The Workbench

What to use to clean/polish nitro finish and clean nickel parts?


The nickel-plated pickup covers and bridge on my JL "1965" Casino are quite tarnished. I'm not a stickler for perfection, and I don't mind a "vintage" look, but I wouldn't mind cleaning them up a little bit.

My initial research has revealed that people use various products for this (someone mentioned toothpaste!), but 2 names keep popping up:

1) NEVR DULL 2) Flitz Metal Polish

What do you prefer to use for nickel parts?

Also, I'd like to give the guitar a little once-over to clean it. Again, lots of preferences out there, from naptha to nuthin'. But these products seem popular.

  • Gibson Pump Polish
  • Dunlop65
  • Virtuoso Premium Polish

Seems like some people like to use the Gibson pump or Dunlop 65 for regular cleaning/polishing, then maybe use the Virtuoso once a year (because it actually removes finish minutely each time?)

What's your choice for cleaning nitro finish?


Look at automotive chrome polishes, like Mother's. The pickups won't be too hard, but that bridge will be a PITA with all of those little pointy parts. I've used Nevr Dull while in the service and as a janitor on brass. Just add elbow grease.


Most name brand guitar polishes/cleaners should be safe for a nitro finish. I have used both Dunlop 65 and Gibson. For cleaning and polishing metal pickup covers, bigsbys, etc. the Blue Magic Metal Polish has worked well for me.


Mother's Billet polish works very well on SOLID metals, but I think it is not recommended for plated/coated metals.


Mothers or Mcguiers both make great products, for this.


Nevr Dull is great, BUT... It does have a tendency to eat away at thin plating. If the plating is heavy, you're probably OK... Just don't use it on gold plating... It has a tendency to strip it pretty quickly.

One thing that works very well on silver, nickel, and "German silver"... Tobacco ash. That's right, dry cigarette or cigar ash on a paper towel, and a little elbow grease, and the tarnish will be gone very quickly. Don't ask me how it works, but it does.


Ash is just a fine abrasive....


Ash is just a fine abrasive....

– Thomas

it's more than that. There is some sort of chemical reaction to silver and nickel-- because you can take the ash, make a paste with water, and apply it without rubbing. Let it sit for a few minutes, wipe it off and it will leach the tarnish away underneath where the paste was.

Obviously, it works quicker if you rub it as with a polish.


Thanks everybody! Appreciate the input.


3M hand glaze is the bomb for bringing dull to a shine. For regular polishing, I use Gibson. Other stuff might be right, but that can't be wrong; it's made for nitro finishes. For metal bits, I like nevrdull. I've never had it hurt even crappy chrome, but, as said above, it takes gold off like it was made to. For more agressive cleaning Brasso and simichrome.


All good information for hardware. Would you use car wax or a detail finisher on your new Gretsch? Alway thought about it.


Considering that many guitars are painted with automobile paint, why not?


Finally got around to giving my Casino a good maintenance/cleaning workover (was waiting for the Reverend soft spring to arrive).

Used Flitz on the nickel-plated pickup covers, and it made quite a difference, although I wasn't able to get all the tarnish/oxidization(?) off. But they look much better.

Gave the body and neck a good polishing with Dunlap 65 polish/cleaner too, and it looks fresher now.

Thanks for the input everybody!

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