Polishing a National guitar

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/02/23/polishing-a-national-guitar.html


Did you try #000 steel wool? Works great on chrome, not sure about nickel plating, but it avoids the oily mess left by the likes of brasso - just wipe off surface dirt with water first, dry, then use the wool with nothing else.


I finally understand the Paul Simon lyric, “The Mississippi Delta Was shining like a National guitar.”


Dang, it sure is shiny!

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“Don’t wipe the sweat off your instrument. You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.”

– Don Van Vliet

(Easier said than done.)


I have a reproduction tri-cone which I bought to travel with, based on the theory that a metal guitar would better tolerate the indignities of air travel. Lessons learned:

  1. It sounds fantastic!
  2. It gets heavier every time I lift it.
  3. It attracts special attention from the air security folks on every trip, presumably because of aforementioned heaviness and also because it looks INSANE on the x-ray machine.
  4. Air security folks aren’t especially careful about repacking things, which meant a dislodged post and a broken stock the second time I checked it.

I still love playing the tri-cone but I have now bought a $150 wooden parlor guitar to travel with, figuring that when the airline folks smash it I can just buy another one.


I use Simichrome to clean satin anodized aluminum on Rhodes pianos. It works like magic where other cleaners and solvents don’t seem to do a darned thing.

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Guitar really looks great in the room :slight_smile:

I have to go and practice that now. I love Graceland. Just talking about it last night at a concert!

And yes, it is available from Amazon. But it’s also available elsewhere.

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After cleaning, have you considered polishing/protecting it with Renaissance Wax? It’s pretty highly regarded across multiple fields of preservation. I found out about it from a jeweler who made me some custom rings with a delicate finish.

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Hey, I have recommend Simichrome before. 1) it’s German, so you know it’s good. 2) polish stainless steel guns up very nicely as well!

Wow you would need a lot for a whole guitar, but yes, it is supposed to be a great protector. Museum quality. I put it on a sword and no rust.

I would’ve thought scrunched up tin foil dipped in coke would work a treat on this, it worked great when i tried it on a crud encrusted oven rack.

“Polishing your guitar?” Is that what the kids are calling it these days?


I’m thinking there are several levels of whoops between an oven rack and a national guitar


Looks good enough to put on the cover of a Dire Straits album.


Indeed so and that is a fancy guitar. Maybe try it on an extremely small area? Or not, i don’t wanna be held responsible.

Wasn’t that a Dobro? (Wow that dates me!)

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While you are at it, could you do us a favour and explain “Ever since the watermelon”?

As a non-native speaker, I thought I had misheard the line. I went looking for the lyrics. I wondered if it was an idiomatic expression. I then went to the interwebz for help. And here I stand, with all my lore, poor fool, no wiser than before.

In “Graceland”? He definitely never mentions watermelons. What song is this from?

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