How to Install a Pickguard

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Pickguards are not only a stylish accessory on a guitar, but also protect the body from damage while a player strums. They also hide the electronics and wiring inside of electric guitars. At times it is necessary to change the pickguard on a guitar due to damage or normal wear and tear.

Things You'll Need

  • Towel
  • Table
  • Hair dryer
  • Putty knife
  • Dental floss
  • Replacement pickguard
  • Phillips-head screwdriver

Acoustic Guitar

  • Place a towel or sheet down on the table space you will be working at. The table should be at a height where you can comfortably reach the face of the guitar while standing.

  • Lay the guitar on its back and remove the strings if you need to. Some acoustic guitars have pickguards only around the bottom edge of the sound hole and you can leave the strings on the guitar. If the pickguard extends under the strings, however, they will have to be taken off.

  • Use a hair dryer to warm the adhesive holding the pickguard in place. Begin from one corner and use your fingers or a putty knife to gently pry up the pickguard as the glue loosens. Slide a piece of dental floss under the pickguard and pull it under the pickguard to free it from the guitar.

  • Apply naphtha to the remaining adhesive on the guitar’s body and clean the area with a soft cloth.

  • Remove the plastic sheeting on the back of the new pickguard to expose the adhesive and carefully place it on the guitar’s body so it covers up any color difference that may have been exposed when the old pickguard was removed. Press down firmly on the entire pickguard to remove any air bubbles trapped underneath.

Electric Guitar

  • Place a towel or sheet down on the table space you will be working at. The table should be at a height that allows you to comfortably reach the face of the guitar while standing. Lay the guitar on its back and remove the strings. If the guitar has a detachable bridge piece, such as those on a Gibson SG, set it aside.

  • Use a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the screws on the outer edge of the pickguard. Place them in a safe area where they will not get lost.

  • Use your screwdriver to unscrew and remove the pole-adjusting screws that hold the pickups in place. The pickups will drop into the body of the guitar. Remove the pickguard and collect the springs that were freed from the pole-adjusting screws.

  • Attach the pickups in their correct positions on the new pickguard. Slide the pole-adjusting screws into the pickguard, place the springs around the screws on the underside of the pickguard and screw the pole adjusters into the pickups.

  • Set the pickguard into place on the guitar body and replace the remaining screws to complete the installation.

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References

  • Photo Credit guitar-acoustic image by Jeffrey Zalesny from Fotolia.com
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