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Les Paul Studio - Fixing fading/tarnished Gold Hardware


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Hi Guys,

I own a Les Paul Studio, alpine white with gold (gilded) hardware.

Over the years, though I've tried my best to keep it in good condition, the pickups, saddle and bridge have become faded / tarnished. Here's some pictures: imgur link..

I'm not sure, but I think 2 things are going on.

  1. The gold is getting rubbed off, especially notable at the top of the pickups (near the low E) which is where my hand usually rests, obviously.
  2. There's some sort of dirt/oxidation building up. I seem to be able to remove that by rubbing it hard.


Does anyone have any experience with this? What's going on, and how can I restore the hardware into it's original state?

Thanks in advance!

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The gold plating is wearing off.   The amount of gold plating is extremely thin and wears away.   The same thing happens to the nickel-plate ones; you just don't notice it as much.   All you can do is apply some light metal polish.  Whatever you are left with after that is it -- you restore parts of it but not all of it, and it will stop the existing corrosion that is currently eating away.  After every time you play it, wipe it down to get the sweat and oils from your hand off the guitar (contains salt which is corrosive).   Once it gets to the point that it truly displeases your eye, just buy some more gold hardware to replace and look all new.  But keep the old original hardware with the guitar ... it is part of its mojo.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/7/2020 at 4:22 PM, sunking101 said:

Some would say that when white yellows and the gold parts wear it's mojo. Look how much people pay for Custom Shop relics!

Here's a Custom Shop Randy Rhoads guitar where people buy it brand new with yellowed paint and extremely worn gold hardwear!


I'm afraid it's not yet quite that far into its aging process 😄

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On 5/7/2020 at 12:05 PM, RoyC said:

Your best solution is to re-plate them. 



On 5/7/2020 at 8:32 AM, cesarbg said:

I worked at a local chroming and nickeling center. It is possible to gold plate (not real gold though) the pieces again. Where I live they charged about 15 USD to do the process for a bunch of pieces. So it could work for you. 

They need to chemically remove the playing it has, because the metal is rusting , not just wearing off. Using polish will only take the gold color away completely, so it is useless for gold plated pieces.

Hope this helps. 


Alright, all I've got to do is learn to solder the wires again after removing the pick-ups. Learning something new every day!

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