New Binding on 1959 Guild...

DavesPlanet

Member
Messages
59
I picked this up in San Francisco around 2001 for $800 (see photos, below). The sticker inside the guitar says "FACTORY SECOND," probably because of some cosmetic blemish when it was new. It was, and still is, all scratched up. Still, it's got a great neck, and with it's laminate top and single coil pickup, it sounds great with flat wounds for mellow jazz ballads, etc. It's one of my favorite guitars, and the oldest in my collection. (I currently have seven others that are also nice; and all are different.)

Recently, I noticed a fret was low (buzzing), then I noticed the binding around the cutaway on the top had shrunk to the extent that it had pulled out from the body about a quarter inch. I realized it needed to visit a guitar tech to straighten these things out.

I've lived in Bangkok, Thailand for about 11 years now. Recently a guitar repairman/luthier was recommended to me, so I brought the Guild to him. He said he could try to heat up the shrunken binding and push it back in, but that it looked like it was on the edge of being unsavable. Then we noticed that a lot of the binding on other parts of the guitar had also shrunk and cracked in places. So, it really looked like it all need to be replaced.

He said he didn't have access to the same kind of (plastic), binding in Thailand, but that he'd actually done the same job on a friend's Guild, using maple binding, instead. He also claimed that, if the binding were replaced with plastic again, in Thailand's hot climate, that it would just shrink again. The wood binding wouldn't have that problem.

So, I thought, 'What the hell, why not go ahead and let him put maple binding on it?' (He showed me a picture of how my friend's Guild turned out, and it looked fine.)

But, after I got home I thought, if plastic binding shrinks in this climate, why is the binding on my Gibsons (a '72 Super 400 and '75 Howard Roberts), Martin and Taylor still fine? So, now I'm thinking I'd really rather replace the binding with something that as close as possible to the original. Methinks some modern binding would not shrink like the stuff on the Guild did.

Therefore, I now have a couple questions:

1) Do you know where I could get good quality plastic binding that would be very similar, if not indistinguishable, from that in the pictures below? (Front is white with black stripe; back is white only. Also need to replace the plastic 'heel plate' on the back of the neck, as it has curled up.) I could probably have a friend bring the binding over with him when he comes to Thailand next month. then I could ask my luthier here to put it on.

Or:

2) Would I be perhaps smarter to bring the guitar back to the US on my next trip (within 1-2 years), to have a US luthier do the work? (It would almost certainly be cheaper to have it done here, and this guy does quality work.)

BTW, I'm also going to go ahead and have the whole thing refinished (close as possible to original appearance), refretted (with slightly larger frets), and at least 4 of the 6 neck markers replaced with mother of pearl. The front of the headstock will also be refinished, and the potentiometers refurbished, if possible. I realize much of this will render the guitar no longer "original," but I'm only concerned that it stays functional while staying as close to original as possible. (I have no intention of ever selling it.)

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DavesPlanet

Member
Messages
59
These photos are from 2012, when some collector asked me to take pictures of it outside (he collects info on Guilds--didn't want to buy it). Maybe it was my last trip to the US...I put it in its case, then under a window, where it probably got pretty warm and maybe that's why it took a turn for the worse in the last year or so. The binding in top part of cutaway has pulled completely away and is barely hanging on. So, something for sure needs to be done there. I guess the only other thing that HAS to be done is the low fret. But we saw that many other frets are showing real wear. So, maybe I should just see if he can heat stretch the one piece of binding back into place. Then maybe do the neck markers (6 of which are original and have shrunk), and a re-fret?
 

KGWagner

Member
Messages
3,243
Because of its age, there's a good chance the original binding is celluloid, which would also explain why it's deteriorating the way it is. I'm not sure when guitar builders switched over to ABS plastic binding, but that's pretty much what all plastic binding is made of now. I'm not sure you could even buy a celluloid replacement for what's on there. In any event, if you have it replaced with ABS binding, you probably wouldn't have the environmental worries you have now as it's a pretty durable material. If you aren't concerned about retaining collector value, that's probably the way to go.
 

swiveltung

Member
Messages
14,483
Keeping it in the case is often detrimental on the binding and other pieces. Old Guilds and Gretches suffer badly from that. It's the outgassing and being closed up that make it go bad. Beautiful guitar, too bad. I would just google replacing binding.
 

swiveltung

Member
Messages
14,483
I would think after 58 years that it has outgassed about as much as it's ever going to.
Yes, you would think so, but it was ok in 2012.... maybe just the humidity in Thailand? I don't think humidity should be a problem for Celluloid though...? Heat?
 




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