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Date this web site was last edited:  02/09/2017







Decomposing Plastic Pick Guards Cause Corrosion

by Palmer Moore (10/19/04)

A couple of years ago I bought an old Yahama 1200 arch top guitar that I fell in love with in a local guitar store.  A pretty sunburst thing with gold trimmings and a Bigsby.  I didn't need the Bigsby as I was looking for a good "chunk chunk" rhythm sound that I could give my pickin' buddies.  (I really wanted an old DelVechio like Chet used to play, but I ain't rich.)  It had some "wear" on some of the gold trims especially on the pickups and Bigsby handle, but I figured it was just a little "wear" on an older guitar.

I didn't play all that often, but after a few months I noticed that every time I would go to play it - the strings would be rusty.  Because I was using D'Addario Chromes - it was costing me $10 bucks every time I wanted to use it.  So, I pretty much just stuck it in the basement corner - and, there it sat.

This past weekend I took it over to our Ohio Fingerstyle Guitar Club Pickin' Party to put it out and maybe somebody would like to buy it.  And, when the first guy picked it up he noticed the strings were rusty.  When I explained my dilemma another guy (Jerry Hyland - great craftsman) chimed in that he had read an article in a guitar mag a couple years ago where older plastic pick guards have a tendency to deteriorate over time and release some sort of vapors (probably an acid of sorts) - and, not only will it corrode the strings - it will turn the gold hardware GREEN.  WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT IT HAD DONE TO THE PICKUPS!!! ARG.... We looked further down onto the pickups - and, they were all green towards the pick guard... 

I have no idea how to tell when plastic starts to decompose like this, but my advise is that if your strings start to rust up prematurely like mine did - REPLACE THE PICK GUARD!!