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Loosening pickgards


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Hi, I have an issue with 2 of my Acoustic Gibson guitars.

IMG_2650.jpg.fe532de45b5f3a44c5c9586983068ba9.jpg

The first is an acoustic SJ200 Ebony Custom shop that I bought new a couple of years ago. The second is a Hummingbird that I bought last year from Guitar Center here in Florida, made in 2018. Both of the guitare are really nice but my problem is that the pickguards dont stick to the guiters. The glue is not good enough and the pickgards flake loose. Every time i play I have to re-attach the pickguard first but I am afraid that they will fall off soon.

Any Ideas on this?

 

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Got a great idea.  Let 'em fall off and toss 'em in the trash or store them between the pages of a big book.  Clean any glue with naptha. You can put them back on when you wear a 'Willy' rut in the tops, or if you sell.

Guitars look better naked.

Edited by jedzep
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Looking at these guards.  I would be contacting Gibson. On a failed product. Those guards were supposed to be the best gibson offered.   I see they dont hold there shape  .  

These guards are not cheap in price . And those are part of the high value of each guitar. 

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12 hours ago, ALD323 said:

My 2013 Gibson Hummingbird did the same thing within just 6 months. I finally pulled it off all together as it looked horrible. I contacted Fuller for a replacement, they wanted to charge me $150.00 for the new pick guard..I ordered it..and sent it back as it was the exact same defective one as just came off. I decided to experment with the old curled one to solve the problem. Here is what I did:

After the HB flubberguard guard is removed you will notice that it looks "curled". That i to say, it is not completely flat when lying on a table top, and this is what caused it to pull up in the first place, the curl.  When the plastic was made, it dried to fast..it then curled..gibson then installed it anyway and with glue..it held for a while, then the curl eventually over about 6 month to two years, began to pull up. That is why it happens in my opinion. Your milage may vary. Here is the process below which I used to permanently fix it, using the very same pick guard that was on it. So far, the reinstallation has lasted permanently with no pull up ever again at all. It looks like new if the process is done carefully, and will last for years.

Step 1. Remove all the glue on the back side of the HB pickguard with naptha (Lighter fluid)..as well as the top of the guitar.

Step 2. When it the pick guard is clean and dry and glue free,  lie it upon a flat surface or table, and then use a hair dryer to expose the curled pick guard to heavy heat..enough to semi melt the curl back to flat. You will actually see the pick guard begin to lay flat again "before your eyes" as it is exposed to the hair dryer heat. Carefully aim the hair dryer, set on high at the pick guard, moving the dries air all over the guard evenly, and by pulling the dryer closer and away from the pickguard so as not to liquifiy and deform it. Remember however, that your goal is to actually  deform the "curl back  to total flat." ..so it can be reinstalled. As you proceed,  flip the guard back and forth over a few times, and re- expose it to more heat..making sure not to actually melt it..you just want to get it hot enough that the plastic curl "relaxes flat on to the table," and the HB pickguard is now returned to a permanent flat state. It is the curl that forces the pickguard off eventually as that curl constantly and slowly,  pulls itself away from the sticky glue.

Step 3.  After the Pickguard is flat again..and you will clearly see this happen with the hair dryer as you watch it,  and also while the pick guard is still hot but not fire hot....place a HEAVY book on top of it for a day....recheck it..if there is still a little curl left, you must hair dryer it again till it lies totally FLAT on a table top of  its own volition.  This includes all the pointed corners..they too must lie flat.

Step 4. I ordered simple pick guard glue backing from Stewmac, and applied the new glue to the now totally flat HB pick guard and re-applied it to my Hummingbird. .....It never lifted again, not even at the pointed corners, and it has been almost 6 years since I reinstalled it this way. The heat will not deform the pic guard or ruin its color or print in any way, and I got mine pretty darn hot from the hair drier..too hot to touch with your finger. It worked for me, I believe this will solve most of these problems people are experiencing with Gibson flubber guards. Ordering a new one guard and same type picguard will not solve the problem, as it will recur.. They sent me another defective curled one exactly like the one that just came off my guitar. It was then that I put 2+2 together considering the curl and pull up. Here is my old 2013 HB with the same pickguard reinstalled with the above precdure, it was done years ago and has lasted without a trace of further pull up.

hb fixed pick guard 2.JPG

hb fixed guard 1.JPG

 

A word of caution on this process. Gibson pickguards have been a number of different materials over the years. On older guitars, they are celluloid (nitrocellulose-based plastic) which is both highly flammable and prone to shrinkage and curling as it ages.

Not sure I would use this process on an older pickguard, and I would want to know exactly what the material is on a new pickguard.

 

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Thank you all for your comments and ideas on how to fix  this!

2 options:

  1. New pickguards
  2. Re-glue existing pickguards

I contacted Gibson directly but they were not willing to support me with this problem. The pickguards seems to be made of some thin soft plastic material and I don't see why I should buy new pickguards if they will fall off again, so i am thinking to go for the M3 repair and fix them myself. Hopefully I get a cheaper and better result that way. Have several acoustics of other brands but these two Gibson's are the only guitars with this shitty quality error.  When you buy a 4K guitar you normally don't expect that the pickguards will fall off within a year.

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This happened to me J-185 too, i was so pissed cuz like you said its an expensive guitar and not even my old $150 dollar Alvarez experienced this, i havent done anything cuz i didnt know how to address it and dont want to ruin the finish on the guitar

 

On 10/25/2019 at 7:44 PM, ALD323 said:

My 2013 Gibson Hummingbird did the same thing within just 6 months. I finally pulled it off all together as it looked horrible. I contacted Fuller for a replacement, they wanted to charge me $150.00 for the new pick guard..I ordered it..and sent it back as it was the exact same defective one as just came off. I decided to experment with the old curled one to solve the problem. Here is what I did:

After the HB flubberguard guard is removed you will notice that it looks "curled". That i to say, it is not completely flat when lying on a table top, and this is what caused it to pull up in the first place, the curl.  When the plastic was made, it dried to fast..it then curled..gibson then installed it anyway and with glue..it held for a while, then the curl eventually over about 6 month to two years, began to pull up. That is why it happens in my opinion. Your milage may vary. Here is the process below which I used to permanently fix it, using the very same pick guard that was on it. So far, the reinstallation has lasted permanently with no pull up ever again at all. It looks like new if the process is done carefully, and will last for years.

Step 1. Remove all the glue on the back side of the HB pickguard with naptha (Lighter fluid)..as well as the top of the guitar.

Step 2. When it the pick guard is clean and dry and glue free,  lie it upon a flat surface or table, and then use a hair dryer to expose the curled pick guard to heavy heat..enough to semi melt the curl back to flat. You will actually see the pick guard begin to lay flat again "before your eyes" as it is exposed to the hair dryer heat. Carefully aim the hair dryer, set on high at the pick guard, moving the dries air all over the guard evenly, and by pulling the dryer closer and away from the pickguard so as not to liquifiy and deform it. Remember however, that your goal is to actually  deform the "curl back  to total flat." ..so it can be reinstalled. As you proceed,  flip the guard back and forth over a few times, and re- expose it to more heat..making sure not to actually melt it..you just want to get it hot enough that the plastic curl "relaxes flat on to the table," and the HB pickguard is now returned to a permanent flat state. It is the curl that forces the pickguard off eventually as that curl constantly and slowly,  pulls itself away from the sticky glue.

Step 3.  After the Pickguard is flat again..and you will clearly see this happen with the hair dryer as you watch it,  and also while the pick guard is still hot but not fire hot....place a HEAVY book on top of it for a day....recheck it..if there is still a little curl left, you must hair dryer it again till it lies totally FLAT on a table top of  its own volition.  This includes all the pointed corners..they too must lie flat.

Step 4. I ordered simple pick guard glue backing from Stewmac, and applied the new glue to the now totally flat HB pick guard and re-applied it to my Hummingbird. .....It never lifted again, not even at the pointed corners, and it has been almost 6 years since I reinstalled it this way. The heat will not deform the pic guard or ruin its color or print in any way, and I got mine pretty darn hot from the hair drier..too hot to touch with your finger. It worked for me, I believe this will solve most of these problems people are experiencing with Gibson flubber guards. Ordering a new one guard and same type picguard will not solve the problem, as it will recur.. They sent me another defective curled one exactly like the one that just came off my guitar. It was then that I put 2+2 together considering the curl and pull up. Here is my old 2013 HB with the same pickguard reinstalled with the above precdure, it was done years ago and has lasted without a trace of further pull up.

hb fixed pick guard 2.JPG

hb fixed guard 1.JPG

 

what Stewmac glue did you use? i came across the 3M pickguard adhesive sheet only

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FemmerParrallell...I used the stewmac ..3M pickguard sheets.  The size I needed was 8x10 inches for the larger Hummingbird pick guard size. ...which I'm not sure they presently have..but they do have the  6x8 size. So make sure the size of the sheet is big enough for your size pickguard. It gives instructions on how to do it and it is not an expensive item. The above process solved my lifting pick guard and the 3M stick sheet is very good.But it was a lot of work and messy, cleaning the residue of the old adhesive with naptha. Get it on and positioned right the first time in applying it, it sticks instantly and permanently. Clean the top off before hand with naptha ( common lighter fluid)..it will not harm your finish be it nitro or poly. Good luck. It does stink that this happens. Mine has held up for years now after fixing it. I had hoped to trade my present Hummingbird up for the new HB standard in red (yes I love the red cherry, mine is brown)..but I decided to not pay $3800 for a new Gibson in which the same thing will likely happen.  My 2015 J-45 did NOT have the flubberguard, and that is why I bought it. Had Gibson put on the flubber guards that year I would not have purchased it. Common sense tells one that you just do not pay between $2500 and $3800 for an iconic guitar with a defective pickguard, so I am done with buying new one. The fix, done carefully, slowly and properly should be a permanent fix for your lifting pick guard. Best of luck!

One other tip here it there is heave adhesive residue for your old guard stuck to the top....stuff the sould hole with an old towel or t shirt...wet the top area where it old adhesive is stuck...wet it with the lighter fluid, keep it wet with a small cotton towel, wetting as needed, and within a few minuts, use an old plastic credit card to gently scrape the wetted top and the glue will come off much faster. Gently but firmly scrape it old goo off with the edge of the plastic card...this work ver well and did not harm or scratch the fine finish on my HB. ...also when the old pick guard came off..it left a shadow, an imprint if the pickguard in the nitro, which likely occured when it was applied and the nitro was new, but this will not be an issue IF you use the exact same sized pick guard as the one that came off...it you choose to install a different shaped, or sized pick guard, this could be an issue, and you may see the imprint of the old one after you replace the new  and different one. The color of the top had not changed on mine (from light etc) as the guitar was under 6 months old and the top have not darkened yet.

***And as j45nick stated correctly above, this heat de-flexing process is meant ONLY for pick guards made of what is often referred to as flubber guards (the softer thicker plastic guards) NOT for other non flubber guard types!

Here is the link   https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_and_Supplies/Pickguard_Materials/3M_Pickguard_Adhesive_Sheet.html

Edited by ALD323
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+1 for the pickguard adhesive sheets from  stewmac. That is what I used back in 2012 when I repositioned the pickguard on my J-45. Still looks great/works great.. The one difference  I see is that the thickness of the  more recent pickguards appears to be significantly greater and perhaps is constructed of a different material than the pickguard on my J-45 (it was built in 2008).

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21 hours ago, ALD323 said:

FemmerParrallell...I used the stewmac ..3M pickguard sheets.  The size I needed was 8x10 inches for the larger Hummingbird pick guard size. ...which I'm not sure they presently have..but they do have the  6x8 size. So make sure the size of the sheet is big enough for your size pickguard. It gives instructions on how to do it and it is not an expensive item. The above process solved my lifting pick guard and the 3M stick sheet is very good.But it was a lot of work and messy, cleaning the residue of the old adhesive with naptha. Get it on and positioned right the first time in applying it, it sticks instantly and permanently. Clean the top off before hand with naptha ( common lighter fluid)..it will not harm your finish be it nitro or poly. Good luck. It does stink that this happens. Mine has held up for years now after fixing it. I had hoped to trade my present Hummingbird up for the new HB standard in red (yes I love the red cherry, mine is brown)..but I decided to not pay $3800 for a new Gibson in which the same thing will likely happen.  My 2015 J-45 did NOT have the flubberguard, and that is why I bought it. Had Gibson put on the flubber guards that year I would not have purchased it. Common sense tells one that you just do not pay between $2500 and $3800 for an iconic guitar with a defective pickguard, so I am done with buying new one. The fix, done carefully, slowly and properly should be a permanent fix for your lifting pick guard. Best of luck!

One other tip here it there is heave adhesive residue for your old guard stuck to the top....stuff the sould hole with an old towel or t shirt...wet the top area where it old adhesive is stuck...wet it with the lighter fluid, keep it wet with a small cotton towel, wetting as needed, and within a few minuts, use an old plastic credit card to gently scrape the wetted top and the glue will come off much faster. Gently but firmly scrape it old goo off with the edge of the plastic card...this work ver well and did not harm or scratch the fine finish on my HB. ...also when the old pick guard came off..it left a shadow, an imprint if the pickguard in the nitro, which likely occured when it was applied and the nitro was new, but this will not be an issue IF you use the exact same sized pick guard as the one that came off...it you choose to install a different shaped, or sized pick guard, this could be an issue, and you may see the imprint of the old one after you replace the new  and different one. The color of the top had not changed on mine (from light etc) as the guitar was under 6 months old and the top have not darkened yet.

***And as j45nick stated correctly above, this heat de-flexing process is meant ONLY for pick guards made of what is often referred to as flubber guards (the softer thicker plastic guards) NOT for other non flubber guard types!

Here is the link   https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_and_Supplies/Pickguard_Materials/3M_Pickguard_Adhesive_Sheet.html

 

 

thank you for the detailed tips, i really appreciate it!

Fortunately there is almost no residue on the guitar finish, only on the pickguard itself, so im glad about that haha. on the other hand im am not sure what type of pickguard this is one is, i will take a picture on the weekend and post it here to see if you guys can help me with that, i dont wanna ruin the pickguard. My guitar is a 2016 so its a newer model, not a vintage one

Also need to take measurements to see if that sheet would fit

 

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Ever hear of a pickguard crack? It occurs when the pickguard is adhered so strongly to the top that when the top expands and contracts due to changes in humidity, the wood grain nearest the guard get pulled apart, resulting in a crack. This mostly occurred when pickguards were applied to the guitar top before finishing took place. Maybe Gibson just thought that the possibility of a little, less than two hour p/g re-glue of the 'guard would be better than the time and inconvenience of a top crack repair job.

 

Save yourself a bit from Stew Mac's pricing- have a look on eBay for "3M 467 MP".  Those are the adhesive sheets. Buy an extra or two. If bubbles/tears form as the backing paper is removed, it will most likely show through. Photo: Rings made of masking tape to put fingers through, as the glue's edges might catch on fingers. Masking tape on perimeter marks critical areas to line up with upon lowering the guard... S-L-O-W-L-Y. One-take Charlie Challenge: how slow can you go at Touchdown? 

TYPu3Ha.jpg?1

 

 

Edited by 62burst
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FemmeParallell, having looked up the 2016 model you own, it would appear you do NOT have a flubber guard, if this is the case, you will need to replace a J-185 pick guard...and you will find one in the below LMI link. they are fully cut and formed..the adhesive is already applied, and are very nice, and you can pick the actual one you want. That just might be your best bet..they are expensive, but quality, and EASY to apply..simply peel off the paper on the under side of the new pickguard..and stick it on, pressing tightly to remove bubbles as you go.

Here is the link, they are a good company, I have ordered many from them, and now just select your specific guard you want, you will recieve the exact selection you make..these are deep tortoise guards and very unique.

https://www.lmii.com/457-pickguards-pre-shaped/s-164/adhesive-self_adhesive/content-tor_tis/select_a_set-the_one_you_see_is_the_one_you_get/size-j_185

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Funny you mention this, I had the exact same thing happen to me with my '07 Bird Modern Classic (which turns 12 years old tomorrow according to the serial number oddly enough 🙂). I played it without a pickguard for a few years but it always just felt a bit bare to me.

I must admit I do agree with the running "flubber" theory being that the thicker plastic material used on these models inhibits the tone somewhat, of course this is subjective. I ended up having a well-regarded luthier near me cutting and installing a pickguard matching the shape of the original. The material is much thinner and it seems to do the trick. So now my bird is a country western or "bird and western" rather :). Nice guitar you got there from the looks of it too btw. 

IMG_1064.jpeg

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I wanted a replacement guard for a J200  because the original was worn out.  Well  turns out only a dealer can see if one can be had as long as the guitar was sold by that dealer. Now the cost for a printed stamped  j200  guard was 250.00      That being said.  When you see these curled up guards shown here.  Why would you want to put another of the same product on. When the first one failed. Btw Ive seen these curled up on new gibsons that were not even sold yet.    

To bad Gibson had to cheap out.  Guitars are selling for more and some of those guitars are failing in quality.   

 

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too bad a company like Gibson cant figure  this seemingly simple crap out,   maybe if they quit changing **** so they can say new and improved they would... still, a gibson is good enough...

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  • 1 month later...

Been there. Mine was curling at the points after about a year. Carefully peeled it off and strummed a G chord. This thing came alive. No way was I going to put it back on.   I'm after tone more than anything. It was like taking a blanket off the body. Notes were so crisp and clear. I fell in love all over again.

j185.JPG

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The pickguard on my 2016 Songwriter Deluxe Studio is lifting. I emailed Gibson CS and the next day got a reply apologizing for the problem and promising to send me a new one. Hoping to have it sometime this week...

16-F1-A6-AA-A835-440-C-9660-A976663-ADDE

Edited by Rev Roy
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Never had an issue with the flubberguard on my Hummingbird.  It’s about 16 years old.  I’m not a hard strummer and the guard likely doesn’t get a lot of “wear & tear.”  I’m almost 100% fingerpicking.  My pick guard on my 2015-16 Southern Jumbo was a little raised at one corner when I got it.  It’s just the typical plastic you see on guitar pick guards.   I put a smear of Gorilla Glue on a razor blade and gently slid it under the edge.  Seems fine since then.  Personally, I like the flubberguard.  It holds the design and lasts a long time.  Just my view.

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  • 1 year later...

This and the newer thread on lifting pickguards is helpful. I just may give it a try on my J-15. As others have commented, it is frustrating that this is such a common problem on Gibson acoustic guitars and owners have to deal with it themselves.

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3 hours ago, iPick said:

This and the newer thread on lifting pickguards is helpful. I just may give it a try on my J-15. As others have commented, it is frustrating that this is such a common problem on Gibson acoustic guitars and owners have to deal with it themselves.

You might want to call Gibson if you are it’s first owner.  It might be covered under warrantee and they can refer you to a local authorized Gibson repairperson who can double side retape it.  
 

The pickguard lifted on my 1965 Gibson LG1 years back and a Gibson authorized repairman ordered the proper double sided tape from Gibson to fix it and I’ve had no problems since.

BTW, I saw someone mentioned using Gorilla glue to reattach it.  Whoa.  When I was 20 I took that route with a different glue on a now vintage Epiphone.    It caused ripples under the guard and when I took the guard off, the pores of the wood were filled from the glue.  That took me about ten years to work on to remove from the top.  I still regret ever putting glue on it.   The reason I took my LG1 to the repairman to properly fix.

 

QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff

Edited by QuestionMark
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