Results 1 to 24 of 24

Thread: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

  1. #1
    Pittsburgh Bill
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    604
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    I recently commissioned a new mandolin build. I ordered nickel tail piece and tuners on a sunburst finish mandolin. I keep rethinking this in my mind and am interested in opinions on whether or not nickel or gold has a classier look or do you find them equal?
    Maybe I'm just over thinking this.
    Keith Edward Coleman A style, oval hole Mandola
    Stiver A style (eagerly awaiting spring 2020 arrival)
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Kentucky KM-950
    Harley Benton A style (Spare canoe paddle)
    Rogue 100A (current campfire tool)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    Are you referring to the Stiver commission in your signature? If so, mine came with a Stiver engraved brushed nickel tailpiece which I like very much. I did end up replacing the tuning machines with brushed nickel Waverlys to match. I think the brushed nickel looks really good with the color finishes he has been doing lately.
    Stiver F5 #366
    Kopp K-35 Braz
    Huss & Dalton TD-M Custom
    1935 Martin 00-17
    HD-28E Retro

  3. The following members say thank you to Trich for this post:


  4. #3
    Registered User Joe Dodson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    584

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    Speaking only for myself, I much prefer nickel. Obviously this is a purely subjective choice that has nothing to do with tone, but it's a strong enough preference for me that I probably wouldn't buy a used mandolin with gold hardware. I'm sure someone will come along who feels the same way in reverse, and their choice will be equally valid, so I would say to go with what speaks to you.

  5. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    High Peak - UK
    Posts
    2,613

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    Personally, I think gold looks better with the warmer look of a sunburst. If it were a black-top, I’d say nikel and if it was a natural blonde, i’d say it didn’t matter. Ultimately, it’s you who has to live with it and you can agonise too much over such things.

  6. #5
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    1,467
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    +1 for gold . . . .

  7. #6
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    San Francisco, CA or forgotten East Galway, take your pick.
    Posts
    2,855

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    I think it depends on the finish of the mandolin - I do tend to like gold on sunburst instruments, though that said, I have a "cremona-burst" finish on my Girouard and it has nickel hardware and looks just fine!

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	front copy.JPG 
Views:	35 
Size:	1.01 MB 
ID:	181335
    2018 Girouard Concert oval A
    2015 Ome Juniper 19 fret open back tenor banjo
    2015 JP "Whitechapel" tenor banjo
    1969 Martin 00-18




    my Youtube channel
    Blog: rural.trad.punk

  8. #7
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    1,249

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    My preference used to be Nickel, but on a whim I had Ken put Gold stuff on my Silverangel and now I'm leaning more that direction than Nickel. For the classical-tenor conversion I'm doing, I'm using all gold. I personally feel Gold looks really good on Black.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	E558ABEF-1DE3-40D2-9C73-A31C68394B36.jpeg 
Views:	27 
Size:	946.2 KB 
ID:	181336
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.Ē
    -anonymous

  9. #8
    Registered User Denman John's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Denman Island, BC Canada
    Posts
    596

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    I do prefer nickel finish on the tailpiece and tuners, and both my sonís and my mandolin sport them. My wifeís mandolin has gold hardware. The Kimble had nickel frets originally and tied it all together visually. A couple of months ago it was time for a refret and had them replaced with EVO Gold frets. It did change the look slightly. If you look at the mandolin closely, they do have a gold colour that would match nicely with gold hardware. From a few feet away you canít really tell.

    What colour are your frets going to be, and is that a consideration?

    If weíre posting pictures ...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	A818306F-5137-4BB2-837E-D95885B10683.jpeg 
Views:	36 
Size:	250.3 KB 
ID:	181342
    ... not all those who wander are lost ...

  10. #9

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    Never have liked gold hardware, and never will. It wouldn't stop me buying a mandolin with gold hardware though. Far more important features trump looks.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  11. The following members say thank you to Br1ck for this post:


  12. #10
    Pittsburgh Bill
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    604
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    Quote Originally Posted by Denman John View Post

    What colour are your frets going to be, and is that a consideration?

    If we’re posting pictures ...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	A818306F-5137-4BB2-837E-D95885B10683.jpeg 
Views:	36 
Size:	250.3 KB 
ID:	181342
    It did not occur to me to ask the color of the frets. I did specify the size of the frets but assumed they would not be gold to match the hardware I ordered.
    Keith Edward Coleman A style, oval hole Mandola
    Stiver A style (eagerly awaiting spring 2020 arrival)
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Kentucky KM-950
    Harley Benton A style (Spare canoe paddle)
    Rogue 100A (current campfire tool)

  13. #11
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    I don't wear gold jewelry and neither do any of my instruments. This works well for us.

  14. #12
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Blue Zone, California
    Posts
    1,202
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    I also play banjo, and until a few years ago all my banjos had nickel plated metal parts. Like many people, I'm mildly allergic to nickel when it is touching skin. I had to get used to wearing an arm sleeve to protect my right arm which was always in contact with either the metal tension hoop or the metal armrest on my banjos.

    Recently I got a fancier old gold plated banjo (RB-800), not really for the looks, but because it sounds great. And as it turns out, I do like how it looks too. The problem with gold plating is that unless it is really thick (and expensive), it wears off with contact. Nickel plating takes much longer to wear through, and chrome plating nearly never wears through. On my gold plated banjo, with about 4 years of pretty frequent use, the armrest and talipiece gold plating is wearing thin enough to see the nickel plating layer underneath it. Not all gold plating is that thin, but this particular banjo model had thin gold plating. The other gold plated parts on this banjo, which almost never have contact or wear, are doing just fine as far as plaiting is concerned. I could have the worn parts re-plated, and may do that sometime in the future, but for now the plating is wearing thin; it doesn't look horrible, but it's there.

    So if the metal parts that you're discussing are prone to contact and wear, I'd suggest not using gold plating unless you can live with watching the gold plating grow thin with time and use. And keep in mind, being inside a case is also a source of contact and wear (hence my banjo's tailpiece gold plating becoming worn).

    Btw, I have Evo Gold frets on both my gold plated banjo and on my nickel plated mandolin (F-9), and my wife has Evo Gold frets on her guitar (D-41). The frets are fine as far as color-matching with a plating color is concerned, Evo Gold frets go very nicely with either gold or nickel plating.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

  15. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to dhergert For This Useful Post:


  16. #13
    Out of tune HappyPickin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    NE 10EC
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    Gold worked well for this build. I have two with nickel and two with gold. For me it depends on the finish.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2825.jpeg 
Views:	32 
Size:	95.7 KB 
ID:	181346
    Out of tune and out of time.

  17. #14

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    I prefer a brushed nickel finish.

    I do have to add that I specified EVO gold frets on my Girouard build, which has brushed nickel hardware. I think it blends in well, it has an engraved James tailpiece where the engraving is gold, and it has abalone rosette and fret markers which has a variety of colors from white, to blue to golden.
    Girouard Custom Studio A Oval
    P.W. Crump OM-III

  18. #15
    Registered User Tom Sanderson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Saint Augustine, FL
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    Nickel for me

  19. #16
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    15,911

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    I...The problem with gold plating is that unless it is really thick (and expensive), it wears off with contact. Nickel plating takes much longer to wear through, and chrome plating nearly never wears through. On my gold plated banjo, with about 4 years of pretty frequent use, the armrest and talipiece gold plating is wearing thin enough to see the nickel plating layer underneath it. Not all gold plating is that thin, but this particular banjo model had thin gold plating....
    Amen to that. I have a couple of older Gibsons with gold plated tuners and tailpieces, and the plating looks, well, "vintage." I used to consider re-plating, but it's costly and there aren't many places that'll do it. Now I just enjoy the "patina..."
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  20. The following members say thank you to allenhopkins for this post:


  21. #17
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    4,953

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    I've had fretted instruments with both hardware finishes, but the current three I play the most -- mandolin, octave mandolin, acoustic guitar -- all have gold hardware with black ebony tuner buttons. I like the way gold looks with black. With white (pearl) tuner buttons I think nickel looks better.

    I'm aware of the problem with thinner gold plating wearing off, but I haven't had that problem with my current instruments and hardware (gold-plated Waverly tuners on the mandos, and I think it's Gotoh sealed tuners on the guitar).

  22. #18
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    1,022

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    Just another case where you need a mando with each!
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

  23. The following members say thank you to dang for this post:


  24. #19
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Bozeman, MT
    Posts
    862

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    I find that nickel matches the shell nicely on my headstocks. It also conveys the working man ethics of my music as well.
    I try to conceal my gold ego frets with furious fingers!
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
    2017 Ratliff R5 Custom #1148
    Several nice old Fiddles
    2007 Martin 000-15S 12 fret Auditorium-slot head
    Deering Classic Open Back
    Too many microphones

  25. #20
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    2,945

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    I prefer the look of nickel to gold. I also like dark tuner buttons. I can tolerate ivoroid buttons ok but really don't care for pearloid. I recently replaced the tuners on my Eastman MDC805 because the hardware was nickel and everything else was brass/"gold", and the knobs were pearloid. Gold Schaller's with ebony knobs match the headstock, tailpiece, arm rest, pickguard, Kent Armstrong floating neck pickup, etc. much better. So although I still prefer nickel, it just looks better to have a unified look when the instrument already is 85% gold.

  26. #21
    Registered User mtucker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Los Angeles CA
    Posts
    1,402

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    It depends...gold hardware can be very appealing with gold matching jewelry and bad rug or comb-over.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	EEFE607D-116E-4FCF-A122-E0267752E715.jpeg 
Views:	16 
Size:	123.4 KB 
ID:	181372  
    Last edited by mtucker; Nov-23-2019 at 9:25am. Reason: Pic added for illustrative purpose

  27. #22
    Registered User Russ Donahue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    779

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Amen to that. I have a couple of older Gibsons with gold plated tuners and tailpieces, and the plating looks, well, "vintage." I used to consider re-plating, but it's costly and there aren't many places that'll do it. Now I just enjoy the "patina..."
    Old electric guitars with what used to be gold hardware ruined me on the look forever...nickel may get "old" looking, but it doesn't look tired or "bad" as it starts to wear.
    One watch by night, one watch by day...if you get confused, just listen to the music play.

  28. The following members say thank you to Russ Donahue for this post:


  29. #23

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    Silver plated hardware looks nice when it ages. You can polish it or not. I like it when the silver gets dark.

    On a '26 Fern I'd settle for worn gold. I guess. If I had to.

  30. #24
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    814

    Default Re: Opinion on nickel vs. gold aesthetics

    Another preference for nickel over gold. Never been a fan of gold hardware. The only exception is on Lowden guitars. For some reason I like that look. But on most guitars or mandolins, no.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 1941 Strad-O-Lin, 2018 Eastman MDO-305, 1950's Californian
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/
    https://www.lauluaika.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Longtine-Pl...4404553312723/

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •