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  • BillDaCostaWilliamsBillDaCostaWilliams Barreiro, Portugal✭✭✭ Mateos, Altamira M01F, Huttl
    Posts: 643

    Regarding the "tortoise-shell" here is a response from mandolin café expert, Richard500:

    "Nearly all of these are nitrocellulose plastics, also called celluloid, q.v. Invented by about 1860, and considered the first commercial plastic, used in a vast number of products till replaced by later, less explosive materials. Persisted in photographic films til early 1950s. Early imitation ivory and tortoise shell and later all sorts of colorations, like marble. Still available, mostly overseas, for instrument restoration.

    As far as I’ve found, there are no known chemical processes to reverse or prevent the decay of this material on antiques."

    Buco
  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,343

    I've seen photos of celluloid pickguards on old guitars left in cases. As it off-gases, it emits a caustic gas that, when trapped in the case, can cause corrosion of parts. You see this sometimes on old Gibsons. Here's one example:

    I think if it is left out on a wall or frequently played, then it isn't an issue. A lot of collectors seem to take the pickguards off when storing their guitars.

    It's a neat mando. Nice sound and great style!

    BucoBillDaCostaWilliams
  • JasonSJasonS New
    Posts: 61

    Yep it is common practice to remove original celluloid pickguards on archtop guitars from the 50's or earlier. The main problem is the damage it can do to the upper frets directly adjacent to the pickguard. I have never read that it is safe to leave them on as long as the guitar is left out in the open but you usually see this discussion in the context of higher end archtops where they'd be stored in a case anyway.

    My suspicion is that this phenomenon isn't as much of an issue for pickguards mounted directly to the top far away from the frets. You may see the pickguard crack and deteriorate but I don't think the off-gassing will harm the instrument otherwise.

    billyshakesBillDaCostaWilliams
  • flacoflaco Shelley Park #151, AJL Quiet and Portable
    Posts: 102

    Of course it was celluloid flowers that caused the fire that burned Django. It all comes full circle!

    BillDaCostaWilliams
  • AndyWAndyW Glasgow Scotland UK✭✭✭ Clarinets & Saxes- Selmer, Conn, Buescher, Leblanc et.al. // Guitars: Gerome, Caponnetto, Napoli, Musicalia, Bucolo, Sanchez et. al.
    Posts: 603



    Gypsy-jazz wise, there’s nothing particularly jumping out amongst the guitars in the latest quarterly big Gardiner-Houlgate sale, but this lot has the rather rare Francois Charle Selmer book if anyone is looking for it.

    Jangle_JamieBucoBillDaCostaWilliamsPJD
  • murrayatuptowngallermurrayatuptowngaller Holland, MINew wooden guitars
    Posts: 63

    A guy who did some work on a Gibson archtop for me kept calling celluloid 'cellulite'. I grimaced and said No, no,no, I can't unsee that vision on a guitar

    BucoBillDaCostaWilliams
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