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Blackguard vs. Whiteguard Finish

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by tlsmack, Feb 25, 2019.

  1. tlsmack

    tlsmack Tele-Afflicted

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    Why do old blackguards take on the bsb color but whiteguards turn more of a vintage white color?

    I will never own either one, just curious about the difference in the original finish.
     

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  2. Adam Wolfaardt

    Adam Wolfaardt Tele-Meister

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    Mostly because the clear coat gets darker on the old ones. Something changed in the paint I guess
     
  3. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    In the early days of Teles, the finish process and materials lended themselves to rapid yellowing.

    This was viewed as a flaw by the Fender company, and corrected in 1954, when it became apparent that their guitars were quickly yellowing.

    My suspicion has always been that it was less a materials change, and more a process change. I suspect that in the early days, they were clear coating the hell out of them. Then to reduce yellowing, they stopped clear coating them, or started using only a minimal amount of clear coat. And/or there could have been a materials change...but I'm not sure what materials were around to switch to in 1954 that would NOT yellow. So my suspicion has always been that they eliminated clear coats, and simply polished the blonde directly.

    I myself cannot stand BSB. It's a sick color. I covet mid to late '50's Teles far more than early ones because of it.
     
  4. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Afflicted

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    In the Duchossoir book he says in '54 Fender changed the finishing process. He says the earlier color gave way to a creamier shade that evolved over time to a light white shade. Not sure what "changed" means but the change is obvious.

    And there are '54 Tele's with blackguards but it was the year they changed.

    I like both shades. I'm lucky to own a Tele with a '56 body, neck and a few pieces of hardware, but it's been refinished in brown. Ouch!
     
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  5. Paul-T

    Paul-T Tele-Meister

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    I've looked under the pickguards of a good few originals, and compared side by side, and I think there was a paint change in addition to the different/omitted sealer coats.
     
  6. CurtisNovak

    CurtisNovak TDPRI Member

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    All Fender Blonds from the 50's through the 70's was all the same white paint. The different shades has to do with the clear coat they used at different era. The early Black Guards used more of a high solid Bar top Lacquer that was the color of tea out of the can and it would tint the white and it aged darker. In 54 when they were working on the Mary Kaye Strat Fender wanted a blond that stayed white so they changed the clear coat to a cleaner furniture lacquer. You will notice the White Guard Tele came out the same time as the MK Strat. There are other eras that Fender changed their clear coat. Back when I did vintage restorations I heavily researched Fender Blondes as it was key to know how much to tint the other custom colors of a given year. My old website had much of that info but has not migrated to my new website. I will see if I can dig up the pics. An interesting side note the Gibson TV Yellow is same basic story through the years and all the different shades they has the same basic trans white blonde finish.
    Curtis Novak
     
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  7. fiestafinishes

    fiestafinishes TDPRI Member

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    In 1954, Fender switched to "Water Clear" lacquer. This new paint had UV inhibitors in it, and did not yellow like the earlier finishes. "Butterscotch" isn't a Fender color, but rather a reference to the inevitable yellowing of the early finishes. Early Black Guards, when new, were nearly, but not exactly, as white as new '54 and later Teles. Both types of lacquer are still available today, and if you look into a gallon of traditional nitro, vs. water clear nitro, the traditional material is more yellow while still in the can, but will yellow much more once exposed to UV, while the water clear is quite stable.

    Check out the attached photo. A coffee stirring stick was painted pure white, then four different types of clear lacquer applied. Far left is the lowest grade of traditional nitro. Next to left is a slightly better grade of traditional nitro. Third from left is a water clear product. Right is a higher grade of water clear. This stick was left in a sunny window for a year. In addition to being much more yellow, the traditional nitro shows very heavy checking, while the more stable water clear product, does not. When initially applied, all four sections looked the same.


    IMG_4275.jpg
     
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  8. kubiakl

    kubiakl Tele-Meister

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    That is some excellent info, especially the examples on the coffee stirrer. Now it makes sense. Thanks!
     
  9. Quacky

    Quacky Tele-Meister

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    So the one on the right would be closest to the Mary Kay white used on the Stratocaster. Great stuff thx
     
  10. Pater Familias

    Pater Familias Tele-Meister

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    I agree 100%. Always wanted a white guard with that creamy banana blonde shade and amber'ed out vintage maple fretboard. But the butterscotch teles don't do anything for me.
     
  11. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    My 57 Tele stayed white.
    It got played in smoky bars.
    I played it in smoky bars, actually, while smoking.
    Not smart, not pretty.
    Anyways, I love the white guard era best.
     
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  12. tommytele

    tommytele TDPRI Member

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    My '72...used to play in smoke filled clubs back in the day
    IMG_8147.JPG IMG_8867.jpg
     
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  13. carpenter

    carpenter Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    73 mine had a white one. Put a chrome one on in 1984. Still there.
     
  14. Danman

    Danman Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for this information! And what a great test to do! It explains a lot!
     
  15. sonny wolf

    sonny wolf Friend of Leo's

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    I prefer the yellower blonde color of the early 1950-54 Blackguards compared to the later more beige white whiteguards.What I find interesting is that many of the 1970s era Strats and Teles originally finished in Olympic white turned into light yellow due to the nitro topcoat aging(the 1970s era ones had a Polyester undercoat with a nitro topcoat).For example the famous 1970s era Yngwie Malmsteen Strats with their trademark yellow color were actually white guitars when brand new...Fender didn't offer that light yellow now called 'vintage white' at the time as a color option..I wonder if Fender used a different nitro at that time that would yellow easily(???):

    [​IMG]
     
  16. sonny wolf

    sonny wolf Friend of Leo's

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    I spotted this lovely 1956 Tele for sale at Guitar center in Hollywood last week...a bit yellowed though not as much as the earlier Blackguard ones.

    54525207_623981028046720_1851864192932380672_n.jpg
     
  17. fiestafinishes

    fiestafinishes TDPRI Member

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    In the infinite wisdom of the CBS folks, and their cost cutting measures, Fender decided to go back to using a lower grade nitro for the topcoat during the late 60's. You will see some Blonde or Oly White Teles from this era that have yellowed similar to the original Black Guards from 1950-1954. This is because the material used, was a similar, low grade, basic nitro. Also during this period, and into the early 70's, Fender sprayed a nitro topcoat over the decal on the head stock face, as the poly would damage the decal. On some of these guitars, you will notice that the head stock face has faded to deep amber, but the rest of the neck, fingerboard, and entire back of neck which is poly without a lacquer topcoat, remains quite clear.
     
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  18. Larmo63

    Larmo63 Friend of Leo's

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    My '67

    IMG_5809.JPG
     
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  19. Freewheeler

    Freewheeler Tele-Afflicted

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    Nice one, but it must be at least 1969. Skunk striped one piece maple neck became standard then.
     
  20. nocastermike

    nocastermike Tele-Meister

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    This is my 56. Survived a house fire ana an attempt at sanding. The paint is original though.
     

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