How to Remove a Guitar Pickguard


Pickguards come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all serve the same basic purposes. First, the pickguard protects the part of the guitar body most likely to be damaged by the pick during aggressive strumming. Second, but equally important, the pickguard is a major element of the guitar's overall appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Philips-head screwdriver (for electric)
  • Hairdryer (for acoustic)

Removal From Electric Guitar

  • Lay the guitar flat. To begin, the guitar should be laid on a stable flat surface, such as a work bench or desk, with the strings facing up.

  • Loosen or remove the strings. Turn the tuning pegs to remove tension from the strings and make it easier for the pickguard to eventually be lifted up over the pickups. It's not necessary to remove the strings entirely, but removing the pickguard provides a good opportunity to remove and replace them.

  • Use the screwdriver to remove the screws around the perimeter of the pickguard. When all the screws are removed the pickguard should slide up over the pickups. Be careful not to lose the screws.

Removal From Acoustic Guitar

  • Lay the guitar flat. The guitar should be laid on a stable flat surface, such as a work bench or desk, with the strings facing up. It should be positioned so you will have easy access to the pickguard.

  • Apply heat to the pickguard. Use the hairdryer to apply heat to one end of the pickguard. This will loosen the adhesive holding the pickguard to the body of the guitar.

  • Peel up the pickguard. Use your fingers to peel up the heated edge of the pickguard. Do not pull hard on the pickguard, to avoid damaging the wood. Wait until the heat loosens the adhesive enough for the pickguard to be peeled off easily. It may be necessary to use a plastic putty knife or nylon filament to lift the initial edge.

  • Move heat across the pickguard and peel slowly. As the corner comes up, slowly move the heat further down the length of the pickguard. Continue to gently peel up on the pickguard until it is removed entirely. Use wood naptha to remove any remaining adhesive on the wood.

Tips & Warnings

  • Removing the pickup of an acoustic guitar using this method will render it useless.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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