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restoring rusted tuners...Kay bass

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by fiddlebick, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. fiddlebick


    Jan 22, 2006
    I bought an old Kay bass last summer and am starting to get it fixed up. The tuners are somewhat rusted but I think they can be cleaned up. Most Kay's I have seen on ebay seem to have brass tuners, and I am wondering how common regular metal tuners were. What is the original appearance? How should I approach this....clean them up or try to get a brass set? Would that ruin the value of a vintage instrument? It is an old C-1 model...1957 if I remember correctly.
  2. Baird


    Jun 27, 2005
    It's interesting this question has been posted as I was just about to post a similar query. I am trying to aquire an old kay bass that needs some work and was wondering how to restore those old tuner plates, perhaps some type of polish?
    I personally would not replace tuners unless they were broken, simply because I like the idea of an instrument still functioning with hardware that came with it from the factory many years ago. That's my $.02
  3. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Take them off, and soak them in rust penetrator. That is the best idea, methinks. Plus, it would give good lubricant to the gears. But, you will want to clean them thoroughly when done, because the penetrating chemicals would not be good for the wood of the bass.

    But as always, when in doubt, take it to a luthier.
  4. You can remove rust electrolytically without removing good metal. All you need is a stainless steel sink or bucket, some washing soda, water and an automotive battery charger.
    Check this out- http://www.cadvision.com/blanchas/54pontiac/deruster.html
    That page contains a link to another page with more info.
    I've done this myself, (not on Kay tuners, car parts) it works like a charm.
  5. glivanos

    glivanos Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2005
    Philadelphia Area
    I've used something called Brasso in the past. It comes in a small can.

    I don't know if they still make it though, I havent' seen it in hardware stores recently.

    The thing about Brasso is that it doesn't take off the brass finish while you remove the rust.
  6. fiddlebick


    Jan 22, 2006
    Interestingly enough I was just reading about the electrolysis technique on another forum. I think I will just take them off and try polishing them on a cloth buffing wheel...
  7. How about getting them bead blasted? That would remove any rust and oxidation while leaving the metal intact, and it would leave a nice finish that wouldn't look "freshly polished"...
  8. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    It might sound like a heresy, but Brasso is also a very good cutting compound for rubbing out scratches and varnish touch-ups. polishes to a mirror finish.
  9. fiddlebick


    Jan 22, 2006
    Well, they are looking much better. I use a very fine grit sandblaster at my job, and then used the liquid gun blueing product. I steel wooled inbetween treatments and they turned out pretty nice if not professional. They are blue but slightly aged looking. THanks for the help guys.
  10. jb6884


    Jan 30, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    post some pics please! I've been following this thread because I have rusted kay tuners on my '39.