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Gibson pickguard placement issue - removal questions


Guth

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Elsewhere on this forum, on the "Quality Poll" thread it was mentioned that a number of current Gibson models have their pickguards placed from the factory so that they cover up the rosette rings - which I, like others, think looks like crap.

 

I've thought about removing the pickguard from my J-45 TV, so that I could either:

 

a.) simply re-apply it in what I would consider to the historically correct position

 

or

 

b.) apply a replacement pickguard in the historically correct position if I'm unable to salvage the one that is currently on the guitar.

 

Have any of you out there in forum land removed pickguards from a current generation Gibson acoustic? (I mention "current generation" because I've heard that the adhesives they use for this process have changed recently - not sure if that's true or not, but any input regarding recent Gibsons would be appreciated.) If so, how did it work out - did you simply use a hair dryer to heat up the pickguard (and therefore the adhesive underneath)? Was the pickguard trashed after this process? Finally, what adhesive product do you use to apply/re-apply a pickguard?

 

Thanks!

Guth

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here's my SJ before and after. my set up guy removed the original and replaced with the fire stripe i found on line. he heated the old one enough to be able to lift it and then injected vasoline underneath the rest to get it free. don't know what adhesive he used to attach the new one but i can find out. actually, now that i think about it, the new one had adhesive attached. just peeled off the backing. the old guard was trashed in the process.

RWSJ.jpg

SJPGPIC.jpg

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I recently did this on my 03 OJ. I removed it and trimmed the rosette area to fit properly. I used naptha to remove it. I'll use a blow dryer on pickguards I don't care about saving. I've always found that the blow dryer can distort the guard. I used a pick just to lift the pointed corner just enough for me to start working naptha under it. On some I''ve done before I'd use a Q tip to apply the naptha. This time I used a small piece of rag and worked it back and forth slowly as the guard lifted. It's a piece of cake if your patient. It takes me 5 minutes to get a modern guard off cleanly.

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I recently had a pick guard installed on my J-100 and it covers the rosette. The luthier and I talked about it -- should he cut it or mount it. Well there is a bevel on the pick guard and it is correctly dimensioned so we decided -- cover the rosette. Lets face it the rosettes are not all that neat so you are not covering much. My Tacoma has a nicer rosette. The luthier went in to some detail about mounting (and hence removal (which i did not have to do). Back in the good old day Martin pick guards would be soaked in acetone one side and then clamped and adhered into the surface of the guitar (being hard to remove) (but also not having bubbles or other problems -- coming up). Gibson used several different adhesive methods from one decade to another. Today most of the pick guards come adhesive backed. The "trick" is to mount the pick guard without air bubbles or wrinkles of other issues that make it come up or be uneven in the mounting -- then clamp it for some period until it is imbedded into the guitar. So the problem with removal is that you can be faced with refinishing then entire top of the guitar (down to bare wood and back up again). Not a good prospect. So my view would be stick with the rosette being covered since that is how they make them it is not a defect and you could end up with some troublesome consequences if you remove it.

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The correct position on vintage Gibsons does indeed cover the rosette. Why anyone would go to the trouble of removing a good pickguard to "fix" this is mystifying. Amazing. You wouldn't find me re-designing a Gibson, new or old. I guess that's what makes horse racing.

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The correct position on vintage Gibsons does indeed cover the rosette.

 

Well' date=' there are actually plenty of examples where it does and plenty where it doesn't. The folks in Bozeman looked at a bunch of old ones, and decided to go with covering the rosette -- knowing that there would be complaints no matter which choice they made. We're a hard-to-please bunch! What's shocking is how many people think that their rosette being covered is a QC issue, even though the pickguards are placed quite consistently these days. (Occasionally you'll see one that's slightly off, but never one where the rosette is uncovered on a model where the spec is to cover it.)

 

Why anyone would go to the trouble of removing a good pickguard to "fix" this is mystifying. Amazing.

 

Amen! to that.

 

Oops, I've dated myself. Change that to: +1

 

-- Bob R

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The correct position on vintage Gibsons does indeed cover the rosette. Why anyone would go to the trouble of removing a good pickguard to "fix" this is mystifying. Amazing. You wouldn't find me re-designing a Gibson' date=' new or old. I guess that's what makes horse racing.

 

[/quote']

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On vintage Gibsons with the teardrop or J35 style guards they did not cover the rosette. Now the larger guards like the Hummingbird and the later three point guards they did cover the rosette.

Gibsons placement of guards over the rosette on Montana round shouder guitars is just laziness on their part.

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Thanks, Greg. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Here is where I got mine. It's the 0.60" thick Tortoise. I like the thicker one as it is more remeniscent of the vintage guitars. It also enable him to put a nice bevel on it. I was unable to detect any difference in how the J-45 sounded. He has other materials and you can call and talk to him, he 's a pretty nice guy and will work with you. Good luck!

 

http://www.terrapinisland.com/estore/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=70&products_id=269

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Perhaps I should be more specific. I'm talking about the slope-shouldered dreads with the teardrop pickguard. I've yet to see a picture of a vintage model where the teardrop pickguard totally covers the rosette rings.

 

Regarding the twist that this thread has taken: I, like everyone else, choose how to spend my money on guitars (actions speak louder than words, and all that). I would not spend my money on a guitar that did not appeal to me in some way. Since 1991, I've owned three other Bozeman Gibsons previous to the J-45 TV that I currently own, and I've played many, many others throughout the years. All of which have shaped my opinions.

 

As I've mentioned before on this forum, I'm not exactly a Gibson cheerleader. Based on my experiences with Gibson acoustics, I would not rate build quality as their greatest strength - sure, there are plenty of great examples out there, but I'm talking about their overall output. However, I really, really, like the tone exhibited by some examples, and that is more or less my top priority. Gibson's decision on how to place their pickguards is obviously just that - "their decision". I just don't happen to be a fan of that decision. While I definitely don't want to harm my guitar, if it is feasible to change the location of the pickguard without damaging the instrument, then I would consider it.

 

Thanks to those of you who've provided me with some feedback based on your experiences with this subject.

 

All the best,

Guth

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Guth, I agree. I changed the pickguard on my J-45 because I didn't like it covering the rosette and I didn't really like how thin it was. I really like the batwing on some of the older Gibbys so I looked around and found one I liked and took the plunge. I originally changed out the tuners also but after about 6 months I went back to the vintage white beens after I saw Mr. Dylan playing his J-45 on a video! It's all good, makes me happy with the way it turned out. I figure my '04 won't be a "vintage" instrument until long after I'm dead so one of my nephews or nieces can deal with the fact that it doesn't have the stock pickguard on it. They can then get out their own hairdryer and put their own on!!

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The correct position on vintage Gibsons does indeed cover the rosette. Why anyone would go to the trouble of removing a good pickguard to "fix" this is mystifying. Amazing. You wouldn't find me re-designing a Gibson' date=' new or old. I guess that's what makes horse racing.

 

[/quote']

 

The pg on my 1946 LG-2 does not cover the rosette. The pg on my 1949 Southern Jumbo only covers the far outer ring, it does not cover the inner rings. Vintage enough? My 1997 J-45 also had a pg that did not cover the rosette. All tear drop pickguards. It's a look I prefer, and, to me, the pg covering the rosette looks sloppy, and as someone else said, lazy. BTW, the 3 point pg on my 2003 J-100xtra also did not cover the rosette.

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The correct position on vintage Gibsons does indeed cover the rosette. Why anyone would go to the trouble of removing a good pickguard to "fix" this is mystifying. Amazing. You wouldn't find me re-designing a Gibson' date=' new or old. I guess that's what makes horse racing.

 

[/quote']

 

Just noticed your signature. Do you have any pics of your vintage Gibsons with the teardrop pickguard obscuring the rosette? If so, I'd be really curious to see 'em - I honestly haven't seen this before. I took a quick glance through my "Gibson's Fabulous Flat-Top Guitars" book and could find no such examples.

 

Thanks,

Guth

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Just noticed your signature. Do you have any pics of your vintage Gibsons with the teardrop pickguard obscuring the rosette? If so' date=' I'd be really curious to see 'em - I honestly haven't seen this before. I took a quick glance through my "Gibson's Fabulous Flat-Top Guitars" book and could find no such examples.

 

Thanks,

Guth[/quote']

 

After you posted this, I looked a GFF also. There really is quite a variety.

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After you posted this' date=' I looked a GFF also. There really is quite a variety. [/quote']

 

Thanks Dennis, I'll have another look. Regardless, this configuration still looks "less than desirable" to me, especially considering the radius of the guard clearly appears like it was cut to go outside of the rosette.

 

Guth

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Checked the GFF book again. The only examples I could find where the teardrop pickguard totally covers the rosette were some of the models that were built in Montana.

 

Regarding the garden - I'd love to have a garden that sprouts guitars like that!

 

All the best,

Guth

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By the way' date=' TWilson, nice garden you got goin' in the picture.[/quote']

Thanks, I'll pass that on to Harry and Cathy, the owners of said garden. I have one, count 'em, one plant that an ex-girlfriend gave me in 1976! Other peoples' gardens take absolutely no care on my part.

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Thanks Dennis' date=' I'll have another look. Regardless, this configuration still looks "less than desirable" to me, especially considering the radius of the guard clearly appears like it was cut to go outside of the rosette.

 

Guth[/quote']

 

Yeah, totally agree with that. The ones I see off hand that cover the rosette, btw, are J-55's, Hummingbirds, Doves, some (but not all) J-200's. Most everything, with one or two exceptions, from the 30's, 40's, it does not. Maybe I'm just a cranky old guy, but to me, that's where vintage is.

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