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'66J Pickguard Shrinkage?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Thumper, Dec 16, 2005.


  1. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    Every couple of years I put the pickguard back on my '66J just for a change of pace. It's been a few years and I remember it was a little tight around the neck PUP when I took it off last time. Well it's really tight now! Does anyone have a tip for getting it back on without altereration (it's near perfect)? I didn't realize they would shrink after 40 years :meh:

    I know this might be a candidate for the Luthier's corner, but they can be slow to respond over there, and I'm St. Louis bound on Sunday. I'd like it back on before then.
     
  2. FireBug

    FireBug

    Sep 18, 2005
    Houston
    Are you sure it just doesn't need cleaning?
     
  3. Juniorkimbrough

    Juniorkimbrough

    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    where did you store the pickguard while it wasn't on the bass?
     
  4. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    Yup. Its a tough place to be. If you leave it off, you feel like you're being unfair to a nice vintage piece...keeping it un-original. But if you leave it on, it will keep shrinking, and it will BREAK. You're better off keeping it safe and in one piece and using a good replica.
     
  5. drd07

    drd07

    Jan 19, 2003
    Celluloid (the material which early fender pickguards were made of) shrinks over time. If you keep it on, it will shrink and possibly break, but it will fit your bass. Keep it off, and you run the possiblity of it shrinking and not fitting on your bass later on.
     
  6. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Ouch, having it shrink and break is tough, but taking it off and keeping it safe is better than having it crack, imo.
     
  7. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    Thanks guys, I never really thought about it, but it does make sense. It may have broken had I left it on all these years. I guess I'll have to lightly file it, or leave it off. It sure looks nice though, tort on a black bass.

    It's been stored in a box, wrapped in the heavy plastic sleeve my aftermarket P guard came in.

    Are the new ones a different material? I've got a new 5 string Jazz inbound (non-Fender) made by the unofficial Talkbass guru, it'll be interesting to see how close that tort is :bag:
     
  8. drd nailed it--technical types call it "outgassing," i.e. volatile compounds escaping the celluloid cause the guard to shrink and, if left on, get very tight around the neck pickup. Perfectly normal, and suitable replacements are available everywhere. Call your Fender dealer.
     
  9. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    A little heat should make it fit back on without breaking. heat makes it more flexible, but could result in a permanent change (but it should fit).

    This should work fine, but "buyer beware" taking my advice on a vintage piece.
     
  10. jacochops

    jacochops

    Jul 2, 2000
    Suzhou, China
    Yes, heat might help. If I were you, I'd have the best luthier in your area do this work. If you try to hurry or "Mickey Mouse" it, you could ruin a 400$ vintage guard. It's just a dumb piece of plastic, but vintage guys will pay out the wazoo for an original 60s guard. Check Ebay, then check your shorts!
    To keep it from shrinking further while it's off of your 66, simply screw the pickguard down (with ALL of the holes having a screw in it, else it will shrink where it's not screwed down) to a piece of marine-grade plywood. It will help keep its shape.
     
  11. RHFusillo

    RHFusillo Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Phoenix, AZ
    Was this formerly owned by George Costanza?
     
  12. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    I decided light filing with jeweler's files is the way to go. I got the pickguard on last night, and have decided to lightly file away material anywhere it touches the neck, PUPs or even screws. If I do this at least once a year, I should never run into a breakage problem, right?

    Anxiously awaiting FEDEX! :hyper:
     
  13. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    That may alter the vintage price there, so I would be very careful about doing that too early.
     
  14. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    The other problem with this is that eventually the screw holes won't line up properly...as they shrink inward.