Monday, September 7, 2015

Tone Wood 1 by Frans Elferink

The Gretsch Binding Paradox

The original is un-usable, the usable is non-original.

If mankind invented the plastic 4000 years ago and had used as often as it is used now, all must would be empty and we would have no idea what level of civilization they had reached. All Plastics degrade over the years and one of the fastest degrading plastic is celluloid (invented in 1860). Celluloid is used as bindings and pickguard material on all vintage guitars.

Making celluloid is like cooking a meal. Mixing a number of chemicals in the right ratio at the right temperature. The ratio of the chemicals has a big influence on the speed of degradation of the celluloid over the years.

The Stock of celluloid which Gretsch has used on their guitars in the period 1962 to 1968 is famous because of its so called binding rot (celluloid desease).

I bought this 1967 (pre Baldwin) Gretsch Country Gentleman and replaced the bindings and did a neck reset and refret. Maybe it was a bit to much work for such a guitar but at least it is usable again.