Stain on pickup cover (need advice)

Hey guys,
So while playing my strat I keep hitting the middle pickup and it got some red marks from my guitar pick.
How can I can remove these marks? Thank you!

Hi Lucas, welcome to the Community!

I’m no expert, but my approach to stains on hard surfaces is one of gradually increasing aggressiveness.

I start with a microfibre cloth dampened with tapwater.
if that doesn’t work I try adding some washing up liquid.
next I go to vinegar or lemon juice. (with all these liquids be careful to just dampen the cloth, you don’t want to flood the electrics)
failing that I’ll try toothpaste or a paste of water and bicarbonate of soda (N.B. slightly abrasive)
It can be worth a try with WD-40, which contains mild solvents
and if all else fails, acetone (obtainable in small bottles from any pharmacy) - N.B. no responsibility taken for anything melted.

or you could leave it as proof that your guitar is played enthusiastically, not just an ornament! (and stop using red picks! :grinning:)

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People pay a lot for a relic’d guitar…


I wouldn’t use acetone. That can eat into plastic. One thing you could try is methylated spirits. Use it on a cotton bud. Also good old-fashioned spit works as a gentle stain remover.

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Good point well made. Hence my disclaimer of responsibility for anything melted! I’d position meths in my list after WD-40 and before acetone.

bad idea

REALLY bad idea. :slight_smile: (sorry Ian! No offense intended!) Acetone is too good at dissolving plastics and probably guitar finishes. I would not let it get near my guitars. Even rubbing alcohol is risky.

If a little scrubbing with some soap or detergent lightly rubbed on the damp cloth won’t clean it, you can try the abrasive (toothpaste), but that won’t solve the problem, it will come back. Whatever you try here, apply the solvent or cleaning agent to the damp cloth, not the guitar. Keep it very lightly applied to the pickup.

My first thought was that your pick is diving too low. improve your technique and then clean off the covers once you won’t turn them pink.

If you just can’t seem to remove the color, you may be able to locate new covers for the pickups. I see things like that on amazon, but have never looked at how much effort it is to remove and replace.

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A new set of pickup covers is about the same price as a new set of strings.


Look at the scuffs as if you are the artist and have merely signed your work. :art:

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Or buy a white pick. :grin:


thanks for the tips! will definetily stop using red picks lol, already bought some white jazz 3’s!

glad to hear it!

do you think i could use goo gone? I saw some people suggesting it on some forums

Sorry, never heard of goo gone.

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Eh a blue pick for the bridge pickup and a green one for the neck?

Mr Clean Magic Eraser… I would stay away from solvents and anything acidic (vinegar, lemon juice).


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Good idea, but is there a risk of it causing scratches?

I use permanent black marker to cover my stains :rofl:


Lol, it looks really good!

Thanks everyone for the tips!
So just updating, here’s what I did if anyone gets the same problem
I wet the tip of a microfiber cloth with water and just vigorously scrubbed the stains
Also bought a white pick so that it doesn’t stain it again if i hit the pickup
Looking brand new!


I’m glad you fixed that Lucas!
I hate the idea of water (or even sweat) anywhere near my pickups/electronics but I suppose if the cloth wasn’t dripping it’s fine.
I found that I have the same problem with SSS and HSS guitars. That middle pickup is always in the way. And I don’t dig too deep in the strings but it’s just there…
The way I comfort myself that I don’t completely suck is that Rickie Blackmore hated that middle pickup and had it screwed all the way down and Petrucci said that middle pickup also gets in the way of his playing and that’s why he doesn’t play single coils :joy: (That’s supposed to be a joke btw)

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Yeah I was scared of that too, that’s why I decided to ask for advice lol, but if you just damp the tip of the cloth there’s no problem, my guitar is sounding completely normal :smile:

I guess it’s inevitable to hit the middle pickup, unless you do something like this🤣:

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