Hand polished unplated pickup cover

Last week I showed you how to achieve a brushed metal look using a Scotch Brite pad and a unplated pickup cover. Next, lets see how to hand polish a raw unplated pickup cover and then turn it into an aged pickup cover with faux string lines.

First, you will need a metal polishing compound and some old rags.  Any brand metal polishing compound will work fine.  You could also use the “Miracle Cloth” which is metal polish impregnated cloth. This is what I used. It works great for polishing frets too. One warning about metal polish….don’t use to polish any gold plating.  It will strip the gold plating off very fast!

PLEASE READ:  We recommend you wear protective leather gloves while working with unplated pickup covers. The bottom edge can be very sharp and can easily cut your finger. Filing the bottom edge smooth before you start work is also an option.

Apply a small amount of metal polish to the rag and rub it into the surface of the pickup cover. Use a circular motions until you have covered the entire surface. Periodically, wipe off the polishing compound to see how you are progressing. If you are happy with the result, then start buffing until you remove all of the polish and the pickup cover is bright and shiny. Use a new cloth, or a different area of the cloth when doing this.

 

Hand polished unplated pickup coversNow that we have a nice hand polished pickup cover, lets add an aged look with faux string lines. You will need some painter’s masking tape cut into very thin 1/32″ strips and some very fine grit Micro Mesh soft touch sanding pads.  The three highest grits(6000, 8000, and 12000) will work best since you only want very light marks.

1.  Lay out the thin strips of painters tapes over the screw holes to simulate the string location and then trim the extra tape.   Apply some pressure on the tape to help keep it from come off during sanding.

String lines step 2String lines step 3

 

2,  Sand lightly with Micro Mesh soft touch sanding pad.   It will take some experimenting to get the right look.   Try pressing the sanding pad into each string line to help emphasize the string line.

String lines step 4Initial sanding of pickup coverString lines step 6 Close up of sanding

3.  This is how I like to soften the sanding marks to make them look more natural. In this image, I’m using the carpet on my bench to blend some of the sanding marks.

Using carpet to soften the sanding marks

4.  OK…all done.  Not my best work but you get the idea.   The nice thing about working with unplated pickup covers is you can easily re-polish the cover and start over if you don’t like the results!

Close up of completed string linesString Lines finished

 

If you have any questions you can send us an email at support.

Unplated Raw Pickup Cover 2Most of the guitar pickup covers we sell at Philadelphia Luthier Tools & Supplies are available in Chrome, Nickel, Gold, Jet/Smoked Black Nickel, and Unplated Raw. The unplated pickup cover is the most popular we sell. It’s either because they are cool looking, inexpensive or maybe both?  Besides being unplated, they are absolutely unfinished and haven’t had anything done to them. Because of this, they can arrive with minor scratches, scuffs and a little grease from the manufacturing process. If these are going to be plated by the manufacture, they will still need to be buffed to remove any defects prior to plating.

A very nice feature of the unplated pickup covers is that their look can easily be changed with very little work.  You could go with the raw look, as shown above.

Or maybe the brushed metal look: Brushed look unplated pickup finishA hand polished look:

Polished unplated pickup finishor the aged look with string line:

String Lines finishedEach one of these looks can easily be achieved with less than 30 minutes of work.

Lets start with the easiest one to make…the brushed metal look.  For this you will need a sheet of Scotch-Brite (or equivalent) abrasive pad. I like to use the 6″ x 9″ size since the larger pad will make it easier to achieve straighter brush lines.  You probably won’t find the 6″ x 9″ pad at your local hardware store. Your best place to find this size is at an industrial supply house like Grainger, MSC, MacMaster-Carr, etc or just do a Google search. They are usually less than $2.00 each  Get the ultra fine grade and a couple of other coarser grades. Each one will give a slightly different look to the pickup cover.

Scotch-Brite Large Ultra Fine Sanding PadPLEASE READ:  We recommend you wear protective leather gloves while working with unplated pickup covers. The bottom edge can be very sharp and can easily cut open your finger. Filing the bottom edge smooth before you start work is also an option. 

First, clean off any grease from the unplated pickup cover with a paper towel or rag. Place the Scotch-Brite pad on your work bench directly in front of you. Use one hand to keep the pad from moving and the other to slide the pickup cover, face down, in long straight lines. Do this a few times while taking a look at your work after each pass. It usually only take 2-3 pass to get a nice uniform look.  You might find it easier to make a straight line by pull the pickup cover towards you. You will have to experiment to find out what will work best for you.

Sanding directionYou can do the same thing to the sides once the front is done. Make sure to follow the direction of the lines on the front to make a uniform look.

After SandingBe sure to check back next week as I will show you an easy way to polish a unplated pickup cover without using any power tools.  We will follow that with how to make the faux string lines for the aged pickup look

If you have any questions you can send us an email at support.

Custom Engraved Truss Rod Cover for Jackson guitars

 

We are now offering custom engraved truss rod covers for Import Jackson guitars. The truss rod cover is patterned after a 1990’s Jackson guitar that was made in Japan. This is a great way to add a little extra personalization to your favorite Jackson guitar!

Philadelphia Luthier Tools & Supplies currently offers customer engraved truss rod cover for Gibson, Epiphone, PRS, PRS SE, Ibanez, Schecter, Gretsch, ESP/LTD, Carvin and Guild guitars.

If you have any questions about our custom engraved truss rod covers, you can send us an email at support.

Responsive designed website

Last week we updated our website to a new responsive design. A responsive website will adjust automatically to the device on which it is being viewed. Whether on your mobile phone, tablet,  or desktop, our website will display perfectly. This will enhance your shopping experience here at Philadelphia Luthier Tools & Supplies.

New features:

  • Larger carousel on home page
  • Larger product images on all pages
  • Auto scrolling top sellers on category pages

 

ESP CARVIN TRC blog

 

We are proud to now offer custom engraved truss rod covers for ESP/LTD and Carvin guitars.  Each truss rod cover can be engraved with up to 2 line of text. You can choose from two of our available fonts to add some flare to your message.

Philadelphia Luthier Tools & Supplies currently offers customer engraved truss rod cover for Gibson, Epiphone, PRS, PRS SE, Ibanez, Schecter, Gretsch and Guild guitars.

If you have any questions about our custom engraved truss rod covers, you can send us an email at support.