Gold Plating to come off.. Cleaning lightly with non abrasive is strongly advised...

The same is true with the rest of ypur Guitar. Unless you're trying to remove Scratches or imperfections why use any abrasive?

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On 9/11/2020 at 6:20 PM, Mirhej said:

Hi,

just buffing my ‘93 LP and saw this about the “gold” hardware. 

I can report  with great satisfaction that Weiman’s Stainless Steel cleaner (essentially a white mineral oil for kitchen appliances ) works superbly on my pickups, etc.  Took care of 80% of problems on first pass with microfiber.  No tarnishing, darkening, or chipping as reported by others. 
 

hope that helps you!

Andrew Mirhej

Eugene, Oregon

Good info, but I doubt the OP will see this, he hasn't been on here since he started this thread 11 years ago....

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On 9/15/2020 at 6:26 AM, Larsongs said:

Who keeps resurrecting these ancient Threads? Aren't there enough people here posting new Threads?

 

Mostly new people. 

When I asked the same thing, I was told that searching out older posts on your subject was correct protocol, and preferred to creating a new thread.

Now I just accept it. Otherwise I'd go crazy.

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