What the hell is happening to my baby

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by LucyFox, Jun 16, 2021.

  1. LucyFox

    LucyFox Electromatic

    Mar 5, 2021
    København K
    But......I haven't used anything on it so what's the smell
  2. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    I was referring to the smell of vinegar. Does your guitar smell too?
  3. Archtops

    Archtops Synchromatic

    Mar 4, 2021
    Make sure there’s not a problem inside the guitar case. Good luck!
  4. GretschPraise

    GretschPraise Gretschie

    Jun 26, 2017
    Tampa Bay
    I also would vote for metal polish, except I now see it's gold plated. You'll have to proceed carefully otherwise you'll rub through the gold. If you can get the corrosion off without going through the gold, wax it with a good quality auto wax to inhibit a recurrence.
    mr coffee likes this.
  5. mr coffee

    mr coffee Country Gent

    Oct 7, 2009
    I'm thinking oxidization. Salty air could certainly factor - you are certainly surrounded by the sea, it would leave a metallic smell on your fingers, and the look is right. Removing it without damaging the plating will be a challenge, but as long as the oxidization is thoroughly addressed, a light coating of wax should prevent it and would shine up nicely as well.

    Back in Black likes this.
  6. TSims1

    TSims1 Gretschified

    Jun 18, 2013
    Listen, these things weren’t meant to live forever. It’s simply time for a NEW GRETSCH!!!! ;)
    SAguitar and JeffreyLeePierre like this.
  7. slickfaster

    slickfaster Country Gent

    Dec 29, 2009
    Had this happen on a Falcon... SA said they would replace all hardware.. I returned the guitar.. its like a corrosion under the plating. Guitar was fine. Cased it fo a month and open it to find all..all the gold plating was failing...no fix but replace...
  8. Penguin

    Penguin Country Gent

    Nov 20, 2011
    Sydney, Australia
    Hi LF,

    BIB is spot on - you are seeing corrosion from chloride ions ("salt spray") in the humid sea breeze. Other salt ions do it as well, but chloride is the main culprit in seaside areas, partly because there's so much of it in seawater. All of Copenhagen will get this; you can't avoid it if you live there, at least not if you have windows open and the instrument out of its case.

    I would not use an acid (including white vinegar, which is a weak acetic acid) to remove the corrosion products (the white bumps on your photo). Although it will work, it will also remove some of the metal below. And although it will make it shiny, it will only be for a while as fresh metal is exposed to further corrosion. BIB is also spot on about the "gold" layer - it is very thin and any abrasion (scratching, rubbing) to remove the corrosion will only wear the metal layer thinner, and again, expose fresh metal to further corrosion.

    So, what to do. If you can't remove the instrument from Copenhagen's salty air, and you shouldn't remove the corrosion often, then there are only two options left.

    (1) You could remove the corrosion product once and then seal the metal. I'm not an expert on metal protection, but if you had a protective coating over the bigsby to keep it away from the air, then the corrosion would slow. Have a look around for clear coat metal protection finishes and consider those. There are many brands of treatments; check Google. Treatments that work well on aluminium or even copper should also work well on your bigsby. Test it on the back of the bigsby first, just in case it has other unintended effects on the metal. Henry's point is also right - make sure it is safe to touch your skin as you play; have a look at the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) that goes with the product. I don't know rcboal's Wenol product noted earlier; but you can look up the product SDS on Google and make sure whatever finish you choose is safe to touch while you play. Also, if you go the metal sealing route, check that it doesn't impact on the poly (or whatever) finish on your instrument (again, test a small hidden part of the finish, from underneath the bigsby when you take it off - and make sure you leave it for a decent period before treating all of the bigsby). You probably should treat the bigsby off the instrument until the volatile components of the treatment have evaporated. And finally, if you don't like the metal protection finish, try to make sure you can reverse the treatment and take it off easily enough with a solvent.

    (2) you could just accept the metal corrosion - that's what I do with my gold hardware (but I live 10 km from the coast and I am further from the salty sea breeze).

    There are risks with metal treatments, and you'd need to go cautiously for the sake of your instrument. My general principle is the fewer chemicals, the better.

    I hope this helps,
    Back in Black and mr coffee like this.
  9. JeffreyLeePierre

    JeffreyLeePierre Country Gent

    I bet you have little guitars that last 3 months or else there would remain no room at all in your home :p
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