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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Nickel vs Chrome Hardware

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Kayle McGuire, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. Kayle McGuire

    Kayle McGuire Tele-Meister

    Jul 31, 2017
    For any guitars really, which hardware is better — nickel or chrome? What’s the difference, and which is the best choice?
  2. GibSG

    GibSG TDPRI Member

    Jul 14, 2016
    I don' t know which one is better, nickel is more yellow.
    Dismalhead likes this.
  3. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 13, 2013
    Initech, Inc.
    I would think it depends on what you like, and what looks best on your guitar.
    radiocaster likes this.
  4. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    I like nickel
    brookdalebill and Piggy Stu like this.
  5. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Holic

    Jun 7, 2011
    clinton, ia
    It's hard for me to see but nickel tends to look a little less extreme but will oxidize over time whereas chrome stays shiny but might be a little too shiny and maybe a little too cold looking. Is it more blue? Not sure. I thought fender used chrome tuners on their vintage reissues but the tuners on my old 52 have oxidized over the years. The control plate has not oxidized and it for sure looks to be chrome to me so maybe the tuners are nickel. I just know I prefer nickel because it isn't so extreme looking.
    Iago likes this.
  6. LowThudd

    LowThudd Friend of Leo's

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca
    I prefer gold hardware, but between the two, I prefer Nickel. It's a pet peeve. Chrome just reminds me of all the crappy cheap guitars I had as a kid. They all had crappy chrome hardware. lol

    Nickel ages and patinas, chrome doesn't. I like the way tarnished Nickel looks, but you can also clean it up generally. Chrome doesn't really patina. Just gets dirty, and cleans up easily. Chrome is a bit more durable also. Nickel seems to have more depth to me, chrome is just shiny.
  7. Tezuka27

    Tezuka27 Tele-Holic

    Apr 11, 2011
    Eastern Iowa
    Prefer the look of nickel myself. Chrome doesn't age with character like nickel does.
    boris bubbanov likes this.
  8. Lefty Addams

    Lefty Addams Tele-Afflicted

    May 6, 2012
    I think it depends what look you're going for, nickel for that tarnished and 'lived in' look or chrome for hardware that always has a shine to it
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
    asnarski and Piggy Stu like this.
  9. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Holic

    Jan 24, 2011
    Paris, France
    They are part of the same process. Usually, chrome plating is applied over a first coat of Nickel plating. Chrome adds thickness, hardness/scratch resistance, corrosion resistance and is more shiny.

    For decorative use (guitar parts), the naming is sometimes not very precise. I saw some parts being sold as nickel though they were probably chrome. It's not easy to tell the difference.

    I'd prefer the look of nickel, a bit duller, makes me think of silver, whereas chrome makes me think of bathroom hardware. :D

    Funny thing is I wanted to buy all the hardware in nickel for my next partscaster. I got the vintage/locking tuners Gotoh SD91 which are Nickel as most vintage tuners. But I couldn't find a nickel control plate or bridge. It seems chrome is vintage correct here. So I bought Fender domed knobs in chrome too instead of the Callahams in nickel, and this saved me enough money to do another build...

    However I allways end up buying chrome because I want all the metal parts to be finished the same, and it seems to be easier to find evrything in chrome (except vintage tuners...). There is nothing wrong to mix nickel and chrome, but I try to avoid it, for my peace of mind, and then I forget it.
    swany, boris bubbanov, Nixxy and 3 others like this.
  10. sleazy pot pie

    sleazy pot pie Tele-Holic

    May 31, 2014
    You can definitely get control plates and bridges in nickel without having to spend tons of money. Chrome is more redilly available, especially if you order from china, but even then you can find nickel.
    I also prefer nickel as I like the way it looks after being used for a while. The mojority of prople don't feel that way I would imagine. I would imagine most people prefer a shiney new guitar over one that shows its age.

    Aside from how it ages, I don't believe there is any difference when it comes to the performance of the unit. Meaning I don't think that a chrome bridge will sound different from a nickel bridge.
    BorderRadio likes this.
  11. ndeli55

    ndeli55 Tele-Afflicted

    May 12, 2008
    Nickel doesn't have quite the sheen, and I thing it looks better. Chrome is more durable
  12. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    albany, ny [not chicago]
    When held next to each other, nickel will look slightly warmer (slight yellowish tint) while chrome looks slightly cooler (slight blueish tint).

    Chrome resists corrosion better, but when it starts to go, it pits, flakes, and looks awful as the plating comes off. Nickel just seems to rust on the surface.

    I prefer nickel, for the most part.
    boris bubbanov and Iago like this.
  13. LowThudd

    LowThudd Friend of Leo's

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca
    FWIW, both Wilkinson and Gotoh sell vintage and modern bridges in nickel. I know I have seen nickel control plates on eBay for not too much also.
    asnarski likes this.
  14. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    Nickle's luster can "fog/oxidize-over" in humid weather which chrome does not do.
    Geo likes this.
  15. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    Nickel classy, chrome flashy/trashy.
    Glad I could clear that up.:rolleyes:
  16. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Holic

    Jan 24, 2011
    Paris, France
    Thank you LowThud and Sleazy pot pie, I know it's possible, but I didn't want to make multiple orders from different buyers.

    For example I started by looking at (I ordered from ACME guitar works in the past and know they were good) for Callaham knobs in nickel, but none of the other parts available were nickel (chrome or Stainless). Plus the shipping from US stores to France is always 40$ or more, and then you add 20% import taxes and 20€ for the paperwork. 100$ for a pair of knobs is more than I'm willing to spend.

    So I switched to chrome and bought everything I need from a good seller in France, decent prices, 6€ shipping in two days, except for a wonderfull Hiscox case and the chrome knobs that were only available at Thomann.

    Next build maybe... Soon... Oh no, I'm doomed!
  17. LowThudd

    LowThudd Friend of Leo's

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca
    Check out eBay in the future. They really do have a great assortment of quality parts from different suppliers. But, with eBay's global shipping system, maybe the shipping will not be that high.
  18. King Creole

    King Creole Friend of Leo's

    Jan 24, 2011
    Nickel ages beautifully. Chrome either hardly ages or gets pocked and ugly.
    ebb soul, rze99 and brookdalebill like this.
  19. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    I like nickel, but trying matching any of these with Bigsby polished aluminum. Contrary to what I've heard from others, all Bigsbys, at least the USA stuff, is simply that.

    Side note: Squier CV Tele plates are nickel, for the win.
    old wrench likes this.
  20. dmoss74

    dmoss74 Tele-Holic

    Mar 28, 2010
    i like nickel better. i may go ahead (except for my oldest teles) and swap all the chrome hardware out for nickel. it does indeed age better. the eternal bling of chrome isn't a nice look for me.

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