Jimmy Egypt & Sons
Jimmy Egypt Figure

Fender Makes Inlays for 1963 Guild A150

Fender Makes Inlays for 1963 Guild A150


We recently bought an original Guild Savoy A150 hollow bodied jazz style guitar. The internal label, serial number and other details date it as being manufactured in 1963. The guitar has experienced several modifications since it left Guild's Hoboken factory in New Jersey USA but they have been carried out to a high standard. A pickup has been added as the guitar was not originally available with a pickup option. What looks like an early Kent Armstrong Humbucking "Rainbow" pickup has been fitted with a matching surround and married to a volume and tone control. The volume control is also a push and pull switch enabling the pickup to be switched to single coil. The original open geared machine heads have also been upgraded for a more modern and reliable sealed set.

The biggest change however is the finish. The guitar has been impeccably refinished using the same sunburst as the original. The guitar would originally have had a scratchplate with a "Guild" logo emobossed but this is missing with the mounting holes for the bracket having been filled and covered over with the new finish..

This guitar looks great and plays and sounds fantastic but there is one major problem and that is the fingerboard block inlay markers. They have shrunk, warped and discoloured over time and we suspect someone has tried to varnish over the inlays causing them to become deformed. They had to be replaced. It was really difficult finding suitable material that looked correct on the guitar. All the simulated Mother of Pearl material we had was too "white",  too "new" or too "fake" to look period correct. It was then that Jimmy discovered an old Fender Mustang plate with exactly the right colour of simulated MOP. So we decided it was the perfect donor to return the fingerboard inlays and the guitar to the correct appearance.



The original inlays were in a poor state. The shrinkage and discolouration are evident here.

This is the Fender donor scratchplate. The colour match and "look" is perfect.

A stack of mahogany neck blanks await machining

You can see the deterioration in the inlays here. It looks like they've been removed or fallen off at some oint and been reglued in a bodge job. Nasty!

After cleaning the inlay recess out it's now ready to accept the new improved block markers.

A stack of mahogany neck blanks await machining

Some skill with a very sharp chisel waas required to remove all the old glue and other detritis.

These were the tools for the job: A jewellers fretsaw with a fine blade and 1/4" and 1/8" chisels.

A stack of mahogany neck blanks await machining

I'm halfway through the job here, cutting, filing and fitting each inlay carefully before moving up the neck to the next.

Just a few more markers to fit. You can see the 3 ply nature of the donor material here with the MOP part only being in the top 1/3rd of  2.5mm thick plate.

A stack of mahogany neck blanks await machining

The uppler inlays are very narrow and require precision with a sharp, narrow chisel.

This is me fine sanding an inlay trying to maintain perfect parallel and square inlays. We don't want any gaps!

A stack of mahogany neck blanks await machining

As the depth of the actual mother of pearl porion of the 3 ply scratchplate was actually quite shallow I obviously couldn't afford to file through the material to the plain layer underneath so I heated each inlay with my high power heat gun to allow the material to be curved to match the radius of the fingerboard.

All the curved inlays could then be glued in place meaning that a minimum amount of material needed to be removed from ther top of the inlay to make them level with the fingerboard. The job is a massive improvement compared to the condition it came to us in and now looks perfect .

A page from the original Guild catalogue showing the Savoy A-150 on the left.
Available in sunburst finish for $290 ...case extra.

The finished instrument which has now been sold.