A Different Mint Pickguard Question

bob l

Strat-Talk Member
Mar 14, 2011
57
Chicago
I recently bought a 1960 Journeyman Strat that is equipped with a mint guard. I wasn't crazy about it at first, but it is beginning to grow on me. My question is directed to those of you who bought a new Strat in 1959 or the early 60s. What did those guards look like when new? The Duchossoir Strat book claims that the guards were greenish when new. However, there are inaccuracies in the book and I wonder about the description of the guard color. To me, they look more of a gray shade in old photos and films. Here is an example.



I'm interested to hear first hand experiences.
 

Intune

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 14, 2021
6,166
Edmonton, Alberta
If you look at pics of the actual celluloid nitrate pickguards from 59 to 63/64 they all look different. The one you have is more than likely PVC that has the look of mint green.

The vintage ones started out almost a white/cream and as they aged the black middle layer wound bleed through. A 1960 strat tucked under a bed since new and a 1960 that was heavily used, the pickguard wound look drastically different.
 

JDug

Strat-O-Master
Sep 18, 2020
880
New Jersey USA
I love mint green guards, but the new replica ones that come with certain models seem overdone to me.
Seems like most original pre CBS guitars’ guards look more to be grey, or an off white on most.

I believe Fender intended all the guards to be white, but the black part in the middle of the new 3 ply would start to show through the top ply celluloid, thereby giving an unintentional mint green ish appearance over time. ( This is from what I’ve read.)

Unfortunately I can’t give you first hand experience because I am not that old enough to!
 

SpeedKing

Senior Stratmaster
Apr 9, 2015
2,313
UK
The Duchossoir book is correct. Even when new they had a very slight greenish/grey tinge.

It's no good looking at old film like the Shadows footage as for a start the guitars are under bright stage lighting. Then there's the film processing, digital transfer process and the usual issues with displaying colours on monitors with differing colour spaces as well as those same monitors mostly not being properly colour balanced.

Most now believe there is no bleeding of the middle black layer (it certainly doesn't 'bleed' to the lower layer if you examine a genuine guard) but that the nitrate itself reacts to a number of outside stimulus ... UV light, tobacco (or other materials!) smoke, regular/irregular cleaning etc etc.

A Journeyman strat should show some slight ageing according to the Custom Shop descriptions of each 'relic' option so in that particular case you'd expect to see more 'green' in the guard than say a New Old Stock version of the same guitar but as has already been said the originals vary hugely in colour and tone now.

It's also worth remembering that colours can appear very different to the human eye depending on the other colours surrounding them. A single 'green' guard can look very different depending upon whether it's fitted to a black, red or white body.
 
Last edited:

Chipss36

Senior Stratmaster
Oct 1, 2018
1,428
Texas
There are a few that make actual cellulose/nitrate guards, that are fairly accurate, nos, or relic, types, not cheep though.
funny how getting plastics as correct as one can , is a costly endeavor, be it with fender or Gibson.

54 Strat styrene being one of the worst ….if you can even find a set.
 

bob l

Strat-Talk Member
Mar 14, 2011
57
Chicago
It's no good looking at old film like the Shadows footage as for a start the guitars are under bright stage lighting. Then there's the film processing, digital transfer process and the usual issues with displaying colours on monitors with differing colour spaces as well as those same monitors mostly not being properly colour balanced.

It's also worth remembering that colours can appear very different to the human eye depending on the other colours surrounding them. A single 'green' guard can look very different depending upon whether it's fitted to a black, red or white body.
I agree about old film and photos, and perceived color depending on other factors such as background and lighting. That is why I asked for first hand experience with a new guitar back in the day.

Not sure I saw the right video... I saw a boy band dancing with guitars :)
I have recently come to appreciate The Shadows. They were a huge influence on many of the bands and guitar players that influenced me. I love playing their tunes...and the choreography was pretty slick back then!
 

LawFlow

Strat-Talker
Feb 24, 2019
309
Oklahoma
Before I got my brand new 1966 Strat, I had borrowed a '62-'63 (?). Both of these guitars came with white guards and matching plastics. I sold mine about 12 years later and don't recall the plastics getting darker.
 

bob l

Strat-Talk Member
Mar 14, 2011
57
Chicago
There are a few that make actual cellulose/nitrate guards, that are fairly accurate, nos, or relic, types, not cheep though.
funny how getting plastics as correct as one can , is a costly endeavor, be it with fender or Gibson.

54 Strat styrene being one of the worst ….if you can even find a set.
I saw a website that at one time offered cellulose guards. The price was stunning! I'm not that much of a stickler for detail.
 

Torvald

Senior Stratmaster
May 3, 2019
1,519
Northwest
I recently bought a 1960 Journeyman Strat that is equipped with a mint guard. I wasn't crazy about it at first, but it is beginning to grow on me. My question is directed to those of you who bought a new Strat in 1959 or the early 60s. What did those guards look like when new? The Duchossoir Strat book claims that the guards were greenish when new. However, there are inaccuracies in the book and I wonder about the description of the guard color. To me, they look more of a gray shade in old photos and films. Here is an example.



I'm interested to hear first hand experiences.

First hand experiences? Even I am not old enough to have bought a strat in '59. I would have been 10. Maybe someone in their eighties will get back to you.
 

StratChat

Strat-Talker
Sep 17, 2021
213
California
They look more grayish than green
Look up Lashing guards (all sold now) and they used the same materials as Fender
They achieved a cult following and got very expensive
They were almost a perfect replica…..that should age as if it was real
 

bob l

Strat-Talk Member
Mar 14, 2011
57
Chicago
First hand experiences? Even I am not old enough to have bought a strat in '59. I would have been 10. Maybe someone in their eighties will get back to you.

Strats came with celluloid guards until 1965 when you were 16. Surely there are a few people here who were fortunate enough to have had a new Strat back then.
 

sonny wolf

Most Honored Senior Member
Aug 7, 2009
5,352
austin texas
They were a slight greenish/gray color when brand new and would turn greener as they would age...the more yellowing/aging then the greener it became.Here is a photo from the Fender catalog showing how they appeared new(notice the contrast between the white knobs and slightly grey/green pickguards):
cat_1965fender_full_page06.jpg
 


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