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djw171

Pickguard Material

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what is the material used for the pickguards found on the Southern Jumbo and the J15(and probably others)?. Its a thicker almost gel like feel to it compared to the flat plastic say on a J45.

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what is the material used for the pickguards found on the Southern Jumbo and the J15(and probably others)?. Its a thicker almost gel like feel to it compared to the flat plastic say on a J45.

 

 

 

I call it flubber. Nasty tone sucking stuff for sure. The best thing you can do for your guitar is take it off and get a nice aftermarket substitute. If you take it off you can actually roll it up into a tube. It's sticky and feels terrible.

 

Gibson contacted an Asian company to make Hummingbird pickguards that had the design imbedded in the material so it wouldn't wear out. They were much less expensive than making and engraving them by hand. No one complained so now they are using the flubber on a bunch of guitars. It's much less expensive than a celluloid pickguard. To bad they don't pass the savings along to the customer.

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I call it flubber. Nasty tone sucking stuff for sure. The best thing you can do for your guitar is take it off and get a nice aftermarket substitute. If you take it off you can actually roll it up into a tube. It's sticky and feels terrible.

 

Gibson contacted an Asian company to make Hummingbird pickguards that had the design imbedded in the material so it wouldn't wear out. They were much less expensive than making and engraving them by hand. No one complained so now they are using the flubber on a bunch of guitars. It's much less expensive than a celluloid pickguard. To bad they don't pass the savings along to the customer.

I'm sure they do.....it's what keeps their guitars so cheap to buy [tongue]

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I call it flubber. Nasty tone sucking stuff for sure. The best thing you can do for your guitar is take it off and get a nice aftermarket substitute. If you take it off you can actually roll it up into a tube. It's sticky and feels terrible.

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Terrapin Guitars has the tear drop and the batwing made of celluloid. I had good experience in dealing with them: terrapinisland.com

 

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I call it flubber. Nasty tone sucking stuff for sure. The best thing you can do for your guitar is take it off and get a nice aftermarket substitute. If you take it off you can actually roll it up into a tube. It's sticky and feels terrible.

 

Gibson contacted an Asian company to make Hummingbird pickguards that had the design imbedded in the material so it wouldn't wear out. They were much less expensive than making and engraving them by hand. No one complained so now they are using the flubber on a bunch of guitars. It's much less expensive than a celluloid pickguard. To bad they don't pass the savings along to the customer.

 

Well if that sucks tone, I'd love to hear what my Southern Jumbo sounds like without it! With it, it's incredible.

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Terrapin Guitars has the tear drop and the batwing made of celluloid. I had good experience in dealing with them: terrapinisland.com

 

 

thanks

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The pick guard on my Southern Jumbo is not thick, soft or "rubbery". It's a standard tortoise pick guard material. The same material, different shape, as my J45.

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Really. That's interesting. I see yours is a 2013. I know two other guys with SJ's from 2011 & 2012 (mine is a '12) both have the same type of material as mine. The same as the J15 and certainly different from a J45. I guess Gibson do not have a set standard material. They have stopped production of the SJ now also I noticed.

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Really. That's interesting. I see yours is a 2013. I know two other guys with SJ's from 2011 & 2012 (mine is a '12) both have the same type of material as mine. The same as the J15 and certainly different from a J45. I guess Gibson do not have a set standard material. They have stopped production of the SJ now also I noticed.

 

I guess it's possible that because it's a vintage custom shop '40's spec. guitar it may be different. However, it's a different shape but same material as my J-45 Standard.

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I'm going to check my hummingbird first thing - I've honestly not noticed the flubber - a shame really when you think that the guard on a bird is the iconic visual element that distinguishes it from the rest of the crowd.... And instead what once was a piece of artwork, has been reduced to nothing more than a faceless component, that could be sourced cheap...

 

If I was Gibson I would in steak Make a Big deal about my Hand made pickguards, maybe post a video of Artisans making them, etc.

 

What will be the next to go cheap? The MOP inlays?....

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I don't think these things are all that bad. They solve the problem of the paint wearing off. I don't know that they are cheaper than any other material, I guess they might save the company a little bit of labor since they aren't hand engraved, but I don't have to worry about the pattern wearing off. All the j 15's out there have these pick guards and they sound great. If they steal all the tone from the guitar, then why are people buying them? How can you like your guitar less when you find out what the pickguard is made out of?

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What will be the next to go cheap? The MOP inlays?....

 

Well…they could always go to laminated fretboards and bridges………

 

This cheap gel pick guard would definitely have affected my consideration of buying a Hummingbird, particularly because of the pattern on it...which is now on the underside of the flubber gel. But, surprise, Gibson did not reveal the switch in their specs.

 

Well…they could always go to laminated fretboards and bridges………

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djw171, does your have the tear drop or batwing pick guard?

 

Its the batwing. The teardrop is on the J15. Both the same material. I quite like it actually. I've gigged the SJ a lot since I purchased it. Guitar gets played hard and it seems to be holding up well.

 

I have emailed Gibson and asked them what the material is and why its chosen on certain models. I'm not holding my breath for a response though.

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Actually…I wish Gibson would just put the pick guard in the case when they ship, and let the owner decide to put on the pick guard or not. THEN they could either use the factory supplied pick guard, get and after market guard, put it on covering the rosette, put it on not covering the rosette or toss it in the trash. Ahhh..that felt good!

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Actually…I wish Gibson would just put the pick guard in the case when they ship, and let the owner decide to put on the pick guard or not. THEN they could either use the factory supplied pick guard, get and after market guard, put it on covering the rosette, put it on not covering the rosette or toss it in the trash. Ahhh..that felt good!

 

There was a time when you could request things like this directly from a dealer. I remember 10 years ago I ordered a Gibson J180 in natural with a J185 pickguard and plastic Kluson tuners. The dealer called Gibson and there just so happened to be a few J180s prepped to be sprayed and they obliged. The guitar was shipped directly to my house from Gibson and there was no upcharge. The good old days...

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Having read this thread on Gibsons sound soaking flubber pick guard material, I decided to inspect my 2013 Hummingbird a bit closer.....it is indeed Flubber...a soft gushy, rubbery material similar to gel. I discovered it by pressing my fingernail gently into the pick guard surface....it indented where my fingernail pushed in, and then slowly came back to normal in a few minutes.

 

While it may look good at the moment, I have to question how well this gel will hold up over time. It seems like it would crack or shrivel as it ages. I can not imagine that this sound soaking soft gel does not absorb tone. This cheap gel pick guard would definitely have affected my consideration of buying a Hummingbird, particularly because of the pattern on it...which is now on the underside of the flubber gel. But, surprise, Gibson did not reveal the switch in their specs.

 

 

When the flubber topic first surfaced months ago you were firmly convinced that all hummingbirds, even the old ones, used a two piece laminated pickguard and you said there was no evidence that the flubber could possibly effect the tone of the instrument. Now you seem to think the opposite. Just wondering? I guess I could look in the archives but it isn't worth it at this point.

 

I doubt that the flubber will ever crack or shrink. This stuff will be dug up by some archeologist a thousand years from now and they will determine it was a religious icon celebrating a cult of bird worshipers.

 

There is no excuse for Gibson putting the flubber on a J-15 or any other plain pickguard guitar. Their rational for using it on the Hummingbird was that everyone was upset by the paint wearing off. No one objected so now they can use it on anything. Pitiful but very cost effective.

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I would have to ask has anyone actually any proof that 'flubber' sucks tone? Anyone played the same guitar with the 'flubber' pickguard, took it off, removed any adhesive residue and the played it again and said 'ahh that's a much better tone'?

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I would have to ask has anyone actually any proof that 'flubber' sucks tone? Anyone played the same guitar with the 'flubber' pickguard, took it off, removed any adhesive residue and the played it again and said 'ahh that's a much better tone'?

 

 

I have a Hummingbird that had the "flubber" guard. It kept lifting. I had it off and to my ears both the volume and tone are/were somewhat muted by the large thick guard. I like the tone and volume of mine better with a thin guard. Hey djw, that is just an opinion on the larger guards. It also bothers me they just don't stay down.

Hope this was of some use to you.

 

steve

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