Rust on slugs - is it bad, if so how to remove?

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by pn8830, Oct 6, 2021.

  1. Archtops

    Archtops Strat-Talker

    Mar 25, 2021
    Practice more so you don’t get rusty! :D
  2. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 10, 2014

    A little of that fretboard oil on your fingers will darken the rust up and keep it from continuing.

    Play the guitar more.

    Otherwise ...

  3. ReedRainey

    ReedRainey Strat-Talk Member

    Mar 21, 2014
    Fernandina Beach, FL
    Okay, I'm gonna do you a SOLID, man. My brother-in-law works as a professional car paint man and he turned me onto a liquid product called "Ospho". It's a bit acidic, but you can paint it onto rusted metal and give it a set-aside time until it dries, then it turns the rust into a byproduct for you and it turns black. The issue with your pickups is that you don't want to get any of this product into your electronics. I would remove your strings and then pickguard with your pickups connected. Then remove the pickups carefully and remove the covers, again, very carefully. You then turn each pickup upside down, get a small model airplane-sized paint brush and dip it into the neck of the qt. bottle of Ospho, and paint it on the rusted slugs WITHOUT turning the pickup right-side up and allowing the Ospho to wick into the electronics section and wiring. This is do-able, and will work, but you cannot be fumble-fingered or have a shaky hand when you do this, or the pickup will be destroyed. Unless these single coils are very expensive custom models costing upwards of $300, it would be safer to replace them, and solder the new ones back in, instead. But Ospho WILL WORK where nothing else does. I use it all the time in my garage, and I've treated some tiny rusted things with this and even automotive tools laying in a tool chest but open to garage air which is typically a fairly humid environment. I wouldn't hesitate to do this job, but you have to respect the stuff. If you get it on your hands while you're working, it will sting, so wear nitrile gloves during the treatment. You may need a second coat. It's not like paint, adding layer upon layer. It is a green-tinted liquid that you paint on and is readily available at Walmart for around $21 for a qt. If you buy it at a marine supply store, you'll probably pay $35. It's your choice. But there's no choice her but Ospho or replace those pickups. Of course, you'll need to know how to solder, then. It's effort, whichever way you go. But you're a guitar player, and we'll do anything for exactly what we want, won't we? And DON'T BOTHER WITH VINEGAR. Use the Ospho.
  4. Antstrat

    Antstrat Dr. Stratster

    May 6, 2019
    Over There

    has it been decided yet if the rust is no big deal or a CDC concern?
    Ebidis likes this.
  5. StratUp

    StratUp Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 5, 2020
    Altered States
    My suggestion was in relation to putting it on a q-tip and carefully cleaning the pole piece tops. If that wasn't clear then this should clarify that. I wasn't suggesting spraying the guitar.

    I've never seen WD-40 damage plastics, but I'm not saying it can't happen and always willing to learn specifics. It does contain the infamous "mineral spirits", so if that's not safe for your plastics then keep it away.
    Scott Baxendale likes this.
  6. dartfever

    dartfever New Member!

    Apr 24, 2009
    Sunnyvale, California
    Just dab a little polishing compound (Simichrome, BlueMagic, etc.) on one end of a Q-tip, rub for a few seconds, and flip the Q-tip over to polish off the residue. Buff off any remaining residue with a scrap piece of cotton material. Nothing needs to be removed with this process, as it should not harm the plastics or get into the windings. Hope this helps.
  7. pn8830

    pn8830 Strat-Talker

    Jun 2, 2021
    Thanks, bud. For $21 I could buy a new set of single coils on Amazon. Appreciate the info though, have not heard of it , must be good for some applications.
  8. Scott Baxendale

    Scott Baxendale Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

    May 20, 2020
    Athens Ga
    If you spray it into a pot, you will ruin it in a short amount of time. Use Deoxit instead.