Lennon's 58 325: Where's The Gold Pickguard?

The short-scale model that changed history

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Lennon's 58 325: Where's The Gold Pickguard?

Postby (Lonny) » Tue Jan 23, 2001 1:14 pm

This may have been answered already but why did they go to the trouble of refinishing John's 58 325 and put a WHITE pickguard on instead of a GOLD, like it is suppose to have???
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Postby (glen_l) » Sat Feb 17, 2001 8:27 pm

The original goldpickguard was given to Ron DeMarino as a gift in 1972 when he restored the '58 325 to it's Natural/Honey finish. It has at least one crack running between the volume pots, which had been there since the early 60's. Perhaps it had succumb to further damage in later years. It is still with him and has been used as a template for enthusiast's plate copies.

Why was a white plate used as replacement in 1972? There is no answer or admission to doing it. I wonder whether gold lucite plates were available from Ric in '72. Remember that this is before vintage guitars were invented. White was the go in '72. The story goes that it took some time to even find the schematic so the wiring could be restored. Was it thought to be such a big deal that the plate was a current Ric white plexi material, rather than an obsolete gold type? Were there vintage re-issue Rics (with gold lucite plates)in '72? I'm sure someone will answer that for us.
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Postby (rick12dr) » Sat Feb 17, 2001 9:49 pm

This may not be a definitive answer, but I worked at Rick for a few months in the woodshop,and this is also the same area where the pickguards and nameplates were machined.I did a bit of this there myself, among other duties.I personally Never saw any clear pickguards being cut.[the "gold" ones start as clear Plexi, and then get sent to the paint area to get the backsides sprayed gold.]Now, possibly there could have been some around that had been made up months before I was there, but I would not know about that.My
personal feeling is that, No, there were no gold guards made at that time.If De Marino is any good at all with what he does, he certainly would have No problem figuring out how Rick made them.Maybe he thought about it, but somehow couldn't match the gold on the nameplate. We're speculating now.
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Postby (glen_l) » Sun Feb 18, 2001 3:30 am

Well I have no personal experience with DeMarino myself but he is said to be a very reputable Luthier/repairer. However, this is what I see. Lennon's '58 325 currently on display in in the Lennon Museum Japan, arguably the most famous guitar on the face of the planet, with an incorrect control panel and undercoat showing on the body. Not dust as we thought for a long time, but grey undercoat around the area between the bridge and treble pickup, as verified on 2 occasions by Ric enthusiast Tuck Hershey, and also by my good friend Servo Sarai.
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Postby (larrywassgren) » Sun Feb 18, 2001 11:32 am

Glen, call me a doubting Thomas but I won't believe it's anything but dust(or possibly leftover rubbing compound) until I look at
the guitar myself. The same 'gray' is on all 3
pick-ups and other smaller areas on the face of
the guitar. Are you sure your friends aren't talking about the leftover gray(black areas) from
when the guitar was black? Why would there be
gray undercoat on the guitar? The refinish to black was done very quickly and more than likely
was not done by a qualified luthier who wouldn't
have used primer before spraying it black. I also don't buy the old story that Burns refinished the guitar to black. That's been repeated so many times that people now take it as
the truth. The guitar had Hofner knobs, not Burns knobs, after the refinish to black. I don't believe those are even Burns knobs so there is no Burns connection at all. So I'm going on record as no leftover gray primer and no refinish to black by Burns.
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Postby (larrywassgren) » Sun Feb 18, 2001 12:19 pm

Also, the guitar had a very quick dusting before
that photo was taken. When Ron refinished the
guitar back to blonde it was totally disassembled.
He would have taken out any primer if there had
been any. Anyone who doesn't enjoy cleaning guitars knows the area between the bridge and
treble pick-up is the biggest pain of all to clean. That is why the dust was left there. What are the chances primer would be left in the same area that happens to be the hardest to get at
while cleaning a guitar?
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Postby (Nick_Thiel) » Mon Feb 19, 2001 7:39 am

I believe that there was a grey undercoat on the guitar, as there are a few pics of the underside of the neck which show grey on the seam of the fingerboard (near the nut). Also the color headstock pics from 64 appear to have grey in areas where the paint has been bashed away. Leave it with me and I'll dig up the pics on my hard-drive.

This is what I could find quickly, it's not the best (I have better), but look near the nut and along the edge of the headstock:
http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Theater/9182/pmc_jl.jpg

Whether or not Ron left some of the grey on the guitar when he refinished it, I don't know. That would be a biggy if he did.
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Postby (Nick_Thiel) » Mon Feb 19, 2001 7:49 am

I forgot to tell you to look at the end of the bottom horn in that pic too.
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Postby (Lennon_Fan) » Mon Feb 19, 2001 10:07 am

When it was refinished, it did have ANOTHER gold lucite pickguard added. THAT pickguard was stolen by a collector, thingking it was the original. Don't remember the circumstances involving it, but Ron posted it himself on the internet. Thus, the 3rd pickguard was white because they had no gold ones.
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Postby (Nick_Thiel) » Mon Feb 19, 2001 11:34 am

I think Ron's story has changed several times over the years.

In order for somebody to make another guard and swap it out, they would have had to have unlimited access to it. There are three different size holes in the guard to accommodate the pots, switch and screws, plus an exact tracing (size, hole positions, etc…) would have had to have been done because the white guard is very close to the original. Besides, don't you think that that would be pretty noticeable to someone in charge of that guitar, a white guard magically replacing a gold one? It's not like swapping screws or something similar, it's a big one.

I think Ron cut a white guard as he stated many years ago to quite a few people. Why he has recently changed his story, only he knows.
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