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Thread: Rusty string saddles, should I clean? What works best ? or replace?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Round Rock TX
    Posts
    71

    Rusty string saddles, should I clean? What works best ? or replace?

    they are getting pretty grungy how do I go about cleaning them, what do you guys do?
    Ive heard everything from wd40 to clr to oxi-clean to lighter fluid or even vinager
    What is the best method?
    Should I just replace them?
    Whats everyone think of Roller bridge saddles?
    Three chords and two minutes is all I need.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Saint Paul
    Posts
    2,715
    Good question.

    Anyone???
    Greg

    2010 HH AL
    2001 MM90 AL

    Dr. Z Stingray
    Orange RV50
    Dr. Z DB4

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Paris, France
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    4,803
    1) Hot soapy water and a good stiff brush. If that does nothing...
    2) Oil soak followed by 1) again. If that doesn't work...
    3) Steel wool (0000) (Steel Wool sheds particles like crazy sodon't do this anywhere near your pickups. Work on sheets of newspaper for easy clean up). If that doesn't work...
    4) Worst case scenario, 1200 grit wet and dry paper (use wet, soak the paper in water with a little dish soap, change and/or rinse the paper regularly, work as lightly as you need can and still be effective). Finish with 0000 steel wool. They won't look as they do when new, they'll have a different burnish or sheen, but they'll be clean as can be.

    N.B. - Not advised on piezo saddles!
    Last edited by DrKev; 05-04-2017 at 04:20 PM.
    An Irishman in Paris...
    2005 LE Buttercream Silhouette Special

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
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    916
    If the saddles are pitted, you may just want to replace them vs spend time to clean them up. If they are rusting, you should do what you can to get rid of the rust and then coat the part in some oil. WD40 and 3-in-one oil work.

    I've noticed that certain EBMM chrome plated hardware tend to tarnish quickly in the area I live in. It doesn't rust, but it gets cloudy and tarnished. The bent saddles, strap knobs and jack plate on the Axis tend to go first. I've never had issues with the tuners, neck plates or bridge plates. The chrome on these seems mostly tarnish resistant.

    I recall BP saying something about how CA laws make it hard to do good plating. I wonder if this has anything to do with it?
    EVH - Blue Quilt
    1995 - Luke I - Pearl Blue
    2009 - 25th Anniversary
    2011 - Luke II - True Gold BFR
    2012 - Axis Tribute - Trans Pink
    2012 - Albert Lee SSS - White Pearl
    2014 - Axis Super Sport Semi-Hollow (Reflex mod) - Black Cherry Burst
    2016 - Cutlass - Vintage Sunburst

    Take a break from playin' guitar and read a webcomic: nemu*nemu!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Paris, France
    Posts
    4,803
    I think it's more to do with body chemistry (oils and sweat from your fingers and hands). My Silhouette Special is 12 years old and the plating is as good as can be everywhere except the saddles. My guitar gets a lot of use and I've filed and sanded the top of the saddles a few times (which are not chrome plated, BTW).
    An Irishman in Paris...
    2005 LE Buttercream Silhouette Special

    Forum Rules and Useful MM Guitar Info
    Required reading - Forum Decorum

    Ernie Ball Customer Service
    Music Man Customer Service

    I do not work for EBMM. I'm just a moderator.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    916
    I thought it was body chemistry too, however after dealing with this for years, I can say it's not because none of my other guitars have this issue. I'm not sure why it happens but it only happens when the guitar is stored in the case not if I leave the guitar out on a guitar stand. It's always the same pieces that tarnish for me and I'm super careful to wipe them down after playing. My only guess is the island heat and being trapped in the case causes the playing to get tarnished?

    The part I found odd is that the tuners nor the bridge plate get tarnished. Only the saddles, jack plate and the strap knobs.
    EVH - Blue Quilt
    1995 - Luke I - Pearl Blue
    2009 - 25th Anniversary
    2011 - Luke II - True Gold BFR
    2012 - Axis Tribute - Trans Pink
    2012 - Albert Lee SSS - White Pearl
    2014 - Axis Super Sport Semi-Hollow (Reflex mod) - Black Cherry Burst
    2016 - Cutlass - Vintage Sunburst

    Take a break from playin' guitar and read a webcomic: nemu*nemu!

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