How to Get Rid of Pick Scratches on Guitars


Playing guitar with a pick increases volume and creates bright tone. Unfortunately, picks also scratch the surface of the instrument. No matter how carefully you play, a pick will inevitably leave marks on your guitar. Pickguards protect guitar finishes; a scratched pickguard may make your instrument less attractive. Some guitars don't have pickguards and picking scratches damage the instrument's finish. Superficial scratches to pickguards and a guitar's finish can be repaired , restoring your instrument to a like-new appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Guitar polish
  • Polishing compound
  • Plastic polish
  • Clean cotton cloths

Inspecting Scratches

  • Polish the guitar with a high quality guitar polish. Spray polish on the guitar surface and wipe with a clean cotton cloth. Turn the cloth over after wiping the polish away and wipe the guitar again to remove any residue.

  • Gently run the tip of your fingernail across any scratches on the guitar. Listen for a clicking sound as your fingernail passes over scratches.

  • Take the guitar to a professional to have the finish repaired or the pickguard replaced if you hear clicks; the pickguard scratches are too deep for simple repairs. If there are no clicks, you should be able to fix the scratches yourself.

Removing Scratches from Pickguards

  • Purchase plastic polish from a hobby shop, automotive supply store or hardware store.

  • Place the guitar on a clean, well-lighted work area. Good lighting makes scratches easier to see.

  • Dampen a clean cotton cloth with water. Apply plastic polish to the cloth and rub the polish onto the pickguard. Rub across scratches at a 90-degree angle, applying pressure to the pickguard. Don't press too hard, you risk breaking the guitar top.

  • Allow the polish to dry to a dull haze. Remove dried polish with a clean, dry cloth. Turn the cloth over and rub the pickguard in small circles to buff away any residue.

  • Repeat the polishing process if scratches remain in the pickguard.

Removing Scratches from Guitar Finish

  • Obtain polishing compound from a hobby shop, automotive supply store, or hardware store. Polishing compound is also referred to as scratch remover.

  • Place the guitar on a clean, well-lighted work surface.

  • Apply polishing compound on a clean, dry cloth. Gently rub the compound onto the scratched surface, making small circles over the scratch.

  • Allow the polish to dry to a dull haze.

  • Wipe away dried polish with a clean cloth. Rub the cloth in small circles, until the polish is gone. Turn the cloth over and buff the finish with the clean side to remove any residue.


  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images
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