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Thread: Amber plastics

  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Amber plastics

    I’m curious about the amber switch tip and amber knobs origin, if someone can clarify this to me. Are they amber as the aging process took over them in vintage guitars or they were released in amber color?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Amber plastics

    The switch tips turned amber [from ivory or cream].

    The knobs started out gold, and some darkened to an amber tint.
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  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Amber plastics

    Great! Thanks for the info!

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Amber plastics

    They are different types of plastics, and probably age differently.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

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  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Amber plastics

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    The switch tips turned amber [from ivory or cream].

    The knobs started out gold, and some darkened to an amber tint.
    Somebody told me this over 25 years ago and I could not believe it ,but if you are saying it esp. about the switch tip then I believe it. How long would it take for the switch tip to turn ?

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Amber plastics

    Quote Originally Posted by El Gringo View Post
    How long would it take for the switch tip to turn ?
    No idea what makes it turn, so how fast it happens is unknown to me.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
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  7. #7

    Re: Amber plastics

    It is my understanding that the switch tips (Switchcraft) were made of Catalin, a plastic created in the 1920’s that was made in various colors. It was used for jewelry, drawer handles and Majong tiles. The dark yellow that Switchcraft chose is the original color.
    Last edited by edselman; 06-15-18 at 11:23 PM.

  8. #8

    Re: Amber plastics

    Catalin is now commonly referred to a Bakelite by collectors. It isn't though. Bakelite is dark brown or nearly black. Look at 1950's telephones. Catalin handles, bracelets and earrings are very collectable. Items made of the material are warm to the touch and give off an ether smell when vigorously rubbed. Also, when vigerously rubbing the item with a white cloth some of the color is transfered to the cloth. This would be a way to tell if an old switch tip is genuine or not.

    As to the question regarding the switch tips changing to amber over time, it can be clearly seen that this did not happen. There was an abrupt change in 1961 when Gibson started using switches with white or cream colored tips. These were possibly Lucite which overtook Catalin in popularity, styrene or nylon.
    Last edited by edselman; 06-16-18 at 08:31 AM.

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