Raised pickguard on Lennon's 325?

The short-scale model that changed history

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Raised pickguard on Lennon's 325?

Postby (NickD) » Mon May 07, 2001 4:51 am

Hello to all in this great forum!

My name is Nick - and I've been wondering about this:

In discussions concerning the conversion of a Mapleglo 325 to a "Lennon" 325, the raising of the pickguard on rubber grommets is always mentioned. Jim Huff certainly did this on his exquisite 325 conversion, which can be seen here:

http://www.rickbeat.com/gallery/jimhuff/jimhuff.htm

My question is, how do we truly know that Lennon's guitar was like this? Is there a clear and indisputable picture of it?

It seems to me a very strange way to mount the pickguard. I tried this on my own 325. The reasons I think it's a bit unlikely are:

It leaves a considerable gap between the pickguard and body, through which you can see the wiring and controls. This seems to me esthetically strange for a company so concerned with finish, like Rickenbacker, to do.

It would allow all sorts of dust, liquids, dirt and other ****, even insects! to get inside the guitar. Another thing which I feel Rickenbacker would not be likely to do.

On the other hand, maybe this is why, when Ron DeMarino opened up Lennon's guitar, he found everything so corroded. And maybe this is why Lennon's pickguard was cracked, because if it was mounted off the body, then it would be more likely to crack if he banged it into something, than if it was seated flat on the body.

We can no longer really tell WHAT John's guitar was like since Ron DeMarino did his restoration; he changed it so much, especially the pickguard, which is now, I believe, mounted flat on the body.

Anyone have any thoughts about this?

Regards to all
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Postby (tomcat) » Mon May 07, 2001 6:37 am

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Postby (tblair) » Mon May 07, 2001 8:10 am

I haven't seen a clear & indisputable picture of Lennon's showing the raised pickguard (I haven't looked)- but grommets beneath the pickguard was a normal attribute of 50's hollowbody Rickenbackers.

Regardless of whether the pickguard was raised, foreign matter would be able to get inside pretty easily- as the pickups were also raised & most had a soundhole.
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Postby (Nick_Thiel) » Mon May 07, 2001 12:37 pm

When we were doing research for the 325C58, this was a point that was brought up early in the development stages at the beginning of last year. It was determined that the guitar was issued with rubber grommets under the guard. There are a few good photos that positively show this. Also there appears to be a halo around each screw in the gold paint on the underside of the guard, this would also indicate a grommet under each screw. It was also determine that these grommets were removed by the time the guitar was refinished black and retired in '64.

These were all key points of reference because up until the few weeks before NAMM in January of this year, there were going to be two versions of the 325C58 available. One finished natural with a Bigsby, bow-tie bridge, white selector switch and hi-fi knobs. The other was going to be issued in Sullivan Show specs with Burns knobs, Bigsby (paint removed from the logo), bow-tie bridge and black selector switch. It was then decided by the upper echelon of Rickenbacker to issue this guitar as it was born with the proper tailpiece and roller bridge, which to me is the very best decision that they could have made.
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Postby (NickD) » Mon May 07, 2001 3:26 pm

Thank you Nick - now I can put grommets under the pickguard of my MG 325/59, and know that, despite the oddness of it, it was an authentic feature! And the info about almost releasing 2 versions of the 325C58 is fascinating.

And all you other 325 conversion scholars, take note of what Nick Thiel has posted!

NickD
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Postby (Nick_Thiel) » Mon May 07, 2001 4:57 pm

I've always sliced a regular Ric grommet in half for any conversions that I've done on V59s, this seems to do the trick. You may not be able to tell, but the 325C58 shown on the Ric website has grommets under the guard.

Here is a link: http://www.rickenbacker.com/images/hr-325c58mg.jpg
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Postby (larrywassgren) » Mon May 07, 2001 5:42 pm

John's '58 originally started out with 4 screws
in the pickgaurd(like all the others I have seen).
Proof that it had the grommets is because the 5th
screw was later added. There would be no point in
adding the fifth screw if there had been no grommets, as the pickgaurd would have laid flat against the top of the guitar. The pickgaurd does
dip at this spot without the other screw(mine does). Why anybody would go out of the way to add
the fifth screw is hard to imagine. But it was
definitely added later as there is a photo of his
guitar in the very beginning with 4 screws and a photo a little later with 5 screws. And the placement of the 5th screw is not consistant with the placement of the other 4, it is too close to
the edge of the pickgaurd. Because John's guitar
was at the '58 trade show, maybe they were trying
to make everthing perfect for future customers??
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Postby (glen_l) » Mon Jul 23, 2001 4:14 pm

I noted the other week while at one of my local Ric Distributors that the 325V59 they had in stock had the 5th (lennon) control plate screw factory fitted.

I think Larry was onto a good point regarding the reason for it suddenly appearing on Lennon's future 325 for the '58 Namm Show. If the plate had a dip in it due to the grommet standoffs, The natural thing to do would be to correct it by adding another screw.

Incidentally, this v59 also had the small slotted roundhead screws on the pickup corners, which I assume means 'scatterwound' pickups. I noticed that it had a square heel. Have the re-issues always had the correct heel?
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Postby (johnhall) » Thu Aug 30, 2001 7:06 pm

As near as I remember, the V59 heel has always been square. It's a V pain for the wood shop to do this type of heel too, due to the type of equipment necessary to progress to the square shape from the rough form which is rounded.
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