Modern Gretsch Guitars

What is it about wear on gold Bigsbys?


I don’t geddit. I just bought a 13 year old guitar with a beautiful gold Bigsby that is gracefully transforming into brushed silver where it has been used. May we all age so well.

But, a couple of years ago I sold a guitar with a recent issue gold Bigsby that had developed brown spots all over it just sitting in the case. It had almost not been touched and it was showing the beginnings of real problems.

Has the quality of plating changed? Do they not make ‘me like they used to?


Gold is expensive. The plating isn't much more than a molecule thick. The plating probably has gotten thinner over the years. The question isn't IF it'll wear off, but WHEN.


Not only is gold expensive but the gold used on gold-plated hardware is 24 carat gold...pure gold. It is really beautiful with that slightly reddish cast that only pure gold has. Unfortunately, it is also very soft and wears off easily. I don't mind that used look. If you do mind it all you have to do is not play the instrument...ha ha! It comes with a lacquer coating. Unfortunately nitrocellullose lacquer is very prone to wear as well. I often wonder why they don't use that ultraviolet cured polyeurethane varnish like is used on guitar finishes. It is practically indestructable. I have some cheap guitars finished with that stuff and they show absolutely no scratches or playing wear. My acoustic 12-string is 18 years old and looks brand new!


Gold plating wears off of bridges, tailpieces, and pickups in a matter of months if you play regularly.


Learned the hard way when I had some project gretsches all pimped out in gold... doesn't last too long!


I'd prefer if they didn't bother with the protective lacquer. I think mellow worn gold plating looks better than splotchy worn lacquer.


I have one (or maybe I sold it) that the gold (US Made B7) was peeling in a couple spots. I am done with gold Bigsby's.

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