vintage pearloid pickguard - shrinking problem

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by boroman, Mar 20, 2017.


  1. boroman

    boroman

    Apr 27, 2009
    boro
    Guys, I recently bought a vintage p-bass and the tortioise shell picguard is well shrinked.. it bends there and there. Is there any known solution to flatten it down? I mean, with aheat machine or something like that?
     
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Pics would help. It could be as simple as loosening all of the guard screws and gradually sinking them in a pattern. Do one turn on each screw and then keep going in a lap until they are snug. Rather than shrinking, it could just be in a bind.
     
  3. boroman

    boroman

    Apr 27, 2009
    boro
    Well early pickguards made from very first plastic formulaas are shrinking (and bending). Hard to capture it because I have disassebled the bass. It isn't any screw issue, I just need to know to flatten it, if there is any way of course
     
  4. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    EDIT!

    Don't heat celluloid!
    It is very flammable and it is not malleable in heat.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
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  5. farace

    farace Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    Connecticut USA
    Oh, yes, vintage celluloid loves to be heated! Just keep a fire extinguisher handy.

    Just kidding, of course (not about the flammability, though; celluloid is notoriously unstable). Old celluloid shrinks, and I don't think there's anything you can do about it. The pickguard on my '65 Jaguar is still very flat, but has shrunken enough that I'm afraid that if I take it off I'll never get the screwholes lined up again. Celluloid is not a heat-formed or -molded plastic, but rather mixed with solvents and left to cure before being sliced into usable form.* I don't think that heating it will "stretch" it at all if it has shrunken rather than just warped.

    *Based on what I think I remember from reading the book Picks! by Will Hoover.
     
  6. boroman

    boroman

    Apr 27, 2009
    boro
    Thanks!

    So, is there any place to buy vintage correct pickguards, not exactly celluloid, maybe something cheaper but retaining the look of original?
     
  7. Spitfire. Expensive, but realistic

    (no title)
     
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  8. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    Slicing? You better not be talking about Tortloaf! :roflmao:

    I'm thrown off slightly by OP's claim that the pickguard shrinked (sic) but that it is also bending, which I interpret to mean warping. I've seen clamping and heating prescribed elsewhere, but I also understand that the method originally comes from people trying to flatten out warped LPs. I don't think the heat from a heat lamp is enough to get celluloid to catch fire, but I hope I never have to test this hypothesis. I've seen this method prescribed for acoustic pickguards.

    Spitfire is pricey. WD Music celluloid tort is apparently an acceptable and cheaper substitute. I found a company on Ebay based in the Singapore that sells celluloid-topped pickguards but they won't ship to the US.
     
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  9. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Jun 11, 2011
    NYC
    Sorry but this post needs an unequivocal statement:
    Don't heat celluloid!
    It is very flammable and it is not malleable in heat.
     
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  10. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    I've edited my original post.

    Fake news, people. Fake news.
     
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  11. farace

    farace Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    Connecticut USA
    Not only that, it will sometimes degrade spontaneously (though usually when there's no air circulation around it). I had a bag of celluloid picks turn into a pile of goo in a closed plastic bag. It was a shame, because they were special picks I had imprinted when my son was born. Same picks from the same batch out in the air are fine.
     
  12. Shrinkage is going to happen. Just hope the original screws continue to fit okay.
     
  13. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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