Custom pickguards, UK?

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Doog
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Custom pickguards, UK?

Post by Doog »

Hey gang, I'm after a repro/copy of an existing guard, bevelling and all; anyone got any solid, cost-savvy recommendations that won't involve some longass waiting list or whatever?

I remember using Sim's Guitar Works UK years ago, and the guard turned up late AND in the wrong colour (BWB rather than WBW 🙄 ), so keen to not fuck around with goombas.

Thanks!
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timhulio
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Re: Custom pickguards, UK?

Post by timhulio »

I'd like to know too. Last I checked they were really expensive from guitar techs. There must be some money to be made cutting pickguards, but it's a fair bit of work and with custom stuff the likelihood of getting something wrong and having a grumpy customer is high. Come back dazbootman, all is forgiven.
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Thom
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Re: Custom pickguards, UK?

Post by Thom »

Worth sending earlpilanz a message on eBay? May be able to do a custom/repro guard if you send him the tracing.
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Doog
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Re: Custom pickguards, UK?

Post by Doog »

Ah yeah, good shout, Thom. I've just ordered a 1ply HH Strat guard for me (with a few tweaks) and he's always affordable so shoulda thought of that out the gate!

I can even send him the OG guard which seems to be preferable for these guys; fewer reasons for there to be an issues.
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Re: Custom pickguards, UK?

Post by Thom »

Nice one 👍
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Re: Custom pickguards, UK?

Post by ekwatts »

I've taken to using regular styrene/abs plastic sheet materials to cut my own 'guards recently. I've done it "properly" a bunch of times, using a table router and an already laminated 3-ply sheet of pickguard material but out of maybe five attempts, only two were not a disaster, and the tiny bits the process leaves pretty much everywhere are a nuisance.

So instead what I do is create the basic template out of 5mm wood or, more recently, PAL board (it's a foamed PVC material more often used for signage but it cuts great) then use that to screw the individual sheets of styrene to it and cut them using a scalpel or even a clunky hobby knife. So if you're making a 3 ply b/w/b guard, you'd just do each 0.5 or 0.75mm piece each. You'll have variances, but as long as you align them by the screw holes you're basically good. Then it's a case of simply applying a thin layer of styrene glue or acetone between the sheets, piling heavy books on them, and leaving them for a night.

Then you sand the whole thing to shape. Then it's a case of scraping the bevel into the edges and countersinking the screw holes on the front of the board. These are, in turn, the messiest and then noisiest bits of the process, with the countersinking process the only point at which you'll need a power tool.

UNLESS. Your styrene/abs sheet isn't gloss to begin with. Then you'll need to do a high grit sanding and then buff the thing to death. But that's it.

It's a more involved process than going the table router.. route, but the pros are that there are fewer chances of catastrophic failure, the materials are cheaper (well, probably the same?), it's quieter, it's not quite as messy, you get to sniff some chemicals, etc.

Styrene sheet, PAL foam and plastic glue (thin, it needs to be the thinnest you can get, in a pot with a brush on the lid, although you'd best use a slightly bigger brush for better coverage) is all fairly cheap from hobby suppliers. And if you get multiple sheets of material, you can make a saving and have spares.
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Re: Custom pickguards, UK?

Post by sunshiner »

Yeah, pickguard material is way too expensive. I've been thinking of buying an ABS sheet and cutting pickguards out of it. I don't want to pay like $20-40 for a piece of plastic
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Doog
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Re: Custom pickguards, UK?

Post by Doog »

ekwatts wrote: Tue Jan 31, 2023 6:21 am [...]
Yeah, I made one myself over Xmas at my folks, but it's not as fancy as I'd like. Plus, I don't have the means by which to bevel it in a way that'd look good, so figured I'd go PRO
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Re: Custom pickguards, UK?

Post by ekwatts »

Yeah, bevelling is probably one of the most tedious bits. You definitely get better at it with practice, though. The Jazzy pickguard I did for the filtertrons was infinitely better than the ones I'd done for the teardrop. I used a blunt metal scraper tool and just made sure I dragged toward myself in the longest strokes I could manage without slipping off the edge. Like a snail, crawling across a razor...

No matter how careful you are, curly or rounded edges are a fucking nightmare. I dealt with those with a bit of a combination of scraping and sanding. I'd sand first to try and get the slope in, then I'd bevel along the slope to give it more definition. Again, it was far, faaaaar better than the previous efforts I'd made.

Anyway yeah, why the fuck are pickguards so fucking expensive now?
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