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Hummingbird Pickguard Paint Touch ups

#21 User is offline   62burst 

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 03:46 PM

Fine work, Mr Groove & Little Johnny-

Suppose the light sanding can only be done a few times before the risk of removing the impressions in the original HB pickguard mold would not allow for the grooves to hold paint any longer (?) I see Johnny's been around the forum for a good while (and good of 'Groove to circle back after almost 3 yrs), maybe he might recall or . . . does anyone ever recall hearing anything about the original molds for the Hummingbird pickguards, pre-Bozeman?

So these 'guards are molded/stamped for the artwork to be painted?

A pic here of a pickguard bird on it's way to obscurity (macro lens, side lighting):

Posted Image

If trying to attempt to restore a faded guard, to etch or engrave the guard to accept paint and look like the original would be a tricky task.


Here, the human side of putting the finishing touches to a pickguard at Bozeman:

Posted Image

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#22 User is offline   fortyearspickn 

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 06:50 PM

View Postbobby b, on 07 November 2013 - 11:22 AM, said:

Nice job on the Hummingbird Pickguard.


I see what you did there. Very creative.
SJ200 2004
H'Bird TV 2010
J45 Custom Koa 2013
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#23 User is offline   fortyearspickn 

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 06:55 PM

Little Johnny - thank you - who would have guessed "yellow" and "white" !? I was afraid there were 5 shades of each! Thnx.
Now - 62burst raises a valid point - will even micro-sanding make the 'grooves' for the paint too shallow for the next time?
I was thinking of doing this - primarily for when it's time to pass my TV on to one of my grandchildren, so it would look great. But now .... ?
SJ200 2004
H'Bird TV 2010
J45 Custom Koa 2013
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#24 User is offline   littlejohnny 

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 01:03 PM

View Postfortyearspickn, on 16 September 2017 - 06:55 PM, said:

Little Johnny - thank you - who would have guessed "yellow" and "white" !? I was afraid there were 5 shades of each! Thnx.
Now - 62burst raises a valid point - will even micro-sanding make the 'grooves' for the paint too shallow for the next time?
I was thinking of doing this - primarily for when it's time to pass my TV on to one of my grandchildren, so it would look great. But now .... ?


I don't see a problem here, I sanded my pickguard three times in the process. Looked like new after polishing, Even if I do that kind of restoration once I year ( which I doubt I'll do) I think my pickguard and its grooves will outlast me.

As stated in the earlier post, I was kind of relieved, that I could do this restoration over and over again, the thought one could sand of so much of the guard that the grooves disappear, never occurred to me.
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#25 User is offline   slimt 

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 03:07 PM

View Post62burst, on 16 September 2017 - 03:46 PM, said:

Fine work, Mr Groove & Little Johnny-

Suppose the light sanding can only be done a few times before the risk of removing the impressions in the original HB pickguard mold would not allow for the grooves to hold paint any longer (?) I see Johnny's been around the forum for a good while (and good of 'Groove to circle back after almost 3 yrs), maybe he might recall or . . . does anyone ever recall hearing anything about the original molds for the Hummingbird pickguards, pre-Bozeman?

So these 'guards are molded/stamped for the artwork to be painted?

A pic here of a pickguard bird on it's way to obscurity (macro lens, side lighting):

Posted Image

If trying to attempt to restore a faded guard, to etch or engrave the guard to accept paint and look like the original would be a tricky task.


Here, the human side of putting the finishing touches to a pickguard at Bozeman:

Posted Image



its very difficult to replicate.....

I have a SJ200 Hand carved pickguard from Ren back in the 1994 days.. Ren hand carved , John Walker coloured and intalled Multi colored dots.. it was a duplicate guard I ordered along with the Custom Shop 1938 Brazilian Sj200 which I had one made for back in the day..

Good job on the Bird touch ups..
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#26 User is offline   SirNed 

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 05:50 PM

View Post62burst, on 16 September 2017 - 03:46 PM, said:

. . . does anyone ever recall hearing anything about the original molds for the Hummingbird pickguards, pre-Bozeman?

So these 'guards are molded/stamped for the artwork to be painted?


They were originally hand-etched and painted. Later they used molds. Heritage Guitars at the old Kalamazoo Gibson factory has some of the old molds. Here is a pic (I would of liked to get a better photo, but it was dark in there):

Attached thumbnail(s)

  • Attached Image: bird_j200_pg_mold.jpg

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#27 User is offline   62burst 

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 01:52 AM

View PostSirNed, on 17 September 2017 - 05:50 PM, said:

They were originally hand-etched and painted. Later they used molds. Heritage Guitars at the old Kalamazoo Gibson factory has some of the old molds. Here is a pic (I would of liked to get a better photo, but it was dark in there):

Great photo, Ned. 'Would love to be able to make out what the white card says, or what the strange metal object next to the SJ-200 guard is. [EDIT- ok, it looks like half of a Gibson Masterbuilt banjo headstock]

So- the holes in the "points" of the two pickguard molds. . . hmmm (?) I suppose the mold for the Country Western model would show a shallower depth mold for it's thinner guard (?)

Nicely done, Sir Ned.

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#28 User is offline   SirNed 

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 08:52 PM

62burst: You're right.. that is a banjo headstock pattern. I was able to make out some of the notes, so I'll post them below.

Hummingbird Pickguard Mold:
This mold was used to create the eye-catching pickguard of the Gibson Hummingbird. Wax-like filler was poured into the mold, then the dried shape was punched out and the grooves were filled in with different colored paint to show the designs.

SJ-200 Pickguard Mold:
This mold was used to create the sophisticated pickguard of the Gibson SJ-200. Wax-like filler was poured into the mold, then the dried shape was punched out and the grooves were filled in with white paint to show the designs.

Banjo Headstock Pattern:
This is a pattern for making the Gibson banjo headstock. The pin holes held the pattern in place, and workers would trace one half of the pattern and then flip the pattern over. This ensured that the pattern would be completely symmetrical.

Soap Bar Pickup Mold:
This is an original injection mold for the Soap Bar Style pickup covers. This mold of the classic single coil pickups was used in the late 1950s. When used in production, the plastic material was poured inside, and once it was dried they would push the six center spheres to punch out the pole piece holes.

Banjo Router Template:
This fretboard template was used on a pin router to shape the "flying eagle" mother of pearl inlays on various Gibson banjo models. It was most likely use in the mid 1940s-1950s.

Gibson A-50 (Mandolin) Headstock Template
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