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Gibson J-35 Pickguard Question


wsmando
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Hi! 

I just bought a 2015 J-35 (pics attached) from a friend of mine, and I really love it so far. I restrung it with Ernie Ball aluminum bronze lights, and it really sings.

The previous owner had replaced the stock fire stripe pick guard with a similarly-shaped dark tortoise shell guard. It's a nice pick guard, but it doesn't quite fit right—the round part at the bottom end doesn't look like it quite reaches where the old one did, so there's a small light crescent-shaped area below it, and the radius is a little too small so the point encroach on the rosette. Because of that, I have a few questions:

1) In your opinion, does it look good enough that I should just leave it be? (see picture attached)

2) I'm thinking about replacing it with a redder J-50-style batwing guard, if I could find one. I saw in a thread somewhere that someone had replaced their j-35 guard with one of those, and it looked great.

3) If I were to replace it, where would I find such a pick guard for a reasonable amount of money? I checked out Fox Guitars and they had the shape I'm looking for, but it was over $100 and a) I'm not looking to spend nearly that much, and b) I don't really feel the need for it to be real cellulose, which theirs appear to be and which seems to be the reason for the cost.

What are your thoughts?

IMG_0747.jpeg

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Opinion, I hate the batwing, considering it one of Gibson's dumb ideas, along with decorative guards, weird bridges, and ladder bracing. I feel loading up the top with an oversized piece of plastic subdues tone, yet on a big workhorse like that it wouldn't matter.

My move would be to get hold of Taylor at Holter Pickguards and have him make the correct size/shape guard, but avoid the modern cheezy looking firestripe. I like the color of your ill-fitting tort guard. Too bad it's off kilter.
 

Spend the bucks if you can. You'll be looking at it forever. Taylor's run $50-70, but they're elegant and beveled.

Edited by jedzep
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3 minutes ago, RBSinTo said:

Sorry to be evasive, but the answer to your question, is what do YOU think?

Me, I'd leave it alone, but it's your guitar, so do what you are comfortable with.

RBSinTo

No worries-- I'm 50/50 on it, so I'm just looking for some input to see what other people like. I like the look/material of the one that's on there, and if it fit correctly I'd just leave it, but since it doesn't I'd like to consider changing it out.

Obviously what I like comes first, but given that I'm undecided I'd like to see what people other than myself think-- I'll be performing with it a good bit, and as inconsequential as looks are relative to sound and how good my songs are, I also want the audience to like what they see and to put forth a good, interesting image.

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15 minutes ago, jedzep said:

Opinion, I hate the batwing, considering it one of Gibson's dumb ideas, along with decorative guards, weird bridges, and ladder bracing. I feel loading up the top with an oversized piece of plastic subdues tone, yet on a big workhorse like that it wouldn't matter.

My move would be to get hold of Taylor at Holter Pickguards and have him make the correct size/shape guard, but avoid the modern cheezy looking firestripe. I like the color of your ill-fitting tort guard. Too bad it's off kilter.
 

Spend the bucks if you can. You'll be looking at it forever. Taylor's run $50-70, but they're elegant and beveled.

I've been thinking about the tone aspect of the larger pick guard, too. How much of an effect do you think it would have?

I'll check out Holter-- thanks for the suggestion!

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7 minutes ago, jt said:

No batwing, please! That pickguard never appeared on a J-35.

As for the guitar's current pickguard, yeah, it's the wrong shape. Please search for a proper J-35 pickguard.

Yours in pathetic dedication to Gibson traditional visual aesthetic.

I completely understand valuing traditional looks/consistency, but I'm not super concerned with it in this case--I probably would be if I had a J45 standard or a vintage Gibson or something like that that I might be looking to resell down the road, but to me this guitar in particular is a tool for making music and also one that I want to look cool. If it had the original pick guard, I probably wouldn't replace it, but since the one that's on it doesn't fit, I probably will.

Also, regarding staying faithful to the original 35s, since the headstock logos on these new ones never appeared on those originals... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . The damage in that regard has been done, in my opinion, and I might as well make it look cool.

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Me too, John, as soon as my new one arrived. I'd suggest you don't do it yourself, WSman, if you haven't been there/done that.

This vintage sample from Reverb is pretty much the only original, non-cheezy looking one out there.

https://reverb.com/item/25832027-gibson-j-35-sunburst-1941


Here's the one I had made for my '36 L00...
QChSqGv.jpg

Edited by jedzep
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1 minute ago, jedzep said:

Me too, John, as soon as my new one arrived. I'd suggest you don't do it yourself, WSman, if you haven't been there/done that.

This vintage sample from Reverb is pretty much the only original, non-cheezy looking one out there.

https://reverb.com/item/25832027-gibson-j-35-sunburst-1941

Yeah I'd get a luthier in town to do it for sure

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As to impact on sound we removed a second pickguard which had been installed on our old J200.  No difference any of us could hear.  Then again maybe if we had dog hearing.   

My '42 J50 has a slightly oversized scratchplate.  It was done to cover a bit of damage  to the top occasioned when some member of the brain trust in the past had removed the original.  Also coincidentally tomorrow I will be making a run to the repair guy to have among other things a new pickguard made for my L3.  I have the original but alas it has a tendency to turn metal parts green.  

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1 hour ago, jedzep said:

Me too, John, as soon as my new one arrived. I'd suggest you don't do it yourself, WSman, if you haven't been there/done that.

This vintage sample from Reverb is pretty much the only original, non-cheezy looking one out there.

https://reverb.com/item/25832027-gibson-j-35-sunburst-1941


Here's the one I had made for my '36 L00...
QChSqGv.jpg

I am also not a fan of what passes for firestripe these days.  That one on your L00 though is one of the better ones I have seen.

 

 

Edited by zombywoof
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11 hours ago, wsmando said:

No worries-- I'm 50/50 on it, so I'm just looking for some input to see what other people like. I like the look/material of the one that's on there, and if it fit correctly I'd just leave it, but since it doesn't I'd like to consider changing it out.

Obviously what I like comes first, but given that I'm undecided I'd like to see what people other than myself think-- I'll be performing with it a good bit, and as inconsequential as looks are relative to sound and how good my songs are, I also want the audience to like what they see and to put forth a good, interesting image.

Anyone who attends a performance and is displeased because of the performer's  guitar pickguard will never be satisfied  by the music anyway. 

RBSinTo

 

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18 hours ago, wsmando said:

I completely understand valuing traditional looks/consistency, but I'm not super concerned with it in this case--I probably would be if I had a J45 standard or a vintage Gibson or something like that that I might be looking to resell down the road, but to me this guitar in particular is a tool for making music and also one that I want to look cool. If it had the original pick guard, I probably wouldn't replace it, but since the one that's on it doesn't fit, I probably will.

Also, regarding staying faithful to the original 35s, since the headstock logos on these new ones never appeared on those originals... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . The damage in that regard has been done, in my opinion, and I might as well make it look cool.

Makes sense!

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3 minutes ago, Buc McMaster said:

Terrapin Guitars.  I think the Gibson AJ Style 2 is the right shape........$34 in tiger stripe.

http://www.terrapinguitars.com/index2_php.php?content=acousticContent#acoustic

 

what's nice about their site is you can print the shape, adjust the scale factor and get it to full scale then cut it out and lay it on the guitar.

I use their layouts to cut my shapes.

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