Got questions? We’ve got answers.
What makes you different?
I craft my pickguards by hand…one at a time…to order, not by using a CNC machine, hundreds at a time. You get to choose the material, layout, edge details and other options that are simply not possible with mass-produced pickguards. There is a time and place for CNC-made guards, but not for onesies or small runs.
Will my pickguard fit?
My goal is to provide a pickguard that is done right the first time. That’s one of the reasons I got into the business in the first place. Back before I started making pickguards, I ordered way too many guards that just didn’t fit. I expected a guard that would bolt right on with no problems or modifications to the guitar. They just weren’t available back then.
So I should send my guard and not a tracing?
I guarantee a perfect fit if you send your original guard to use as a guide. I can get pretty close from a tracing, but there can be a little variance and, of course, a template fee. Even the best tracings are off a little because of the thickness of the pencil or pen tip. The best option is always to send your original guard. That way I can see what holes need countersunk and other subtleties that a tracing can’t convey. Even if I’m modifying the final guard, having the original is a great starting point.
Don’t you already have a template?
I have literally hundreds of templates for different models. You might think a Strat is a Strat or a Tele is a Tele, but I have bins filled with slightly different versions. The shapes are slightly different, the screw holes, pickups, bridge and neck pockets are in different spots…I could go on and on. It all depends on when and where your guitar was made and even then I’ve had variations from the same factory and era. So much for consistency in manufacturing!
Can you change pickup cuts or controls?
Absolutely…that’s my specialty! A lot of players want to change pickups for a different sound or look. Many guitars can accept different pickups with no changes to the body. Others require routing the body. I can do practically any pickup layout, but it’s important to know how your guitar is routed and if you are willing to route the body, if necessary.
What edge options do you offer?
I offer flush, rounded-over and beveled edges with a standard 45 degree and vintage 30 degree angle like Fender and Gibson used in the 60’s. If you’re not sure which to choose, we can discuss the look you’re going for. I hand-finish the edges with three grades of sandpaper to eliminate all machining marks and give the bevel a proper look. On some projects, the edges are buffed to a shine that matches the top.
Can you make a totally custom pickguard?
I work with a lot of individuals, small builders and some large builders that need totally custom designs. Sometimes it’s a new body style; other times it’s a modified shape of a traditional guard. I’ve worked with everything from a drawing on a napkin to the actual body, which I prefer. Because of the custom work involved, these kinds of projects require extra time and usually cost a little more, but I can guarantee it will be worth it!
How long does it take?
Many projects can be done a week or less. Some projects that need extra attention or painting take a little longer. I always try to complete projects as soon as possible, but I take the extra time when it’s needed. I know you want it done fast, but I want to make sure it’s done right!
What kinds of materials do you have?
I stock all of the standard pickguard materials that customers expect. I also carry a lot of custom colors and finishes that you can’t find anywhere else. I work with plastic manufacturers and suppliers directly to source the best materials available today. I make a lot of guards made from clear material painted on the back like old Rickenbacker and Gretsch guards. I don’t work with wood or metals, but I’ll be happy to put you in touch with companies that do if you need those materials.
Do you make bound pickguards for archtop guitars?
Yes, in fact bound guards are another one of my specialties. Reproducing accurate bound guards from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s is sometimes difficult given the limited selection of today’s materials. I always try to use celluloid material whenever possible, because the original guards are usually made of this material. The materials are very expensive and these projects require a lot of hand work, so they are priced accordingly. But they are still usually around $200, which really isn’t a lot when you are working with a $10,000 guitar.
Do you make guards for acoustic guitars?
The plastic I use is usually too thick for acoustic guitars. If the plastic is too thick, it deadens the sound. Also, replacing acoustic guards is tricky, especially on vintage instruments whose guards are sometimes under the finish. I always recommend taking projects like this to a local luthier or repair shop because novices can do irreversible damage to the top trying to pry off old pickguards.