The Montreux parts line was started by Yuichiro Shirakuma when he realized the need for highly accurate reproduction parts for vintage Gibson Les Paul models. Recently the extensive line of parts was expanded even further to include correct replacements for other Gibson model guitars and vintage Fender guitars.
All of the parts in the Montreux line are historically accurate in both exact dimensions and appropriate materials. This insures a perfect fit and look on an authentic vintage guitar. These parts can also be used on newer “reissue” guitars to enhance the visual appearance and in some cases the instruments performance.
Gord Miller of GM Vintage Restorations is the exclusive North American distributor of Montreux parts. He uses the Montreux line of parts exclusively for his brilliant restoration work and was kind enough to send some examples for review. You can purchase parts directly from him through his website www.gmvintagerestorations.com. For an in depth look at Gords work you can check out his featured Spotlight interview here where he talks about his restoration services, technques and the Montreux line.
Here is what Gord has to say about the Montreux line and how they fint into his restoration business:
300guitars: Who is the brainchild behind the Montreux line of parts?
Gord Miller: Yuichiro Shirakuma is the originator, creator and designer for both Vintage Clone and Montreux. After leaving Fernandes, he started Montreux with the goal in mind of introducing even more accurate vintage replacement parts…”raising the bar” so to speak. Montreux has introduced many new parts over the last year or so. We have just launched ultra authentic soapbar P-90 covers in the correct color and plastic material with all the accurate factory markings. Dogear P-90 covers will be coming down the pike soon, and later this year we plan to introduce perfect reproduction lightweight stop bar and wraparound tailpieces.
300guitars: How accurate is the Montreux line of parts as far as materials and dimensions being true to the originals?
Gord Miller: The Montreux line is very accurate because the majority of parts (knobs, M69s, ABR1s etc) are made from molds of original 50s parts. Mr. Shirakuma is very open to constructive criticism from our customers and he has made some minor changes to some parts to make them even more accurate. He is also very open to customer suggestions as far as what new parts to add to the line and he is willing to make one-off pickguards if the customer can supply a template.
The parts work perfectly with my restorations as many of my customers are missing parts but don’t want to pay a fortune for originals. Mr. Shirakuma’s parts look right at home on a 1950s Les Paul.
300guitars: Where is the Montreux parts line manufactured?
Gord Miller: The parts are manufactured at several factories in the Tokyo area. Mr. Shirakuma has a long history with these factories and has been involved in all product conception and production .
300guitars: How long have you been using Montreux parts for your brilliant restoration work?
Gord Miller: I started dealing with Mr. Shirakuma in the fall/winter of 2006. At that time he was in management with Fernandes and had conceived and launched the Vintage Clone line of parts. We have a great mutually beneficial relationship and I hope to finally meet him in Japan this fall.
The examples that Gord sent down included a set of Gold Top Hat knobs, two replacement Les Paul pickguards, Toggle Plate, Jackplate and M69 pickup rings. These parts looked fantastic in person and here is a description and photos of each part.
First up was a set of 4 Gold Top Hat knobs found on a typical late 1950’s Gibson guitar. These knobs are made of the correct cellulose material with exact sized numbers and proper gold paint. The cellulose material and proper gold paint absolutely sets these apart from other reproduction knobs. I have had the good fortune to have owned some fantastic vintage Gibson guitars throughout the years and have performed repairs and maintenance on many golden era beauties. I have to say that this knob set looks perfect. There is something just “right” about the look and feel of them. I could see if someone who had a vintage Gibson with cracked or missing knobs that these would more than suffice, and for a fraction of the price of an original set. You can see in the photo the difference between a new Historic knob on the left and the Montreaux knob on the right.
Next up were two replacement Les Paul guards. One was cream with cutouts for P-90 pickups and the other for a PAF equipped Les Paul Custom. Each guard was aged to perfection and after being installed on a guitar and played for some time they would probably take on an even more realistically aged appearance.
The cream guard was the correct thickness and had the right color; not too tan and not too pale. The edges had a crispness that contributed to the overall vibe. The black LP Custom guard was equally as realistic looking. The most important thing about this type of guard is the thickness of the individual 5 ply’s, overall thickness and the beveled edge. Sometimes the bevel can be too steep or too shallow making it a dead giveaway that it is a replacement. Montreux nailed both the ply thickness and bevel angle. You can view a template drawing with exact measurements on the Montreux website for their pickguards. This comes in handy when trying to fit a guard to your guitar.
Another detail part for a 1950’s Les Paul is the Toggle Plate or “poker chip” as it is called by many LP enthusiasts. Montreux makes two cream versions of this part. One is for earlier model LP’s and one is for later models. The one I received was an earlier model with bold lettering. This part again looked right on the money and even came with the correct toggle switch nut. The nut looked perfect and has the right “roundness” to the knurls. This little detail part would certainly add more realism to any LP whether it be a current reissue or a replacement for an original vintage instrument.
The cream replacement jackplate again was right on the money with the correct square corners, not rounded like some replacements. This particular part always breaks or cracks on original guitars. Some dry out and become disfigured and are basically useless. Montreux to the rescue with a faithful repro! The back of the aged type jackplate even has marks where a locknut would have been for decades. A very subtle but nice detail.
Last in the LP category was a pair of aged M69 mounting rings. This part is arguably one of the most elusive to find a great reproduction of. Many of the original rings have cracked beyond repair and are rendered useless. Mr. Shirakuma saw a need for a suitable replacement and he has reproduced the M69 ring from a mold of an original. This is the first commercially available replica to be made of the correct chalky looking rubbery material. Each ring has the right tooling marks and according to Montreux, the right sound when dropped on a table top! There is actually a sound clip of this on their website. How is that for detail? The aged set I received looked perfect in color, markings and just overall vibe. A set of these non-aged rings on a Historic LP would definitely take the look up a notch or two. All I can say is if you have a vintage late 50’s LP (lucky you!) and your rings are literally falling apart these replicas would work perfectly.
And last up was a replica bakelite Telecaster guard which is my personal fave because I am somewhat of a Tele-nut. The original black Tele guards are very hard to come by these days and if you do find one expect to pay…. and pay some more. If you have an original blackguard Tele then it is worth to spend the big bucks to complete your instrument and have it be all original. But if you cannot find one or you are building an accurate reproduction then this is your best option. Again I have had the good fortune to have owned several blackguard Tele’s and worked on many over the years with my association with various vintage guitar shops. Keeping in mind that each component of a vintage guitar ages differently because of environment, playing wear, UV exposure and countless other conditions this guard looks great. I have seen them over the years be dull and mottled and some still somewhat glossy. Some had the paint can ring on the bottom and others did not for some reason. The guard I received was perfect for a guitar that had been played a lot and not kept under a bed for 50+ years. I mounted this guard to my Mark Jenny body and it looked perfect! It even had the right bakelite smell. The fit was perfect and all details were there; sharp edges, paint can ring and the aging was just right for this guitar. This part completed the look of my project and I could not be happier with the results.
The Montreux line of replacement parts also includes pickups, pickup covers for P-90 and PAF type pickups, ABR-1 reproduction bridges, tortoise side dots, ’59 LP position markers, backplates, pickguards and switch tips among many other Gibson type parts. Some new additions include 1954 Stratocaster knobs, “football” switchtip, steel trem block, bakelite pickup covers for Stratocaster and a wide assortment of reproduction screws. There are many, many more parts for restoration or replacement available and all Montreux parts are available in new or aged condition. You can order any of these parts directly from Gord Miller of GM Vintage restorations. If you have a golden era instrument or want to upgrade the look of a newer guitar Montreux is your “one-stop shopping” resource for the finest replacement parts available today!
Gord Miller – GM Vintage Restorations
Montreux Guitar Parts