Pickguard repair & rebind projects

Unfortunately for us vintage archtop fans, the original celluloid pickguard material as used by many manufacturers over time will deteriorate ("gas out"). Especially when a guitar was kept in its case for a prolonged period of time, this process will likely damage the guitar's finish and corrode the pickups and hardware. Whenever you see a pickguard with signs of crumbling, immediately remove to avoid damage. The process for gassing out cannot be reversed, still, sometimes the original bindings can be re-used to make a new guard, which to me seems the most conservative way to deal with this issue.

Some examples:

Deteriorated Gibson L-12P guard, and mounting the original bindings on a new guard below

New pickguard , re-using the original bindings , on jazz guitarist extraordinnaire Ratko Zjaca's 1962 L-5CES

Refitting the original bindings of a decayed mid-60s Gibson Howard Roberts onto a new tigerstriped guard

Completely deteriorated Gibson L5c pickguard, before & after - the original reinforcing bar and bindings were re-used on the new guard

Levin Solist ; top shows original guard which was outgassing leading to corrosion of hardware and strings. The guard was broken near the tone pot and had a huge cut-out for the floating Kjell pickup. Underneath a new dark tortoise replica guard installed.

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