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Oct 23, 2020 - 2:11:18 PM



162 posts since 10/30/2019

I wouldn't say I have an apple of my eye. I have multiple, be it a scale model of a car on my shelf or an engraved percussion shotgun on my wall.

But one of the apples is my banjo, and I like to keep it clean.

....However that's not that easy. Twice a month I add a drop of a very mild soap to half a liter of water, I then clean any dirt and grime from under the hooks with a q-tip, then gently clean the dust from the whole instrument with a soft microfiber cloth.

This, as in the cleaning of the hooks, of course, takes a lot of time. How do you guys out there clean your banjos? Is there a more time efficient way?

Oct 23, 2020 - 2:26:26 PM

11204 posts since 6/2/2008

I've used Ken Smith Pro Formula Polish. Non-abrasive. Used it on both lacquer and metal.


Right now, I'm working through a bottle of Gibson polish. Also a liquid in a small pump bottle.

But I don't thoroughy clean as frequently as you do. I wipe down after a playing session with a microfibre cloth.  Maybe use the polish three or four times a year -- mostly on the wood. 

I've completely disassembled banjos in the past to thoroughly clean them, but that was usually in connection with some other work, such as sending a neck to be refretted or refinished.

When I thoroughly clean, I polish the metal with Simichrome. But I understand this is mildly abrasive and could remove plating over time, so I don't want to do it too many times.

Edited by - Old Hickory on 10/23/2020 14:27:39

Oct 23, 2020 - 5:27:03 PM

4676 posts since 5/9/2007


Oct 23, 2020 - 6:06:15 PM

9 posts since 2/10/2019

Does the Ken Smith polish really work well for nickel plated parts? I've used it for years but I've always kept it off the metal.

Oct 24, 2020 - 7:42 AM



2721 posts since 1/15/2014

Never use anything but soap and water. Avoid polishing agents, especially on antique instruments.

Oct 24, 2020 - 8:58:21 AM
like this

4214 posts since 6/15/2005

Sorry, I'm afraid I can't help you.

I'm not familiar with your use of terms like "shiny" and "clean" in relation to banjos.surprise

Oct 24, 2020 - 10:32:07 AM



21933 posts since 7/6/2005

The problem with nickel is that all nickel plating is not the same. Case-in-point are Gibson's banjos from the 70's. The nickel plating had a tendency to turn dull and "mossy," an although it could be polished, it was never bright and shiny after it had oxidized.

I have used Flitz, Wenol, Nev-R-Dull "Magic Wadding Polish", a variety of blue low-abrasive metal polishes. I had fairly good results from Amway Metal Polish, but it is fairly abrasive. I'm using Wenol and BlueMagic right now. I lke the polishes that leave a wax protective coating

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