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Thread: Pickguard clamp value

  1. #1
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    Default Pickguard clamp value

    What do you think the going price for teens style pickguard clamp is these days? I might let one go to someone. Iíve sold parts in the past but itís been a while. Donít want to let it go too cheap at the same time donít want to seem ridiculous in my price.

    Thanks,

    Phil

  2. #2
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickguard clamp value

    I think I paid 100 bucks maybe a yea ago for one?

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickguard clamp value

    There's one on eBay that's been there for years at $399.00 or some outrageous price.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User Zigeuner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickguard clamp value

    I bought a used one from a fellow on the banjo list about ten years ago. It had a crack in it and I paid $50. I managed to silver solder it so that it looked OK. I've never seen one for less than $100. The one that I bought is still fine on my 1917 Gibson A-3.

    I guess that Gibson never thought that some of their instruments would last over 100 years. They chose nitrocellulose for their pickguards and German silver for the clamps, neither of which will last all that long. As most everyone knows, nitrocellulose is very prone to rotting due to moisture, heat and humidity and German Silver, with up to 20% zinc, also has its problems since it gets very brittle due to age.

    I've seen the one that is priced at $399. That's not going to sell anytime soon.
    1917 Gibson A-3, '64 Martin A, 2016 Rhodes F5R.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickguard clamp value

    I'm not sure how much choice they had for pickguard material at the time.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickguard clamp value

    Quote Originally Posted by Zigeuner View Post
    ...German Silver, with up to 20% zinc, also has its problems since it gets very brittle due to age. ...
    It's not so much age as tension stress and movement. I've seen old spun-over rim banjos from the 1880s and 1890s that look and structurally are like brand new (and I have one), but those nickel-silver (aka German-silver) rims just never move and they aren't under huge stress.

    If you want one of these old original clamps to last forever, given the stress involved, probably the best solution is don't use it, second best solution, don't move it.
    -- Don

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Pickguard clamp value

    When I was vintage Gibson hunting a year or so, there could be a $400-500 swing between an A1 with no pick guard, non original tuners or case. How much of that is the clamp is debatable, but $100-150 seems right. It's the pick guard itself in conjunction with the clamp that adds the most value for me. I was delighted to get my all original 1913 A1 with a non original case.

    But the real solution would be to buy an old mandolin that is missing the clamp, then find the best pick guard replacement.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Pickguard clamp value

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I'm not sure how much choice they had for pickguard material at the time.
    The choices were celluloid, wood, and "vulcanized rubber" [a la Lyon & Healy]. Bakelite was probably too brittle to be a good choice.

    There were only a few plastics available back then-- celluloid, Bakelite, and whatever the "vulcanized rubber" really was. Other plastics like styrene and pvc were developed later.

  9. #9
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickguard clamp value

    Yeah, that's pretty much how I looked at it. They chose the pretty one. At that point in time I seriously doubt anyone was doing any long term plastic testing. It hadn't been around all that long. I don't know if they do it anyplace else (I assume they do) but there are roads in southern New Jersey where there are long lines of panels set up with pieces of things like vinyl siding on it checking to see how it weathers. I seriously doubt anyone even thought about that sort of testing back then.

    For giggles, no mandolin content, but here is a company that tests in Arizona. They sure as heck weren't doing this back then
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickguard clamp value

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    ... They sure as heck weren't doing this back then
    True, Arizona was just a baby new state (1912) when most of the clamp-on pickgards were being made.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

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    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
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  12. #11
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickguard clamp value

    I think they were using different celluloid compositions back from say the teens thru the 30's, seems like the teens its hit and miss with deterioration, hardly any deterioration in the 20's and the 30's was cheaper or something as I've seen way too many original guards gone-many I've had came toasted or were in the process of being toasted! And I've pry had 50 from the 30's!

    Same with the metal compositions, it certainly was changing throughout those pre-war years. Now if only someone would melt it all down in the lab and see if my theory is correct-I'm not smart enough or have the $ to undertake that experiment. It would be interesting to this geek!

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    Default Re: Pickguard clamp value

    I am not sure this is accurate, but if they off gas and are left in the case it seems like that is when they go. My '22 was played a lot and has not had a problem. It is in the case now not being played much, but I open the case for a couple of days often.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  14. #13
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickguard clamp value

    I think being in the case and warm is an issue.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  16. #14
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickguard clamp value

    Heat will defiantly toast them, I have a guard that Randy Wood gave me for my one 7 conversion around 2004ish. It was a new Loar style guard probably from Darryl Wolfe but anyway it came aged and crackled-I asked Randy how he did it and he said with a hot light, well now its got a big ole hole through it wear it deteriorated. Its still on there as it goes with the mandolin in looks.

  17. #15
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    Default Re: Pickguard clamp value

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    Heat will defiantly toast them, I have a guard that Randy Wood gave me for my one 7 conversion around 2004ish. It was a new Loar style guard probably from Darryl Wolfe but anyway it came aged and crackled-I asked Randy how he did it and he said with a hot light, well now its got a big ole hole through it wear it deteriorated. Its still on there as it goes with the mandolin in looks.
    How a guard is stored is the complete answer. In a drawer? No. In a zip lock bag?, it'll last 6 months. Low humidity and moving air is the key

    The worst scenario is storing a guard with other guards in a pile in a drawer

    Back to the clamp. I buy all I can get in the $75-$125 range and turn a very small profit when I sell them with one of my guards. I lose guard sales when I don't have one oft times.
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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  19. #16

    Default Re: Pickguard clamp value

    I have a '41 Vega guitar with a bakelite guard and it has held up quite well.

  20. #17
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    Default Re: Pickguard clamp value

    We have high humidity in the summer, low in the winter (heating the house). I think moving air is the best thing to save those vintage pickguards.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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