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White stuff accumulating on my bridge and tuning knob

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by jsadiangabay, May 3, 2021 at 6:16 PM.


  1. jsadiangabay

    jsadiangabay

    Jan 18, 2021
    Hi there, first time posting here.

    I have a Yahama TRBX305 that's only 1 year old and I'm seeing this white stuff on the bridge and tuning knobs. It doesn't seem like rust since I can seem to scratch them off with my fingernails but was wondering how I can clean and prevent them in the future. For context, I always wipe my bass after use with a microfibre cloth. But I'm also thinking that the bridge accumulation is from my hand whenever I palm mute.

    Any advice on how to clean this as well as maintenance will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Jun 11, 2011
    NYC
    Its oxidation of the chrome. Rust is oxidation of iron or steel. I would try a microfibre cloth to clean it. You could use a very light oil on the bridge to protect it but I don't see that working on the tuners very well. Do you live in a high humidity climate or near the ocean?
     
    jsadiangabay likes this.
  3. dwizum

    dwizum Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2018
    Paste wax (something like Johnson's) will stay put better than light oil and offers fairly good protection for corrosion.

    How's the environment where you're storing the bass? Is it really humid? Does it go in a case?
     
    Basslice and jsadiangabay like this.
  4. jsadiangabay

    jsadiangabay

    Jan 18, 2021
    Ohhh that makes sense! So this is the counterpart of rust on chrome.

    I'm far from an ocean but I do live in a tropical country and it's pretty humid during the first half of the year.

    Thanks for the advice! Will try it.
     
    RSBBass likes this.
  5. jsadiangabay

    jsadiangabay

    Jan 18, 2021
    Yes, it's pretty humid where I live. I usually just put it on a stand beside my computer so I can pick it up and play whenever I'm taking a break (since I work remotely from home). Do you think it's better to just store it in the case throughout the day when it's hot? Or just store it in a case whenever I'm not using it instead of leaving it on the stand? Thank you!
     
  6. I was gigging a lot in Florida in the 80's / Miami Vice days. LOTS of axes had bits of white powder accumulating on them here and there. Usually, you could just vacuum it up . . . . .
     
  7. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I don't think storing it in the case will help, since the same humid air in there is the same as in the room, and even if you get some kind of dehumidifier to keep in the case with the bass (try Googling "guitar case dehumidifier") it won't help if you're opening and closing the case multiple times a day.
     
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  8. dwizum

    dwizum Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2018
    Dehumidifier in the room is probably the best solution, but that might be a "lot" in terms of an investment to protect a midrange bass, which is certainly understandable. Besides the hardware tarnishing, the high humidity is going to be causing other issues over time. Electronics will slowly get corroded, strings will get corroded, and the wood neck and body will slowly work themselves out of shape which can cause finish and setup issues over time. If you ever consider investing in a higher end bass, consider a dehumidifier, AC unit, or some other method to keep it nice.
     
    jsadiangabay likes this.
  9. saltydude

    saltydude

    Aug 15, 2011
    boston CANADA
    The finest Steele wool will remove it. It’s been compromised once. That’s all it takes. You can try to protect them with oils/waxes etc. but despite your efforts you can’t really stop or reverse it unfortunately.
     
  10. dwizum

    dwizum Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2018
    Steel wool will scratch up the surface. That'll lead to even quicker corrosion and loss of integrity. if you want something aggressive to rub it off that won't cause damage, use a white (no abrasive) scotchbrite pad. A microfiber cloth should be more than enough though.
     
    RSBBass likes this.
  11. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    That white powder isn't from the chrome, it's from the base metal under the chrome. If you go to a brass bridge and knobs you white powder days will be over, ... unless you ski.
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  12. saltydude

    saltydude

    Aug 15, 2011
    boston CANADA
    Folks have used that finest grade Steele wool to remove oxidation on Chrome forever.
     
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  13. dwizum

    dwizum Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2018
    Sure. It works great on the bumper of your vintage car or and old motorcycle fender where the chrome plating might as well be an inch thick. On the bass hardware pictured above where it's measured in microns, fine steel wool will cut through it before you can blink a few times. Why would you risk that when there are alternatives available that won't cause any damage, no matter how much you scrub the part?
     
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  14. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Looks like corrosion to me. Only iron rusts (rust is actually iron oxide). But everything corrodes. It's just what happens with metal and electricity.
     
    jsadiangabay likes this.
  15. jsadiangabay

    jsadiangabay

    Jan 18, 2021
    Gotcha. I'll try a dehumidifier as a long-term solution. I also have an AC unit but I only just use it at night to save on my electricity bill. Didn't know the heat would have this effect on my bass.

    Thanks for the advice! I'm learning a lot. Good thing this is only my first bass and will definitely take care of additional ones in the future.
     
    dwizum likes this.
  16. jsadiangabay

    jsadiangabay

    Jan 18, 2021
    I will look it up and consider it. An option is to set my playing time to only in the evening / early morning where it's much cooler and I have my AC on. But yeah, I don't know if I can do that since I love playing throughout the day. hehe Thank you so much for the advice!
     
  17. jsadiangabay

    jsadiangabay

    Jan 18, 2021
    Sorry, I don't quite understand this. Are you saying that a brass bridge/knob/etc is best for places that are humid? Less prone to oxidation/corossion?
     
  18. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    No, I'm saying that brass won't oxidize into a white power like zinc does. To be fair though, if the plating was of a decent thickness, and properly done, that wouldn't be a problem to begin with. The whole purpose of chrome is to protect the underlying metal. Unfortunately many manufactures have lost sight of that and seem to think it is only for looks.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021 at 9:51 AM
  19. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    yeah, not all coatings nor the application thereof are created equal. apparently the dominate thrust where profit must be maximized to the fullest is to cheap-out on proper prep work, coating thickness/materials, and processing time. surely that's the ticket for marketplace dominance and "value-for-money"?
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021 at 2:55 PM
    Basslice likes this.
  20. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    .... or do lines.
     
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  21. 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.

     
    May 9, 2021

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