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I have come into possession of a Brilhart three band ligature (the one with the heavy screw plates on top.) It's pretty gnarly looking and it almost looks like it has blotches of remaining gold plate. Did they even gold plate these things? What would be the best way to restore this ligature to its former glory? Could it be gold plated without damaging it? I'm not looking to resell. This is purely for my own enjoyment.

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G'day JoAnn

I am assuming your ligature is not broken but is simply in need of a clean. I would suggest a careful wash in warm soapy water and a soft brush (maybe discarded toothbrush if you have nothing softer). After this some cleaning / polishing cream applied with some Q-Tips aka cotton buds. some tips below "may" be of assistance.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
G'day JoAnn

I am assuming your ligature is not broken but is simply in need of a clean. I would suggest a careful wash in warm soapy water and a soft brush (maybe discarded toothbrush if you have nothing softer). After this some cleaning / polishing cream applied with some Q-Tips aka cotton buds. some tips below "may" be of assistance.

I don't have any copper or brass polish, but I do have some barkeepers friend which does a pretty good job on other metals. I may have to give that a try tonight. Depending on how it looks I may still be looking to have it gold plated just for the bling factor.
 

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For brass lacquer and plated brass, once the dirt is off, a good very mild polish with Hagerty's 100 or even just plain old Pledge furniture polish will help make it look nice.
 

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Barkeeper's Friend is awesome stuff. Apply and remove in ten minute increments. Slightly acid based but does wonders.
 

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What about having them re-plated? I haven't price gold or silver plate lately but can a small ligature take that much material?
 

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I don't have any copper or brass polish, but I do have some barkeepers friend which does a pretty good job on other metals. I may have to give that a try tonight. Depending on how it looks I may still be looking to have it gold plated just for the bling factor.
I'd be careful of brass or copper polish, and certainly careful of Barkeeper's Friend. I use that stuff on my stainless pots, it does great, but it is abrasive, and if there is any lacquer on the ligature it will start to take it off. The Hagerty's I mentioned won't, and I think Wenol might be OK too, though you still have to be careful with lacquer. Or plating, for that matter.

Pledge is safe :) as is any other wax-based substance (like Renaissance wax). Dr. G swears by Meguiars (spelling?) polish for lacquered guitars and his horns. I'd go that route first.
 

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If you have TarnX, you can soak it briefly in it, it is just a clear fluid without any abrasives but it will remove the black tarnish and dirt and they you can just hand polish it with a soft cloth and/or cotton swabs.
 

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If you want to spend a few hours out of your life, you can slowly polish with Flitz liquid polish. You can accelerate by using .0000 steel wool. Be gentle. Personally, I've cleaned boatloads of brass, stainless, etc. with Barkeeper's Friend and have had no issues. Just rinse excessively.

Life is too short to hand polish stupid stuff.
 

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Yes it can be re-plated with gold. I do "bench top" plating in my shop and have done ligatures and resonators for customers. The process would first be to buff the ligature and screws to an even polished finish. Then the parts would first be plated with nickel and then 24K hard gold. If you can supply a photo so I can see how much prep would be involved, I can send you an estimate in a pm if you are interested. I did not have a picture of a ligature I plated so this jpg taken from a video is not of the highest quality. The gold plated neck better represents the color of the plating on the ligature.

10472
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Discussion Starter #11
If you want to spend a few hours out of your life, you can slowly polish with Flitz liquid polish. You can accelerate by using .0000 steel wool. Be gentle. Personally, I've cleaned boatloads of brass, stainless, etc. with Barkeeper's Friend and have had no issues. Just rinse excessively.

Life is too short to hand polish stupid stuff.
Ha! The Pandemic has led to me doing all sorts of things for hours that I wouldn't normally do. The ligature itself is vintage with good condition ones selling (I don't know about the buying part) for as much as $800!!!! I'd never pay that much for a ligature, I just happened to get it for nearly no cost, but I would at least like to give it some TLC. Would still like to consider gold plating if it wouldn't damage it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yes it can be re-plated with gold. I do "bench top" plating in my shop and have done ligatures and resonators for customers. The process would first be to buff the ligature and screws to an even polished finish. Then the parts would first be plated with nickel and then 24K hard gold. If you can supply a photo so I can see how much prep would be involved, I can send you an estimate in a pm if you are interested. I did not have a picture of a ligature I plated so this jpg taken from a video is not of the highest quality. The gold plated neck better represents the color of the plating on the ligature.

View attachment 10472 View attachment 10473
Wow, nice work! Let me first just soak and clean it in soap and water and I'll see how I feel about it then. I'm guess I'll still want to get it gold plated, so I'm sure you'll be hearing from me. THANKS!
 

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Yes it can be re-plated with gold. I do "bench top" plating in my shop and have done ligatures and resonators for customers. The process would first be to buff the ligature and screws to an even polished finish. Then the parts would first be plated with nickel and then 24K hard gold. If you can supply a photo so I can see how much prep would be involved, I can send you an estimate in a pm if you are interested. I did not have a picture of a ligature I plated so this jpg taken from a video is not of the highest quality. The gold plated neck better represents the color of the plating on the ligature.

View attachment 10472 View attachment 10473
Can you do a soprano stm and ligature?
 

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Yes it can be re-plated with gold. I do "bench top" plating in my shop and have done ligatures and resonators for customers. The process would first be to buff the ligature and screws to an even polished finish. Then the parts would first be plated with nickel and then 24K hard gold. If you can supply a photo so I can see how much prep would be involved, I can send you an estimate in a pm if you are interested. I did not have a picture of a ligature I plated so this jpg taken from a video is not of the highest quality. The gold plated neck better represents the color of the plating on the ligature.

View attachment 10472 View attachment 10473
Man! That is nice plating.
 

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I had one of those ligs and i think it was 'gold-lacquered'. I would use 'Lime-Away' or 'CLR', both at the grocery store or home center, to clean it. It doesn't affect lacquer, plating or plastics. Then, if you want to polish it, you can use any kind of metal polish on a soft cloth. Its good to have a large wine cork or something to put in the ligature to hold and support it while polishing. Depending on what size it is you can find or make something for this. However, after cleaning with the tarnish remover, you might like the 'patina' look of the raw brass and remaining lacquer.
 

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Given the shape of a ligature, I'd use a metal polish and a toothbrush - the brush will get into all its nooks and crannies better than a cloth.

Personally I'd start out with scouring powder (Ajax or Comet) on a toothbrush to remove green and red corrosion; then polish (on a different brush) with Wenol, Simichrome, or equivalent.
 

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Sell it. I mean... who needs an $800 ligature. If someone is willing to pay that, then I wouldn't bother to restore it in any way. Heck, you might not even like it and I'm sure there will be something out there that works just as well if not better. Sure, a cool piece of history that some might really covet; which isn't really the best of reasons to hang on to something.

Sell it for the crazy money people will pay, and don't feel guilty about it in the least. Then put that money towards something you need.
 

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Barkeepers works. Inuse it to clean up bare brass but Ive never tried in 10 minute intervals. I just apply, rub and rinse. I suppose it depends on how grungy it is....but it will cut tarnish.
 

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Can you do a soprano stm and ligature?
I can plate anything that can be immersed in a 1 liter beaker. This is the 6 station plating station from Rio Grande Jewelry with a 5 amp voltage regulator. I can just barely plate an alto sax neck, but tenor necks are too big. I am not soliciting customers, but I enjoy plating and since I am retired with a steady income, I don't need to charge a lot for my work.

10502
 

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Very nice setup.
 
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