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Hummingbird2000

1960 - 1986 Gibson Hummingbird pick guard details

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This is half of an answer to the question, "How was Gibson able to make the original Hummingbird pick guard so the engraved, paint-filled design would last?" I had originally done a Google books search for Gibson Hummingbird guitar, and after half a day of poking around, here is what came up:

 

However it's a pretty safe bet that, whether he's from Liverpool or Lyme Regis, that ubiquitous instrument the guitar will be there with him. ... Gibson Inc. of Kalamazoo, Michigan obviously thought of this when they were designing their “Gibson Hummingbird' (top) and “Epiphone ... in tough, stable Tenite Butyrate (where else but in the Tenite range could you match a colour designated as “Cherry sunburst'?) ...

 

The snippet above came from a 1965 book called "Engineering Materials and Design - Volume 8, Issues 1-6, Page 383" The maker of Tenite Butyrate is Eastman Chemical Company, of Kingsport, Tennessee. Eastman Chemical is still very much in business, and they still make various forms of Tenite Butyrate cellulosics, all derived from softwood pulp. If anyone wants to duplicate the search results to verify independently, the search phrase in Google books is Gibson Hummingbird guitar AND Tenite Butyrate.

 

I wonder why Gibson simply quit using the Tenite Butyrate?

 

Of course, this leaves the other part of the puzzle untouched. There have been threads here over the years by knowledgeable people which discussed the idea that Gibson Kalamazoo sourced some paint from West Germany to fill in the engravings on the guard. The paint must have had a high lead content, because they referred to its toxicity as the reason the paint was discontinued.

 

None of this may mean anything except as trivia, but I would love to get a pick guard for my Hummingbird made from the original material, engraved deeply enough for paint to sink into the engraved lines.

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Now we're getting somewhere. I agree about the originals. I have to admit I haven't spent any time researching this.

The newer guards are amateur in my opinion. An act of vandalism to place those on the top of such an iconic guitar, to take it a step further.

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