Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Blackguard questions?

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by GuitarRandy, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. GuitarRandy

    GuitarRandy TDPRI Member

    Dec 24, 2012
    Parker, Colorado
    Hey guys,

    many of you may have seen my post regarding the 53 tele I've had the privilege of acquiring. It has a few issues so I thought I'd raise a few questions from the experts. :)

    Here's the short story. 53 tele, mostly original however the serial number/bridge plate is long gone (the original owner took it off and placed some sort of homemade tremolo on the guitar in the 50's. I'd like to place the correct bridge plate and saddles on the guitar. Recommendations?
    I'd really love to find a vintage correct plate but $1200 + is a bit much for my pocketbook!

    Restoration: This thing plays decently but it really needs a new nut and some restoration/setup work to really make it play like it should. How far would you guys go? It has been refinished once in its life in the early 60's (the reason for the incorrect headstock logo). Would you leave it alone or consider a correct refinish?

    Value. This thing has been in the family way too long to ever let it go anywhere but I am curious as to how these old teles are valued when not 100% original and intact.

    Thanks guys!


  2. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

    Jun 5, 2015
    Value for significant changes could be about 50% of "all original" value, roughly. But, the values on these change on a sale to sale basis almost. If you intend on keeping it, don't worry about that IMO. Any vintage "gem" I run across and buy I do so without worrying about value because I won't be selling it!

    Looks like a wonderful example! As for the bridge, a Glendale is great, an MIJ reissue/lawsuit bridge is nice, as are the custom shop fender's.

  3. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jun 24, 2006
    Fort Worth,Tx.
    Get a new nut if it needs it. They have them that look aged. You can get a period correct looking aged bridge and saddles from several vendors, if you don't want to spend big bucks on it. Get the correct looking switch tip. That's about all I'd do to it if it was mine.

  4. Robert H.

    Robert H. Friend of Leo's

    Jul 28, 2005
    N. Cal.
    I'd get the best set up I could. That will be the key to playability. The other stuff is personal taste. There are good repro parts out there. I like the body, but if you want it to look more period correct, you can pay for a reliced Refin

  5. Tedzo

    Tedzo TDPRI Member

    Jul 1, 2016
    Northern California
    Please post a pic of the neck date if possible....nice axe.

  6. GuitarRandy

    GuitarRandy TDPRI Member

    Dec 24, 2012
    Parker, Colorado
    Thanks for the feedback guys, much appreacieted. I think I will go with an aged, replacement nut and a good setup to make it a player. I like the old finish and the "vibe".

    Thanks! Here ya go.

    AlexFelix likes this.

  7. Bill

    Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    I was/am in a similar situation. Around 2000 I got a '52 that had been fooled with back in the 70's. Among other things it had been refinished, the original saddles chromed, a worn refret, the original worn case, a double thickness replacement pickguard, and a Texas Special bridge pickup. I limited myself to getting it playable as being most important. So I had it refretted with medium (as opposed to vintage size) frets, bought an original mid-60's bridge pickup (couldn't afford a 50's one), and a working case. That's about all I plan to do at this point except get a vintage style pickguard.

    Most of the other stuff seems too costly without affecting playability in a positive way.

  8. stretford

    stretford TDPRI Member

    Apr 16, 2010
    I would say your guitar presents well, even though refinished. I would be tempted to simply leave it as is. There are a few guys who can execute a nice vintage style finish, but it takes a long time and costs a lot of money. And when it's done you won't recognize it as your guitar.

    If you don't plan to sell anytime soon, you can afford to wait for the most "reasonably" priced parts to come along. The blackguard stuff is expensive, there's no getting around that.

  9. GuitarRandy

    GuitarRandy TDPRI Member

    Dec 24, 2012
    Parker, Colorado
    I find myself more and more amazed as more of the history comes out about our 53. What I believed originally to be some sort of homemade tremolo turns out to have likely been a Bigsby that was fitted to the guitar somewhere in the 50's. He purchased the guitar from "Happy Logan" music in Denver in late 1963 or early 1964 and immediately realized that he hated the temolo and removed it. He replaced it with a (then off the shelf) replacement bridge (1963) from the same shop he bought the guitar from. It was then refinished after plugging the mounting holes for the tremolo and Happy Logan placed another "off the shelf" headstock logo on it after the refinish. The pickguard was engraved as well at what was likely the same time it was fitted with the Bigsby engraved with the owners name. He believed the engraved pickguard was funny and left it in place all these years. He asked me to locate a replacement a few years ago but it was also one of those things that was always on the "to do" list.

    My father in law wanted to do a bit of a "player" restoration but never got around to it. With this in mind, I've decided to restore this guitar as close to possible to original but I will not refinish it outside of a little touch up here and there. I'd like to re-mount the proper headstock decal at some point but I'm hesitant to mess with the finish.

    I was able to have a bridge modified and relic'd to be correct for the guitar. Although the original serial number is long gone from the Bigsby swap, I chose to add serial number '1966' to honor my father in law. 1966 was not only the hight of the musical period of his life, it was the year he and my mother in law were married. They had just celebrated their 50th anniversary before he became sick and passed away. My father in law is greatly missed and the honor of having this "old piece of wood" has a huge place in my humble heart! She will get a new nut and a replacement bakelite guard at some point so that I can frame the inscribed guard along with some family pictures.

    I want to make it a matter of public record that his guitar is a family piece that will remain in my family (hopefully) for generations. Adding a serial number and all other work is only to ensure this amazing piece of wood is returned to how it was meant to be! It will be played and enjoyed in a manner that I hope would honor my father in law.

    Thanks for the advice and pointers along the way. I will post up additional pictures as progress is made. Thanks for the amazing advice, kind words, and great site!

    If someone owns the real #1966 I'd love to hear its story and see some photos!


  10. 68tele

    68tele Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 26, 2003
    East Northport NY
    Kool story, more pics please!
    hrstrat57 likes this.

  11. petebrown

    petebrown Tele-Meister

    Sep 22, 2003
    No. Cal.
    I don't know if you've already addressed this, but it is easy to restore a damaged/low nut with bone dust and cyanoacrylate, to retain the original nut, and it will look original.

  12. hrstrat57

    hrstrat57 Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 21, 2016
    Rhode Island
    That pick guard would go in the case for me. I'd be fine with a Avri blackguard maybe with a little shielding. I'd get the nut working and get it set up and play it forever. The decal wouldn't be worth the trouble to correct IMHO

    Super nice, lucky you! Bet it will sound amazing!

  13. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    I have no problem with how that guitar looks except perhaps the pickguard. With a family-owned and inherited instrument, my inclination is to leave the guitar as much as it was when the original family member had it. Make it playable and enjoy...minimal expense with maximum pleasure.

    No matter how much you spend on it, it will never approach that "all original, exc cond value". Even a good refin and restoration leaves the instrument at 50% of all orig, exc cond value.

  14. old crow

    old crow TDPRI Member

    Feb 22, 2009
    I agree. Get the best setup you can and play it.
    The more parts or finish you replace, the less
    it will be part of the family history.
    Bridge, saddles, nut and frets are the only parts
    I'd replace and only if they are impairing the sound.

  15. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    Thinking it over, I would keep the pickguard as it is, too..just my opinion.

  16. Danman

    Danman Tele-Meister

    May 12, 2012
    Amsterdam,The Netherlands
    Cool guitar! I wouldn't worry about the nut and frets. A guitar has to be playable and set up well to be enjoyed. And it has been refinished anyway. I don't feel replacing the nut and frets will take away anything from the memory of your father in law.

  17. twang junkie

    twang junkie Tele-Meister

    Nov 14, 2013
    That is a great looking tele with a strong history, as is often the case when things get valuable we try to put them back to their original state to retain as much value as we can, sadly a lot of history goes out the window when we do it. You have knowledge of this guitars life from 1963. The re-finish is from 63 and is older than anything you can have done now, I would set it up and become the next part of it's history, that guitar has vibe and I love the pick gaurd.

  18. Tedzo

    Tedzo TDPRI Member

    Jul 1, 2016
    Northern California
    Hey Randy,
    Nice axe......I would get a repro pickguard and call it good.
    Here's my '53 with a sixties body and pots, replaced pickups and bridge plate otherwise much of it is original. Gruhn appraised it at 5k.

    '53.jpg IMG_6861.JPG Neck Date.jpg
    Redd Volkaert, hrstrat57 and old crow like this.

  19. GuitarRandy

    GuitarRandy TDPRI Member

    Dec 24, 2012
    Parker, Colorado
    A little revamp of an old thread. I had the guys at Woodsongs Lutherie tear this old beast apart and work their magic. A new aged bone nut, some adjustments and minor fret work, and this thing plays like a new guitar! I can't say enough about their professionalism and passion for vintage instruments.

    Although it seems the bridge pickup needs to be re-wound at some point, it sounds amazing now! I couldn't be happier with their work and with its new found mojo.

    I'm still thinking about finding a non engraved bakelite guard for it but for now it's going to stay the way it is. I've owned a lot of guitars in my life but none have been like this. Wow is all I can say!

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