1915 Gibson A pickguard issue

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Chris Vallillo
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:52 pm
Location: Illinois

1915 Gibson A pickguard issue

Post by Chris Vallillo »

I recently bought a very nice 1915 Gibson A mandolin with several face cracks, but otherwise in very good condition with the original pickguard and tailpiece cover in excellent condition. The face cracks shouldn't be too hard to fix, but in order to work on them, I need to remove the pickguard. It comes off of the side clamp easily enough, but the 2 metal pins that hold it into the fingerboard are not loose and have not responded to gentle pressure.
IMG_4044.JPG
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I bought this primarily because it was all there and don't want to take a chance on damaging the pick guard. Does anyone have any thoughts on how best to do that? I'm considering a lubricant like a lemon oil but thought I'd check in with the forum first.

Thanks!

John Scime
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:04 pm
Location: Mississippi Mills, Ontario

Re: 1915 Gibson A pickguard issue

Post by John Scime »

I have a 1916 Gibson A that is almost identical to this. You have a nie instrument, and it is cool that all of the various pieces are still there.

There is no easy way to remove the pickguard. The brads that hold it in place are often rusty and stubborn. You have to very gently and patiently pry it apart from the fretboard extention. I think I used a nylon pick to get it started, and should have protected both the edge of the guard and the FB extention thereafter. You need to be patient - slow and steady is the game. At some point I got impatient and managed to leave some marks in the guard from the prying action. Not really noticeable, but I know they are there.

Good luck.

Chris Vallillo
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:52 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: 1915 Gibson A pickguard issue

Post by Chris Vallillo »

Thanks John. I also posted on Mandolin Cafe and got some good advice along those lines as well. I'm going to apply a bit of thin lemon oil to attempt to lubricate it, then gentle heat before trying to edge it out as you describe. I'll let you know how it goes.

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Barry Daniels
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Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:58 am
Location: The Woodlands, Texas

Re: 1915 Gibson A pickguard issue

Post by Barry Daniels »

Rather than lemon oil, I would apply a drop or two of water and let it seep into the hole in the side of the fretboard and then apply some pinpoint heat on top of the fretboard directly over the pin using a soldering iron. You can protect the fretboard surface from scratching or marks from the solder iron by having a very small square piece of thin sheet metal laying between the adjacent frets. Just be careful not to touch the iron to any of the plastic parts.

The glue holding the pin should be softened up in 5 minutes of low to moderate heat from the iron. If you don't have an adjustable iron, then apply a full heat iron for a few seconds at a time between cooling off intervals, to prevent burning the wood.
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Chris Vallillo
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:52 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: 1915 Gibson A pickguard issue

Post by Chris Vallillo »

Success! After another slow heating with the soldering iron on the frets, I was able to get the pickguard to come lose. A slow process to be sure, but gentle use of the wedges, heat and an antique putty knife made things go quite well. As suggested, the nails were bent and rusty and it did "pop" off at the end. Thanks for the heads up on that.


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I was surprised at just how much the nails were bent. I wonder if the bend wasn't related to installation. If the Pickguard was initially installed at the angle the nails go in, that 30 degrees folks talked about, it would give you access to drive the nails in and then the pick guard would be pushed down into place bending the nails like we see.


Onward to the next issue... face cracks!
Attachments
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John Scime
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:04 pm
Location: Mississippi Mills, Ontario

Re: 1915 Gibson A pickguard issue

Post by John Scime »

Good to hear you got it off.

If you ever have the notion to measure or trace the half-circle portion, I could put it to use, as I am thinking of building a replacement for mine. My guard arm is broken just before the half-moon and half-moon and cam clamp are missing. I removed the guard years ago because the broken arm was marking the top, and it rattled. I intend to built a complete replacement using a violin chin rest clamp.

Cheers. JS

Chris Vallillo
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:52 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: 1915 Gibson A pickguard issue

Post by Chris Vallillo »

Hi John,

I'm not sure exactly how to measure the 1/2 moon section (not exactly sure where it starts and ends!), but I'd be glad to trace the entire pick guard while it's off and accessible if that would help. Let me know.

John Scime
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:04 pm
Location: Mississippi Mills, Ontario

Re: 1915 Gibson A pickguard issue

Post by John Scime »

Length and height would be good enough, as I won't be trying to replicate it, strictly speaking.

If you need a template for a one-piece bridge, let me know. I use the one piece in the winter and tend to switch to an adjustable in the warmer months.

JS

Chris Vallillo
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:52 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: 1915 Gibson A pickguard issue

Post by Chris Vallillo »

Hi John, Let me take a look at it tomorrow and get some measurements. And yes, I'd be interested in a template for the bridge. Thanks!

Chris Vallillo
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:52 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: 1915 Gibson A pickguard issue

Post by Chris Vallillo »

Hi John,

I've traced the outline of the Gibson A Pickguard onto 1/4" graph paper which is probably a much more accurate way to give you dimensions. I'll attach it here as a J-peg. You can download the PDF of this at this google drive link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=19DjwF ... qrunsZNSo2
Pickguard measurement.jpeg
Please note that I place this upside down on the paper to make the tracing and used a mechanical pencil with the lead extended so it should be a fairly accurate tracing. Regardless of how you print this out, the squares are 1/4 " so you should be able to get a very accurate feel for the size.

Hope that helps!

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