White corrosion / residue on bridge

Setup, repair and restoration of Rickenbacker Instruments

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White corrosion / residue on bridge

Postby (scoobster28) » Tue Dec 15, 2020 6:05 pm

I have a Paul W. converted lightshow guitar that I received in July of 2016. Since that time, it has spent nearly its entire life in the case. I pulled it out to play the other day and noticed that the bridge hardware had white residue all over the screws. I assume it is corrosion. I see nothing at all on the frets, tuners, or Accent tailpiece. I am concerned because to clean this off would likely require removing the bridge, meaning I would need to then pay for a new set-up. Do you think it is okay to leave as is for now? Is there anything I can do to prevent this in the future?

Thanks.
IMG_0962_1280x1280.jpg
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Re: White corrosion / residue on bridge

Postby (jps) » Tue Dec 15, 2020 8:46 pm

scoobster28 wrote:I have a Paul W. converted lightshow guitar that I received in July of 2016. Since that time, it has spent nearly its entire life in the case. I pulled it out to play the other day and noticed that the bridge hardware had white residue all over the screws. I assume it is corrosion. I see nothing at all on the frets, tuners, or Accent tailpiece. I am concerned because to clean this off would likely require removing the bridge, meaning I would need to then pay for a new set-up. Do you think it is okay to leave as is for now? Is there anything I can do to prevent this in the future?

Thanks.
IMG_0962_1280x1280.jpg

Don't know what the "corrosion" is, but regarding set-up, it's not that hard to learn how to do, then you are not locked into having to pay someone to turn some screws.
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Re: White corrosion / residue on bridge

Postby (jdogric12) » Wed Dec 16, 2020 9:55 am

Just remove the bridge cover, then loosen the strings just enough that you can slide the bridge out carefully, making sure not to let the bridge's 4 feet make contact with the finished surface. I did this last night on a 12er, it's not hard. Put down some paper or cloth if you want to be extra sure you don't scratch the guitar's top. You could even take a little block and place it under the strings just south of the bridge to hold them for you while you slide the bridge in and out. And as I'm sure lots of others will annoyingly tell you - I'll add to the obnoxious chorus - learn to set up your own guitar... it's super easy on a Rick.
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Re: White corrosion / residue on bridge

Postby (Guzzitd63) » Wed Dec 16, 2020 11:03 am

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Re: White corrosion / residue on bridge

Postby (maxwell) » Wed Dec 16, 2020 11:52 am

Guzzitd63 - Thanks for that review of galvanic corrosion.

But I think there's also something else going on here. On all those affected parts you can see rust (brown spots). It seems to me that the guitar has been stored in (or the inside of the case) a relatively humid environment, and/or it got wet with something the last time it saw daylight.... The lock nuts could likely be zinc-plated steel, but look at the bridge height adjustment screw heads, which are probably made of a single (ferrous) alloy; looks like rust. I believe I'm seeing rust also on the saddle adjustment screws.

I'd perform and record some measurements before disassembly -- bridge frame height, left & right sides, and the setback of each individual saddle from the forward edge of the bridge assembly frame. Make a little rough sketch, use a millimeter ruler. This will get you in the ball park when it comes time to adjust your reassembled bridge. Watch a YouTube video for intonation; easy enough to do, just need time and patience.

Those locking nuts look pretty well shot. I've purchase larger ones of this type in Lowe's (or Home Depot). Lowe's, for sure, has a sample board mounted on a column at the screw section where you can try your nut on a sample size screw to find its size. One of those agents for loosening rusted-on bolts may help to remove the rust off the other screws; may need a small wire brush, maybe one made for a Dremel. You can do a search regarding this.

But I've had a guitar with a bridge like that for years; no hint of what you have. You should think about your storage environment after you fix this up so as not to get a repeat. Well, that's where I'm coming from....
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Re: White corrosion / residue on bridge

Postby (scoobster28) » Wed Dec 16, 2020 4:09 pm

Odd. The guitar was stored inside in its case in a closet in a room that didn't have A/C but the temperature doesn't change all that much. Anyway, if it will require tearing down the bridge to fix I will wait until it needs another set-up as I don't think I can handle it myself and don't want to screw it up.

Thanks!
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Re: White corrosion / residue on bridge

Postby (espidog) » Wed Dec 16, 2020 7:07 pm

Sorry you've had such a nasty surprise, scoobster28. This is one reason why I always keep one of those silica gel sachets in each of my bass cases.
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Re: White corrosion / residue on bridge

Postby (maxwell) » Wed Dec 16, 2020 8:42 pm

scoobster28 wrote:Odd. The guitar was stored inside in its case in a closet in a room that didn't have A/C but the temperature doesn't change all that much. Anyway, if it will require tearing down the bridge to fix I will wait until it needs another set-up as I don't think I can handle it myself and don't want to screw it up.

Thanks!


A/Cs dehumedify the air....

Well, then, as you imply, just go ahead and play it. The bridge looks funky, but works and is still adjustable. Yeah, just play it.
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Re: White corrosion / residue on bridge

Postby (libratune) » Fri Dec 18, 2020 9:52 pm

You should be aware that those are cadmium nuts and will develop a white powdery coating over time. Not to worry, that's the way they go.

From your photo I can't tell if it's just that white powder coating on the nuts or if there is also darker corrosion.
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Re: White corrosion / residue on bridge

Postby (scoobster28) » Thu Dec 31, 2020 2:46 pm

The white stuff is just on the nuts. Thanks for the info about the cadium.
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Re: White corrosion / residue on bridge

Postby (Hotzenplotz) » Fri Jan 01, 2021 6:35 pm

Cadmium is evil, Cadmium products are, too:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadmium_oxide
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Re: White corrosion / residue on bridge

Postby (maxwell) » Fri Jan 01, 2021 6:52 pm

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