Corrosion on bridge.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Kurtis Marleau, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. Kurtis Marleau

    Kurtis Marleau

    Jan 8, 2015
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Glass Iris
    So here's a story TB friends.

    I've been playing bass for 6 years now.
    Around my 4th year in I got my first job and started looking to upgrade my beginner quality axe.
    I came across a Traben Array Attack. Now I hated the visuals on this guitar. The big flamed bridge made me cringe. But I started on a short scale and found out of all the basses I had tried this one had the nicest feeling neck. I spend $300 on it which is good considering they sell for around $600 and its been my main axe up until this last month when I got an Ibanez SR500 (The old model without the mid boost switch).

    Traben is an American company that prides themselves in having the "biggest baddest bass bridges of all time" they claim that the bigger bridge increases sustain and output of the basses. I'll vouch for the sustain part. This bass is still one of the best basses I've ever played for sustain and that's coming from a guy who likes a relatively high action.

    Now this last Summer. I spent the two months with my grandparents. They were awesome enough to set me up with my own hosting/jam space in the garage. I live in Southern Ontario and this Summer proved to extra humid and extra rainy. So the inevitable (in this country at least) happened and my ugly bass started to get more ugly and was now even more uncomfortable to play. Although the bass lived in its soft case unless it was being played the humidity managed to sill cause the bridge to corrode. I emailed Traben about the issue and politely said that I am a very DIY person and would like to know what kind of metals the bridge is made out of. The executive I spoke with refused to tell me the metals and told me that the only possible fix was to replace the bridge. I don't really want to spend money on a custom bridge for my backup bass so I am turning to you TB.

    What would you recommend based off this situation? I know that the bridge is some kind of an alloy and the screws are basic steel. Pictures related.

    Attached Files:

  2. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    You have plating failure.

    Two obvious options - remove it and remove the plating, (and find some stainless steel screws that closely match the steel screws in either case) or remove it and have it replated (or replate it, depending on exactly how DIY you are.) If you don't replate it you have several other options (you could blue or parkerize it, paint it, lacquer it, etc...)

    I would guess the big plate is probably going to turn out to be steel, but in any case, you'll find out when you remove the plating. Or try a magnet on it. The barrels for the strings are likely brass and likely don't need anything done to them (I don't see bubbles there, and chrome-plated brass rarely goes in for bubbly corrosion under the plating, while steel does.)

    For removal you have the options of plating it off, or mechanical means - a buff and polishing compound.
  3. What T-Bone said. Pretty much covers it. If wherewithal is the issue then polish and lacquer, or paint colour of your choice. I'd steampunk that axe and brass plate, or paint everything.
  4. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    What he said.
  5. Kurtis Marleau

    Kurtis Marleau

    Jan 8, 2015
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Glass Iris
    Thank you for such a helpful reply! I think I am going to remove the plating using a polishing compound. I typically work on acoustic guitars and don't have much experience with metals. Do you have any recommendations? Once the plate is removed how will I smooth out the layer underneath for comfortable playing?
    Basically I'm trying to make the resale value the same as what I bought it for.
  6. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    Multiple possible approaches (if the part that holds the bridge screws and ball-ends is clean/non bubbled as it appears to be, assume it's brass and contemplate masking it off to keep the plating on it intact.)

    The "buffer" approach would be to use a series of compounds on a series of buffs to grind away the plating and corrosion, and restore polish. Ignoring the specific product sales pitch, described tolerably well here: Note that you generally need to dedicate a particular buff to a particular compound, as it never all comes out once it's been loaded the first time.

    Again depending on equipment you have or can borrow the use of, a vibratory polisher might be a nice choice for letting the equipment do the work, especially with all those fussy edges to the flames. But you'd probably need a fairly large tumbler for that bridge. Some media do manage a very nice matte finish, or you can move on to full polishing.

    A simple sanding bock and emery cloth / silicon carbide paper would involve considerably less expense to start with. Try to use the finest grit that gets the job done, since when you have the crud off and the pits out, you need to work up through grits (unless you like the scratched up look.) Various grades (which are various colors) of scotchbrite, either as hand pads or a small wheels for power use are another option in this line.

    Yet another option would be to combine rust&plating removal with a decorative technique that deliberately leaves traces of the abrasive process - "Spotting" or (one use of the term) engine turning. A drill press, an abrasive stick or a dowel with the end loaded with an abrasive compound (such as the emery compounds used on buffers), and a lot of repeated overlapping circles/spots. Or "end brushes", as per this web page: Though in fact, they basically instruct you to remove all the crap first, so see above paragraph.
  7. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 24, 2021

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