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Rusty Frets??? Help!

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by ramblinmike, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. ramblinmike

    ramblinmike Tele-Afflicted

    May 4, 2003
    New York NY
    So foolishly I let my reissue Danelectro '56 U2 sit in its gig bag unplayed for a few years while I was in college. I just took it out, and the frets are RUSTY. As in covered in brown rust. What do I do? Lightly buff them with 4-0 steel wool? Just bending the strings back and forth seems to remove some of it. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2008
  2. Daddydex

    Daddydex Friend of Leo's

    Feb 15, 2007
    Pennsylvania
    The steel wool will do the trick.

    Dan
     
  3. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 4, 2007
    New Jersey
    Four-ought steel wool is fine. Just don't let any steel "fluff" get near your pickups - you can use a magnet to make sure that all residue is removed from the frets.
     
  4. ThreePlyGuy

    ThreePlyGuy Friend of Leo's

    Use 0000 wool but COVER the pups with masking tape.
    Depending on the severity, a lite touch with Scotch cloth will get you started.
    Take your time, it will come back!
     
  5. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Mar 17, 2003
    Spring City, Pa
    Rusty Frets...my new stage name.
     
  6. ramblinmike

    ramblinmike Tele-Afflicted

    May 4, 2003
    New York NY
    Mission accomplished!

    Thanks for the input. Lightly buffed it with some 0000 steel wool and that stuff worked like magic. They're all nice and shiny and smooth now. Made sure to tape everything up before hand. Going to re-string it later tonight. Will be nice to play my first electric again! :cool:
     
  7. ChicknPickn

    ChicknPickn Tele-Holic

    984
    Apr 16, 2007
    Ole Virginny
    Is there anything better than a new set of strings? That we can talk about here?:lol:
     
  8. tdowns

    tdowns Former Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Texas
    Hey ramblinmike,
    I'm glad you got that taken care of. Here is a Stewmac item I find quite useful for shining up frets. It's their fingerboard guards.

    [​IMG]

    I hate to be picky, but I just wanted to clarify something about your post. RUST is a redox reaction (oxidation) of iron. It is caused by water and oxygen, and is accelerated by salt. Fretwire does not, or should not, contain any iron. Fretwire is called nickel silver, but it actually has no silver in it (as far as I know..what ain't much). Fretwire is an alloy of nickel, copper, and zinc. That alloy in most proportions should be quite resistant to oxidation. I don't know anything about what Danelectro uses for fret wire, but perhaps what you saw was copper oxide. Fretwire alloy is mostly copper, but contains enough zinc and nickel to avoid oxidation. I'm thinking your Danelectro may have fretwire with an exceedingly high copper content, and what you experienced was copper oxidation.

    In any case, I'm glad you got it cleaned off, but I would expect it to happen again.
     
  9. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    I get verdigris on some of my frets when the seabreeze blows salt. CuCl2 is green and could never be mistaken for brown.

    Like this but stuck to the fret ends.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. ramblinmike

    ramblinmike Tele-Afflicted

    May 4, 2003
    New York NY
    Thanks for clearing that up for me. Should have said oxidation. The fret wire is pretty poor quality, I will say that much. The frets on this guitar seem much softer than those on higher quality instruments. Now I'm really curious as to why they did what they did, as I've never seen that on another guitar before. I don't know how the fret quality is on the newer series of Danelectros. This is one of the Made In Indonesia reissues from the late 90s. A fret job would cost about as much as the guitar did :lol:
     
  11. JasonRobert

    JasonRobert Tele-Holic

    when I use steel wool on a guitar neck, I cover it with a large plastic bag and secure the end at the neck with an elastic band. Then when im finished I can take the bag off by turning it inside out, then you dont get bits of the wool everywhere, including the pickups.
     
  12. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    D-oh. Why didn't I think of that? Makes me feel so dumb I have the urge to make fun of you.
     
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