'50's Single Ply Strat Pickguards- what do they look like ?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by electricfactory, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. electricfactory

    electricfactory Supporting Member

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    With all of the 'mint green' Strat pickguards around it occurred to me that I've never seen what would be considered a similarly aged 50's single ply 50's Strat pickguard. In fact all of the vintage[ and relic-d] 50's pickguards I've ever seen look relatively new, in any case not aged liked 'mint green' guards do. The only reproduction relic 50's pickguards I've seen are sort of cream colored- I've never seen an original which was similarly discolored.
    Was there something about the [Bakelite] 50's single ply pg that didn't age in the same ways as the 60's 3-ply 'mint green' guards did ?
    Can anyone post a picture of a vintage [ or relic-d ] Strat sporting a single ply 50's guard which has an worn/ aged appearance ?
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2008
  2. MrNick

    MrNick Member

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    From what I have read the pickguards didn't really change color like the rest of the plastic did.
     
  3. eric-d

    eric-d Member

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    here's a "lightly" reliced one

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Vintage-tone

    Vintage-tone Gold Supporting Member

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    It s a common mistake but they are not, never been, Bakelite...
    Only the knobs, switch tip and pup covers were ever made out of bakelite up to late 55.
    White guards were introduced in mid 54 and are made of some ABS / Vinyl plastic that is born white and stays pretty white, even when exposed to smoke and dirt, UV, rust and sweat.
    Green guards were born green and are made of Nitrate, that is porous and unstable, it shrinks, cracks and stains a lot easier. it s not a very flexible material and ages very poorly.

    Never seen a parchment or so white guard that looks right either ! Only ones that look correct to me are the handmade ones or aged ones used by smaller builders. Fender doesn t really give a F .....
    on the bright side their white guards loook better than their green guards but that s not really too difficult to achieve :worried
     
  5. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Fender CS uses nitrate green guards which only on the relic strats. All the regular Fender production and their accessories get the glow in the dark green ones.

    I found out when I special ordered a strat and it came with an unaged guard that looked like the same as you see on all their models. I sent it back because it was a relic and should've had an aged guard. Talked with the manager. He said it wouldn't take the fade/age process and they found out they used a non CS guard. He got me a nitrate guard right away.
     
  6. electricfactory

    electricfactory Supporting Member

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    Please post pics if you can, I'd love to see 50's single ply guards that have the right look in estimation. And I didn't know that green guards were born green, nor that the material was porous.

    In my experience no matter HOW worn the vintage '50's Stratocaster was the pick guards always looked brand spanking new - no discoloration, no staining, nothin' !
    Perhaps there's a picture out there somewhere of a single ply guard which could be described as ' heavily worn' ?

    Post pics of those early '50's Strats please !
     
  7. eric-d

    eric-d Member

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  8. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    that thing is sick!
     
  9. Vintage-tone

    Vintage-tone Gold Supporting Member

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    That looks like a 58 and see most of the yellowed out area on the guard could probly be cleaned up. Course no one would do that nowadays ...
    Also note how on most played 50's strat how the pups covers age a lot faster than the guard itself. Many have yellowed out pup covers and beaten up bodies and the guard still stays white...
    Bakelite parts wear out very quick, shrink, and brake very easy, that s why most 54 and 55 strats have replaced knobs and pups covers, even near mint ones.

    54 with worn out bakelite pups cover

    [​IMG]

    Another 58 with yellow pups cover and white guard despite heavy playwear

    [​IMG]
     
  10. electricfactory

    electricfactory Supporting Member

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    Very interesting. This pic is the first I've seen of a single ply pickguard which has clearly discolored, in fact showing a very apparent yellowish or cream tone.

    It makes me re-think some of the 'cream-ish' reproduction guards out there as not being as wrong looking as first thought.
     
  11. Vintage-tone

    Vintage-tone Gold Supporting Member

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    A lot of it is coming from the pix also, sort of in the shadow.
    if you look at the second pic you d notice that it s not as dark .
     

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