Odd crack forming on pickguard

MisterKim

Electromatic
Sep 2, 2021
50
Redmond, WA
I've got a practically new G5220 and have observed an odd crack forming on the edge of the pickguard. I've also observed the the guard came mounted quite close to the pickup/strings. Certainly closer than my Vintage VSA 500MP (335 clone). The guitar is just not played that much. It does get played, but pretty gently in the grand scheme of things. Always seated, always at home, just myself or my daughter. No bashing. There is not a scratch or ding on the thing otherwise.

Is this common?

Here's a photo of the crack forming. The shield itself seems to be under stress and is bowing at the point of attachment near the neck pickup.

I've had the Vintage 335 clone for a couple of years. It get played every day. Not even a hint of a scratch anywhere.

View media item 16259
 

section2

Country Gent
Dec 21, 2016
2,559
Toronto
They do tend to crack if bent. I suspect that it's screwed in too tightly near the neck. Did it come that way from the store, or did you adjust it?

How old is your guitar? I wonder whether the pickguard would be covered under your warranty.
 

section2

Country Gent
Dec 21, 2016
2,559
Toronto
To answer your other question, it's normal for the pickguard to be mounted this close to the pickups. It just shouldn't be screwed down tightly enough to flex.
 

MisterKim

Electromatic
Sep 2, 2021
50
Redmond, WA
Purchased in February. This is how it came from Sweetwater. Never touched the thing, as far as tightening anything (beside adjusting the tuners, hah). Have not even swapped strings. Really no need so far. My everyday rig is the 335 clone. This get played, maybe, every other week or so. Definitely seems over-torqued at the neck securement point.
 

BrianW

Country Gent
Oct 21, 2014
1,385
Vancouver Island
Hard to tell from the pic, but is the pickguard touching (forced into a curve over) the pickup surround ?

Sort of looks like the pickguard is cracking from pressure from underneath. I believe there should be a rubber or plastic washer (spacer) under the pickguard around the screw toward the neck. If, as you say, that screw is over torqued it could be stressing the pickguard.

Just my $.02.
 

Randy99CL

Country Gent
Feb 17, 2020
1,995
Albuquerque
I'd contact customer support to get a new pickguard.

Many new guitars come with a spacer on that screw. I bought a pack of felt washers (for strap screws), I'd use one of those to take the pressure off.
 

Archtops

Country Gent
Mar 4, 2021
1,330
SoCal
When I blow up the photo, I see a small dent where the crack starts. So under pressure, even hand pressure, the unnoticeable crack could theoretically migrate as it gets played.
It should possibly be replaced by Customer Service. Best of luck!
 

MisterKim

Electromatic
Sep 2, 2021
50
Redmond, WA
Hard to tell from the pic, but is the pickguard touching (forced into a curve over) the pickup surround ?

Sort of looks like the pickguard is cracking from pressure from underneath. I believe there should be a rubber or plastic washer (spacer) under the pickguard around the screw toward the neck. If, as you say, that screw is over torqued it could be stressing the pickguard.

Just my $.02.

That’s what it looks like to me as well. Feels like there should be some kind of a standoff there between the shield and the guitar body. Instead, the screw is bending the plastic shield over the pickup’s plastic surround.
 

MisterKim

Electromatic
Sep 2, 2021
50
Redmond, WA
When I blow up the photo, I see a small dent where the crack starts. So under pressure, even hand pressure, the unnoticeable crack could theoretically migrate as it gets played.
It should possibly be replaced by Customer Service. Best of luck!

I have a call into my SE at Sweetwater. They’ve been pretty good all things considered so far. I’m interested to see how they respond to this one. It’s a weird one. Looks like an iffy manufacturing execution to me. Not Sweetwater‘s problem, but hopefully they can help me get it sorted out. Doesn’t really affect the playability. But it is a bit more than pure cosmetic.
 

MisterKim

Electromatic
Sep 2, 2021
50
Redmond, WA
I'd contact customer support to get a new pickguard.

Many new guitars come with a spacer on that screw. I bought a pack of felt washers (for strap screws), I'd use one of those to take the pressure off.


That’s a good thought. I have some of those fender strap blocks. Those might work. Probably need about four of them though.
 

Randy99CL

Country Gent
Feb 17, 2020
1,995
Albuquerque
It might take the dealer a while to get you a new pickguard, who knows?

When I had a problem with a new Gretsch I emailed customer support on their website. Fender got back within a couple of days and I got a goodie bag within a week.
Email: [email protected]

I bought a new Epi that had a bad push-pull pot, I called their support number and they sent a new pot within a few days.

You may have better luck contacting them yourself instead of going through the dealer.
 

MisterKim

Electromatic
Sep 2, 2021
50
Redmond, WA
It might take the dealer a while to get you a new pickguard, who knows?

When I had a problem with a new Gretsch I emailed customer support on their website. Fender got back within a couple of days and I got a goodie bag within a week.
Email: [email protected]

I bought a new Epi that had a bad push-pull pot, I called their support number and they sent a new pot within a few days.

You may have better luck contacting them yourself instead of going through the dealer.

I think I’ll do that. However, I’ve also been thinking that I might just take the pick guard off. One thing I’ve noticed is that this particular pick guard rides closer to the E string than with my 335 clone. It can get in the way on occasion. I don’t really notice it, the pick guard that is, with the Vintage guitar. I have a Gibson Les Paul Studio that is on the way and from what I can tell that pick guard also sits lower — more flush to the body of the guitar. The pick guard on this G5220 actually rides right over the little plastic surrounds that border the pick up. Anyway, I will ping Gretsch customer service and see what they have to say. The crack does seem like something that’s just kind of developed on its own relatively recently, but the bow in the plastic pick guard has always been there.
 

DougWheeler74

Synchromatic
Jul 10, 2019
634
NE Wisconsin, US
I've had nothing but good experiences with Sweetwater. For example, I bought a Telecaster last summer from them. One of the pots had a broken wafer. They offered to swap guitars at no cost to me, take it to a Fender repair center, or send me a new pot. I went with the later as it was a simple repair that I could do myself. They threw in some strings as a nice gesture. They were apologetic (it wasn't their fault) and offered solution options with friendly service. I recommend that you start there.
 

Scamp

Gretschie
Feb 22, 2018
259
SoCal
Sweetwater has always given me good service. I'd also check the other mount too. Make sure the added pressure on the pick guard isn't pulling on the other mount bracket. I had similar thing happen to me. When I took it to the shop I use the guy said he's seen it before and people get so focus on where the crack is on the pick guard and don't look at the other mount(s) and he's seen where it has started to crack the guitar around the mount. He said it's always a good idea to loosen all the screws if you noticed a bend in the pick guard and reseat it. Try not to over tighten the screws. He likes to use a jeweler's screwdriver on some screws, less chance of over tightening.
 

MisterKim

Electromatic
Sep 2, 2021
50
Redmond, WA
Sweetwater has always given me good service. I'd also check the other mount too. Make sure the added pressure on the pick guard isn't pulling on the other mount bracket. I had similar thing happen to me. When I took it to the shop I use the guy said he's seen it before and people get so focus on where the crack is on the pick guard and don't look at the other mount(s) and he's seen where it has started to crack the guitar around the mount. He said it's always a good idea to loosen all the screws if you noticed a bend in the pick guard and reseat it. Try not to over tighten the screws. He likes to use a jeweler's screwdriver on some screws, less chance of over tightening.

i’ll look. Thanks.
 

Hickeroar

Gretschie
Oct 4, 2020
183
Texas
Looks like the pickguard screw is too tight and is bending the guard over the top of the pickup ring. It should just be snugged up so it makes contact with the ring and doesn't bend over top like that.
 

BrianW

Country Gent
Oct 21, 2014
1,385
Vancouver Island
Sweetwater has always given me good service. I'd also check the other mount too. Make sure the added pressure on the pick guard isn't pulling on the other mount bracket. I had similar thing happen to me. When I took it to the shop I use the guy said he's seen it before and people get so focus on where the crack is on the pick guard and don't look at the other mount(s) and he's seen where it has started to crack the guitar around the mount. He said it's always a good idea to loosen all the screws if you noticed a bend in the pick guard and reseat it. Try not to over tighten the screws. He likes to use a jeweler's screwdriver on some screws, less chance of over tightening.

Good advice here to check both ends of the pickguard (mount)... it could be the rear bracket got slightly bent (too low). A straight line between 2 points and all...

Good luck!
 

MisterKim

Electromatic
Sep 2, 2021
50
Redmond, WA
Looks like the pickguard screw is too tight and is bending the guard over the top of the pickup ring. It should just be snugged up so it makes contact with the ring and doesn't bend over top like that.

I suspect you’re correct. Sweetwater has opened a support case. I’m hoping they’ll send me a new one and I can install it more carefully than was done at the factory. Seems like the standoff under the upper securement hole through which the screw passes could be a little taller. But I’ll make do with what I have.
 

MisterKim

Electromatic
Sep 2, 2021
50
Redmond, WA
Mine has also cracked slightly around the lower screw mount. Cheap plastic, will get new one custom made in new year.

I actually thought of this back in the spring. I didn’t like how the pickguard was placed so that it road over the pick up surrounds. I talked to a local luthier, but he didn’t seem too encouraging about making a replacement. Seems like it could be a rather pricey solution for an Electromatic. Given how, and how much, I play this guitar, just removing the pickguard might be a more cost-effective solution to solve my irritation with its close proximity to the E string — and propensity to crack if over-tightened. It’s a very iffy solution design IMHO.

Update: I just took a peek at a high-end Gretsch Jet listed at Sweetwater. It seems to have the same pickguard solution. I suspect they use a little more care when attaching those things for the $3000 versions. I’m definitely going to be more mindful of this going forward.
 
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