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Barboy07079

Preservation of off-gassing Pickguards?

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I recently replaced the Pick guard on my 1938 Gibson L-12. It was off-gassing so badly that when I changed the strings and left it in the case, the next day the strings felt corroded and unplayable. The tech who replaced the pick guard mentioned that it was still valuable and could be preserved. I’m in LA and he said there was someone at the Getty Center who did this work. I’m looking into it, but I’ve found nothing on the internet about reliable ways to arrest corrosion of celluloid. Any guitar techs have experience with this?

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I have had experience over the years with off-gassing pickguards, on two different vintage archtops (a Gibson, and a D'Angelico).  I have also read quite a bit on the subject, and seen horror stories that were similar to or worse than mine.  It can be very nasty business (see image below).

Saving the original binding is one thing, but when it comes to people trying to salvage the whole guard (especially leaving it in the guitar's case, where it's going to damage metal parts, the guitar's finish, the case lining, etc etc), or suggesting that a deteriorating piece of material that's releasing hazardous gas has "value", I've never understood the concept.  Why would a rotting guard have any value to anyone?  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for trying to maintain the originality of fine old guitars as much as possible, but when an old phenolic pickguard starts to go, it's only going to get worse, and it becomes (unfortunately) a disposable object.  Saving the original binding to create a new guard, sure.  Frets wear out, and of course strings wear out, and pickguards can wear out.  Not everything on a guitar can last forever.

Edited by JimR56

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If the tech thinks the pick guard is valuable, ask him how much he is willing to give you for it.  Never heard of the off-gassing problem being stopped or reversed.

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I've never seen it reversed. It's a chemical reaction. Get it off the guitar before it damages the finish and all the metal parts near it.

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