Restoring a corroded bridge

Exhibit A: Ratty looking Cosmo Black Ibanez Edge Pro bridge

Guitar hardware can get quite ratty and corroded over time. Climate, humidity, and sweat can eat away at your nice bridge locking nut and tuners, etc. Some hardware finishes are more robust than others, but they don’t always hold up.

I’ve noticed that the cosmo chrome and cosmo black finishes used particularly on a number of Ibanez guitar hardware parts have a particular penchant for finish wear and corrosion. Gold is particularly bad for this problem as well. So many nice Ibanez guitars have hardware that looks so much older than they really are due to the finish just being eaten away.

I was very lucky to receive a nasty looking, but still functional cosmo black Edge Pro bridge from RGTFanatic (thanks so much!) over at Jemsite. He wasn’t too happy with the look of the bridge, with a lot of the cosmo black finish worn off, pimples, and general corrosion on the bridge’s base-plate and saddles. I figured it would make a good candidate for a DIY project. I was curious to see if I would be able to get this bridge looking, well not new, but maybe almost new after stripping the finish off. I was hoping that underneath the finish that I would find some nice chrome hardware underneath.

I wasn’t quite sure which metal polishing product would be best for stripping the finish off the Edge Pro. I made a trip down to my local auto parts shop and had a look at a few different products for metal and chrome polishing. I ended up buying some Autosol Metal Polish, purely because it came in the smallest package, and was the cheapest product on the shelf.

Autosol Metal Polish proved most capable at stripping the cosmo black finish.

When I got home I tested the Metal Polish just on the bass-side edge of the bridge base-plate, which was looking worse for wear anyway. There was a lot of pimples in the metal, and a section of the cosmo black finish was already wearing off. I used an old flannel pillow-case as a cloth for both rubbing on the metal polish, and buffing up the bridge.

As soon as I started rubbing the polish in I noticed the cosmo black finish stripping right off, leaving black marks all over the rag I was using. Another wipe with a cleaner section, and bright, shiny chrome shone through.

I pulled apart the Edge Pro, and got to work on the saddles and base-plate, cleaning the dust and gunk out of the cavities at the same time. All in all it took me a bit over two hours to remove the cosmo black finish from everything, and to polish the re-surfaced chrome.

I wasn’t able to clean up the pitting and pimples in the metal, but at least the bridge looks a lot nicer than it did originally. It really was easy to polish up the bridge and remove the finish. All it took was the metal polish, a rag, and a bit of elbow grease.

I’m hoping to install this in my blue “Ibanez PJS Custom” guitar in place of the Gotoh licensed Floyd Rose that’s currently installed in that particular guitar. I want to use the Gotoh in another project guitar I’m planning, and this Edge Pro is the perfect compliment to an Ibanez-esque guitar such as my blue custom. The Edge Pro didn’t fit directly as one of the wings didn’t quite fit in the cavity. I might get myself a Dremmel soon, and widen the cavity a bit so I can fit the Edge Pro in.

Take a look at the pictures below to see the transformation.

Saddles, before and after chrome polish.

Cleaning the dust and gunk out of the string slot with a cotton bud.

Another before and after of the saddles.

And the finished product. Looking much better now.

If you’ve got a nice guitar that you love, but the hardware is looking a bit too aged and corroded, and don’t mind your hardware being chrome, get yourself some metal or chrome polish and get polishing!

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