P-Bass pickguard, b/w/b, tort or red tort?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Petethebassman, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. Petethebassman


    Mar 7, 2008
    Hi all, I want to ask your opinion / insights on replacement pickguards. Last week I bought this 1975 Precision:


    It's a great bass, but like on so many vintage P-basses, the original pickguard is broken in several places (by the output jack, both sides of neck pocket), with many hairline cracks. It is holding together for now, but I have to replace it pretty soon.

    Option 1: install an exact replacement black/white/black pg to keep the stock 1975 look.

    Option 2: install a vintage-style celluloid tortoiseshell pg, WD Music makes one with proper hole placement for 70's P-basses. I've read that celluloid pickguards can warp or shrink, your thoughts or experiences on this?

    Option 3: install a vintage-style red tort pickguard from WD Music.

    I'm at the moment in favor of #3, as I've done many google image searches on 1970's Fender basses and it seems that many tort pickguards from that era have much red color in them. If I do choose a tort pickguard for my bass, I want it to look as authentic and period correct as possible.
  2. My first bass was a '75 P bass in natural just like that, except mine came with a white pickguard. I had several pickguards that I used on the bass because the original cracked over the years. I'd just replace it with one that matches up. I don't think you'd need to go the celluloid route. They can shrink, but it's usually not for a long while.
  3. JavierFarias


    Feb 9, 2011
    I'd go with a black one, It's just my personal preference. nice bass, btw.
  4. FenderAmpeg


    Feb 21, 2009
    So Cal
    I have a 73 ash/maple, came with a black replacement (90's) p/g. Honestly before I got a 3TSB/RW with an original tort guard I never would have answered that. But for the heck of it I got the old style full size thin metal shield and a four ply tort, now I have to say go tort, love the look of mine.
  5. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again??

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    Red tort definitely.
  6. John D

    John D Guest

    Dec 27, 2009
    Another vote for Option 2.
  7. danielfnj96

    danielfnj96 Guest

    Jan 29, 2012
    NJ, USA
    bwb it would look too vintage otherwise, it would be sickening
  8. Sleeq


    Feb 13, 2008
    Tort would only look good if it was a rosewood 'board. Red tort looks cheap.

    Stick with black.
  9. Korladis

    Korladis Inactive

  10. Petethebassman


    Mar 7, 2008
    Thanks to all for your comments, I really appreciate it. Now I've done some more research into tort pickguards - and found, among other things, a 31-page (!) thread on tort pickguards: OffsetGuitars.com • View topic - Who makes/sells the best early 60's celluloid Fender-style '

    It was a very informative read, I learned that WD has now introduced a 4-ply tort pickguard material with all layers made of celluloid; it looks really nice with a more authentic vintage look than any others I've seen. It doesn't show on the WD website yet, you have to special order it from their sales dept. (The tort pg shown on the website is the older version 4-ply with only the top layer made of celluloid, the other layers are PVC.) So, I'm going to email WD to get a price quote for an all-celluloid tort pg.
  11. Road Bull

    Road Bull

    Jul 24, 2011
    Seattle, WA.
    Black on natural looks great. I would keep it that way.
  12. Mirrored
  13. Petethebassman


    Mar 7, 2008
    A matter of taste. I think this looks really good:


    Tort with maple neck and mostly natural body, in fact it looks a bit like it could be what's left of a 70's walnut finish (aka mocha brown or root beer) after decades of use.
  14. georgestrings

    georgestrings Inactive

    Nov 5, 2005
    1st of all, let me congratulate you on your new bass - she's a beauty!!! I have a '76 that I'm never getting rid of...

    2nd - I would not recommend WD Music - IME, their products are over-priced, and not of very good quality... Here's a Jazz PG of theirs I had to return:


    Here's how the original fit:


    Here's a black pearl PG of theirs:


    They charged me $10 more than their advertised price, and I had to spend several hours filing it to make it fit around the neck pocket and pups... not hardly worth the $70 plus shipping...

    I would recommend Pickguard Heaven or actual Fender pickguards - I have also heard good things about Terrapin and Pickguardian, but don't have any direct experience with them...

    - georgestrings
  15. georgestrings

    georgestrings Inactive

    Nov 5, 2005
    Here's another suggestion - I have a Fender parchment PG on my '76, and it looks pretty good, like it's somewhat period correct, yet different than plain old black... Parchment is sort of an aged white - for reference, it's the color of the PGs on the current American Standard P Basses...

    Anyways, here's my '76 with parchment, and white pup covers:


    Here it is with black:

  16. Aie. That's my favourite non-fancy-topped look. I love that a lot. So obviously, I'd say to the OP to go black.
  17. georgestrings

    georgestrings Inactive

    Nov 5, 2005

    Yeah, I'll probably switch it back to that sooner or later - although I also dig the tort/maple/natural look the OP was suggesting in the 1st place, and will probably grab one of those, sooner or later... I'll probably go with one of these:

    Fender Pickguard '62 Precision (P) Bass, Tortoise

    ...atleast that way, I know it'll fit properly, and I won't be paying a rediculous amount of money for it...

    - georgestrings
  18. Petethebassman


    Mar 7, 2008
    Thank you, I'm very happy with this bass! She's been used hard by previous owners, there are plenty of dings and scratches on the neck, body and headstock. The body has apparently been stripped down to clear primer, I was told it was originally Olympic White, but I'm not quite sure: there was some tiny traces of white paint on the body, but the finish looks like lacquer lightly sanded to a matte surface.

    She needed a cleaning and a setup badly: old duct tape residue by the bottom strap holder (somebody probably had duct taped the strap to the body), intonation was off, the neck bolts weren't tightened snug etc. So, I took the bass apart, cleaned it, re-assembled it and installed fresh strings (TI Jazz flats) and did a complete setup. Now she sings!

    I'll have to think about this.. as this is a left-handed bass I'll be paying an extra charge anyway to have a pickguard made (WD charges +10% of retail price). I looked at Pickguard Heaven: tort pickguard 77$ with whatever extra lefty charge they have + international shipping 38$, yikes!

    I'll check out if Fender has a left-hand tortoise pickguard available, but for a '75 P-bass the Fender '62 pickguard isn't an exact fit (thumbrest holes on wrong side, no center screw hole).
  19. georgestrings

    georgestrings Inactive

    Nov 5, 2005
    I hope it works out for you, Pete - but IME, WD Music does not do very good work - I suspect you'll be dissapointed if you go that route...

    - georgestrings
  20. Petethebassman


    Mar 7, 2008
    A quick update - got an email from WD, a 4-ply all-celluloid tort pickguard for a lefty P-bass would cost 94.39$ + USPS Express Mail shipping to Finland 44.45$ = 138.84$ total. Pricey.. but today I was talking at work about this with a friend who's also a bass player and he gave me a good hint to check out: he had had a custom pickguard made by a respected local luthier for his Telecaster bass and was very happy with the result. I will visit his shop this week to see what materials he has available and ask about prices. This might be a good option as I'd be able to discuss what I want in person and have the pickguard made and fitted exactly to my bass. Stay tuned for further developments..