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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Cracking old 355 Pickguard

    I have one that's currently in 3 pieces and it's super fragile. I'd like to try to save it by gluing it onto a more stable surface (backing it) and stabilizing it.

    Any suggestions?? No, I don't want to buy a $350 one from Mirabella, I want to try to save this one, crazy as it sounds.

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Cracking old 355 Pickguard

    My suggestion would be to get a thin piece of nitrocellulose sheet and super glue and clamp the three pieces to it. Then cut the nitro sheet. This requires patience and skill. Once you have the pieces secured to a backing sheet of plastic fill the cracks with super glue and then you can sand it smooth and spray it with nitro lacquer to seal it. I have a pickguard that I did this to a few years ago and it is still intact.

  3. #3
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    Re: Cracking old 355 Pickguard

    Where would one obtain a nitrocellulose sheet?

    Super glue is best for this application?

    Thanks.....

  4. #4
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    Re: Cracking old 355 Pickguard

    Quote Originally Posted by Litcrit View Post
    Where would one obtain a nitrocellulose sheet?

    Super glue is best for this application?

    Thanks.....
    Try Luthier's Mercantile or maybe Stewart Macdonald.......and yes super glue would be the glue of choice for doing this. There was an article in guiatr player mag by dan erlewine about 15 years ago give or take 5 about saving the tuner buttons on vintage gibsons that were suffering from plastic rot. That article describes basically the same process in detail. I've used this technique for pickguards and binding on guiatrs where the binding had started to rot but the owner did not want to replace it. You basically pickle the plastic with super glue. This works on Nitrocellulose plastic. The jury is still out on how long this repair will last.

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Cracking old 355 Pickguard

    i would NOT do this.
    those celluloid pickguards break down into acid and camphor. and you want to put this back on your guitar? that's crazy. i have seen them ruin the finish on many guitars. either go with no pickguard or save the outside binding around the original guard and recut a new center. then superglue (lightly!) the new center to the original binding. or just buy a complete new pickguard.

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member sliding-tom's Avatar
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    Re: Cracking old 355 Pickguard

    Quote Originally Posted by cfh View Post
    i would NOT do this.
    those celluloid pickguards break down into acid and camphor. and you want to put this back on your guitar? that's crazy. i have seen them ruin the finish on many guitars. either go with no pickguard or save the outside binding around the original guard and recut a new center. then superglue (lightly!) the new center to the original binding. or just buy a complete new pickguard.
    Yes, there was an article by Dan Erlewine in GP magazine adressing exactly this problem and its solution - cutting a new pickguard with the old binding glued to it. There's also been at least one thread about this type of pickguard here.
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  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member 58burst's Avatar
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    Re: Cracking old 355 Pickguard

    Not the exact same situation, but I rescued the cracking cream plastic jackplate on my burst by epoxying it to a backing-plate I cut out of a thin shim brass sheet, worked a trick, and you can't see it-

  8. #8
    All Access/Backstage Pass lpnv59's Avatar
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    Re: Cracking old 355 Pickguard

    Quote Originally Posted by cfh View Post
    i would NOT do this.
    those celluloid pickguards break down into acid and camphor. and you want to put this back on your guitar? that's crazy. i have seen them ruin the finish on many guitars. either go with no pickguard or save the outside binding around the original guard and recut a new center. then superglue (lightly!) the new center to the original binding. or just buy a complete new pickguard.
    .


    While it sits in the case, the guitar gets encased in a gas from the decomposed plastic as Clay already explained. The is gas is very distructive. I'm surprised Cris Mirabella didn't explain this to you when he quoted you $350for the new one. If he did, it wasn't just sales pitch BS. Run it without a guard if you don't want to spend the money on a new one. Or start hunting down for another original guard thru the various parts dealers etc. But I wouldn't put a decomposed guard on a guitar.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Cracking old 355 Pickguard

    Guys: I appreciate your good advice, but you guys are 'reading in" WAY more than I'm asking. I simply asking about HOW to TRY to RESTORE this guard. I didn't say anything about putting it back on any guitar...

    I'm not going to let it sit in any closed case and "take a crap" on a nice guitar. (BTW: The key to keeping these guards is to let them breathe and "gas off" in the air). I also didn't say Mirabella quoted me a price or what kind of material he uses for his pickguards. In fact, I've never spoken a word to him. I just know from friends that he can make a repro guard (I don't know what material he uses) and that it costs about $350...
    Last edited by Litcrit; 01-28-07 at 04:29 PM.

  10. #10

    Re: Cracking old 355 Pickguard

    litcrit,

    Once the celluliod starts to break down there's really no stopping it. I have use acetone to reglue cracking areas,fast glues, sprayed clear over the guards, even sealing them in epoxy. Some of these will slow the gas and it's effects down, but none will stop it. There's just no way to save the original tortoise material.

    Also a reproduction for a ES 355 is $200.00 no including brackets

    Best Wishes,
    Cris Mirabella

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Cracking old 355 Pickguard

    Thanks for the info and clarification(s) Chris, I've only heard great reviews of your work. I'm not sure where I got the $350 figure, but yes, $200 sounds a lot better for a cheap bastard like me...I'll probably come to my senses at some point and give you a call.

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