Modern Gretsch Guitars

Tarnish on my Player’s Edition Anniversary


** edit: Updated thread title

I purchased this guitar from Rocky last year during my trip across the Pacific Ocean to attend the Balto-DC Roundup. It is a 2016 build.

Admittedly, it has been rarely played of late but I have noticed a lot of tarnish on the hardware. The tarnish is on the exposed edges of the pickups, the tuning pegs, the control knobs, the bridge, and the pickup selector. It isn't on the Bigsby which does get used.

Is this normal, or is there something else I'm missing?


Could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's nickel, not chrome. And nickel will eventually tarnish if not wiped clean after contact.


Thanks TP. I could be wrong in guessing that it is chrome.


I'm less than 10km from it. But my other Gretsch Electromatic guitars haven't suffered the same fate - and are older - which intrigues me as to why only my expensive Gretsch.


I grew up near the beach and found that the salty damp air lent itself to causing this type of damage.


These parts are nickel, not chrome. The bigsby is aluminum, which is why there is no tarnish there. It's normal for nickel to do this. The parts on your Electromatics are chrome, that's why they stay nicely clean.


It’s normal if you live 8n a high humid area. My SSLVO is like that, while my 5420T is still shiny.

A light rubbing of #0000 wool can clean it up.


Or a touch of metal polish. (I like Mother’s Billet Polish.)


Thanks for your help fellas.

I’ll try out the steel wool over the weekend.


Thanks for your help fellas.

I’ll try out the steel wool over the weekend.

– Adsy81

I wouldn't suggest steel wool, just some metal polish. Steel wool may do more damage


Any good metal polish will help this. Flitz, Blue Magic, etc. I also would not use steel wool as it will scratch the nickel plate. You want to remove the oxidation without leaving scratches in the plating.


Ten minutes with any of my guitars and my nuclear sweat and I get the same results. That reminds me that I really need to give them all a good wipe down.


Agreed- don't recommend steel wool. Too aggressive, even 0000. You'd also end up with pieces of steel wool stuck to the pickup magnets. Start with the least abrasive polish. If you already have some guitar finish polish, try that first. Remember, this is nickel PLATING.
Like Suprdave, I find my sweat does this pretty quickly as well.


Or a touch of metal polish. (I like Mother’s Billet Polish.)

– Proteus

I agree with Proteus -- Mother's Billet Polish does wonders! I would NOT use steel wool.....

I had some trouble finding Mother's B.P. in local stores (OK, I only looked in a couple of grocery stores). Ended up buying it on Amazon.


Everyone should have a little can of conservator's wax. It's used in museums to clean artifacts and the minuscule amount of residue left after cleaning helps to preserve the surfaces without buildup.


If it bugs that hard, I might find some polish and bring the nickel back to luster. Anyway, I live in Hawaii, I'm a mile from the ocean, but I am constantly wiping up my guitars. I don't use polishes or waxes or anything other than a micro cloth, yet, some do show a bit of patina, my PRS being the most current example. My Gretsch shows absolutely no tarnish as of yet and it's a 6 yr old guitar that hangs by a draped window and those windows aren't exactly high tech, they are the old jolosy louvered windows like so many hawaii homes. Our humidity is constant 60%. Temps are constant. I would imagine that those two might play a role if it fluctuated alot.


Our humidity is constant 60%. Temps are constant.

That sounds like paradise. There's the volcano thing, but we have tornados. How's the cost of living?

10 minutes later: never mind. Google says I'm not moving to Hawaii.


Parralax makes a good point. Try just a cloth first and then use polish, if needed.


Good ideas from you all; thanks. It doesn't bother me, it is just unsightly.

I live in Sydney sort of close to the beach - I know, it is tough but someone has to do it! Look up Curl Curl or Freshwater beaches if you want to know how terrible it is.

It is the middle of winter here but the sun is shining in through my glass door today. And we had 25 degrees (Celsius that is, not F) here yesterday. In the middle of winter.

But I digress...

It did occur to me overnight that the metal filings from the steel wool would be attracted to the magnets. I'll have to see what metal polish I can find locally if elbow grease and a cloth don't work.

Thanks, Adam


Normal condition following use and can polish with Brasso or anther for me I like it the way it is..after a while the nickel will get a darker look too..I love it..looks really vintage. Mine is a 2005 and the knobs darkened up a it..I've been using it live a lot ..the more finger acid the more the nickel will change .


Except for the Bigsby (and stainless Tru Arc which I added later) my '06 Power Tenny has nickel hardware and yes , the nickel does tarnish. Any decent metal polish will bring it back.

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