how to remove rust from guitar screws

How To Remove Rust From Guitar Screws: Restore Rusty Screws

The guitar is one of the most widely played instruments in the world. Some play them for fun, others play them for performance, and others play them to earn money. This is why a guitar players must be able to take care of their guitar to the best of their abilities.

There are many things to consider in maintaining a guitar to last in its optimal condition for a very long time. The guitar must be clean from dust, stains or other dirty materials like insects waste. The guitar neck must always be regularly checked out to avoid possible issues like warping. Guitar strings must also be replaced when rust starts to build up.

Rust build-up is really an issue for a guitar. It affects the guitar’s aesthetics as it gives a dirty brownish color and takes off the coating of its metal parts. Rusty guitar strings are also more likely to sound bad and can give an inconsistent tone or even snap in the middle of a song and potentially even cut your fingers.

Guitar screws are also very susceptible to rust. Depending on the design of an electric guitar, some guitar screws are found in the bridge, saddle, pickups, output jack, strap button, pickguard, tuners, tuning pegs, neckplate, backplate and many others. Having a rusty screw in any parts mentioned can significantly affect the condition of your guitar.

A guitar screw eaten by the rust in the strap button can make it difficult for you to put the guitar on your neck as it has a high chance of falling off. Rusted screws in tuning pegs can also affect the stability of your guitar strings which could make it very hard to tune. Damaged screws from rust in pickups can also cause problems as pickups can fall as is cannot hold on their own without the screws. 

So, where do rust really come from? The rusting occurs when the iron is exposed to the combination of oxygen and moisture over a period of time. This results in the iron going through a process called oxidation which produces iron oxide or the brown substance we call rust.

There are many reasons why rust exists in your guitar. One is your storage conditions. Rust can build up quickly in your guitar when you store it in a place with high humidity. Playing with wet or greasy hands can also cause rust in some of the guitar parts, as moisture can quickly build up when it is wet. 

But one of the main reasons why rust is building up in your guitar is that it uses cheap materials that are more susceptible to corrosion. When the components of your guitar, including the screws, are made from ordinary metal, then there is a high possibility that rusting can occur.

How can I remove rust from guitar screws?

So, how to remove rust from guitar screws? There are really many ways of how to remove rust from guitar screws, just like there are many ways to skin a cat.

One of the ways to remove rust from guitar screws is to use vinegar. Vinegar has citric and acetic acids, which act as great ingredients in removing rust. These acids are particularly useful for small parts and can be soaked, making vinegar an ideal option to clean unsightly rust from the nuts.

You remove the screws from the guitar and place them in a container filled with vinegar. Leave it for a day, and after, scrub it using a brush, and you should see the rust disintegrate. Once you are finished, rinse them with tap water to wash away the residue.

Another method is to use lemon juice and salt. After removing the screws, sprinkle some salt on the screws and pour lemon juice. Do not let it soak for too long, as it can also cause damage to the screws. Wipe off the juice and salt in the screws.

Another method for removing rust is using baking soda. While removing the screws, you also make a paste of water and baking soda in a bowl. Apply the paste to the rusted part of the screws and leave it for a few hours. Use a brush to scrub the paste from the screws, and this will also take the rust off, along with the paste.

Electrolysis is also a great way to remove rust from guitar screws. You will need a car battery charger, a container filled with water, a sacrificial piece of metal containing iron and washing soda to perform this method. The first step is to unplug the charger and submerge both metal pieces in the water. Connect the charger’s positive terminal to the sacrificial metal and the negative terminal to the piece of metal you want rust removed from the screws. Plug the charger and switch it on and leave it for an hour. You will see the electrolysis working and the screws losing the rust.

These are the usual methods applied as to how to remove rust from guitar screws. Some also soak it in cola before scrubbing the rust off of the screws, while others simply scrub the rust out of the guitar screws without using other ingredients.

As the saying goes, prevention is always better; there are also ways to prevent rust build-up in the guitar screws. It would be best not to leave your guitar out in the open as dirt and pollutants in the air will rust the guitar screws faster. Therefore, it is essential always to put it in its case if you are not using it.

Use fabric cloth in cleaning your guitar and use corrosion-resistant strings as rust can easily affect other parts if it starts to build up. Wash your hands before playing to remove the dirt, skin oil and other substance that naturally accumulate in your hands to reduce the possibility of having corrosion with the guitar screws.

If replacing the screws is inevitable, you must replace them with either stainless steel or nickel guitar screws as they are less susceptible to corrosion. The most commonly used guitar screw sizes are #5 x 3/8″ (“Gibson size”) and #6 x 1/2″ (“Fender size”). There are also other sizes available depending on the manufacturer of your guitar.

The methods on how to remove the rust from guitar screws are straightforward and can be quickly done by yourself. The materials needed are available in malls or supermarkets, which is costly. Still, preventing the rust build-up is still the best method into how to remove the rust from the guitar screws.

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