I just got this used Yamaha Pacifica 712 with HSS pick ups and had some questions, all but one have been answered (I think).

It has rust / discoloration around metal parts of pickup (polepieces, ring screws) -- see attached pic #2 -- and I've read where a couple people said not to mess with this, that it adds to "relic'd" look, and that messing with it might affect tone. I'm happy with tone, but I don't see where scrubbing off rust / dirt should screw up tone, and I'd be happier without the rust. Does anyone think I can clean these without worry about screwing anything up and, more importantly, what's the best thing to use?

My other two questions, now answered, were:
1) What 5-way switch does (1=bridge; 2=bridge & mid; 3=mid; 4=mid & neck; 5=neck, counting from bridge-side to neck-side).
2) Why the pickups have staggered polepieces? Well, apparently this is intentional, fender also sometimes did this on stratocasters and, less often, telecasters, for tonal balancing between strings, not sure whether this is "better" or signifies a higher end / more customized/tailored tone compared to pickup with flush / even polepieces. Since flush polepieces have been around since mid-70s, and on Yamahas to some degree in 70s & 80s, I cannot think why a 90s Pacifica would have staggered pole pieces unless Yamaha thought it was an upgrade / improvement (I note this is the 700 series guitar, which is somewhat higher end, compared to 100, 300, 500 series, though not as high end as 900 series, so for all I know the lower series levels had flush polepieces and higher end had staggered, but that's just a guess). If anyone has more detailed info on why some guitar manufacturers went back to using staggered polepieces AFTER invention and widespread use of flush polepieces, I'm curious. The real odd thing is, if they ultimately decided that staggered was better, why not use it across the board and keep using it? It seems like they just sometimes used staggered polepieces and sometimes used flush in 80s & 90s, I cannot really see much rhyme/reason.


(1) What do the 5 selector positions do? I can hear the difference, but do not know which pups are active to make the tones... is there a standard for HSS guitars with 5-way selector switches?

(2) What does it mean if the metal prongs in the pickups are at different heights? This is the first guitar I've had where these were not all flush or uniform, where I saw a difference in the height of these parts (don't even know what the right word for them is). Is this a problem? How/why do these prongs get moved higher/lower?

(3) I see rusty areas on and around pickups, or maybe dirty. I googled this and found some people saying this is normal wear, not a problem if it's not harming tone, and I guess some people like this look (relic'd?). But I guess if I can clean it up to look shiny / gleaming / silver / chrome type of look, that'd be my preference. Don't want to start scrubbing if I'm going to harm the guitar, though.


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Bernie Sanders for President!
Last edited by krm27 at May 25, 2014,