Wooden pickguards: DIY-able?

I have a guitar with some very gnarly finish issues in the picking area. Rather than refinishing, I thought it might be simpler and more decorative to just slap a nice wooden pickguard over it.

Maybe you all can talk me out doing this DIY: I've heard you can cut pieces of wood veneer to the contours you need, but beyond that what else would go into installing one:

  • Do I need to sand down the finish under it as a surface to glue to?
  • Is the best glue to use hide glue?
  • Do I need to finish the top of the pickguard with some thing?
  • What's the best way to clamp it down (petit bouche)?
  • Any considerations with respect to how this might affect the resonance of the guitar's top?


  • TomasTomas CzechNew Oval By luthier Jakub Hřib
    edited February 17 Posts: 23

    I would be careful about permanent pickguard if your guitar is valuable. What will you do after same issue on the pickguard? I would recommend some glue you can remove by heat or alcohol at least and very thin harder wood to save the sound if you really want wooden pickguard.

  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira MF01, Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 786

    I have installed two pickguards on my Alex Bishop guitar. I used wood veneers and tite bond and removed them with a heat gun. As far as I can tell it hasn't affected the sound at all.

    TomasBill Da Costa WilliamsrudolfochristBuco
    always learning
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,027

    you can get those clear plastic ones that don't use glue to stick on. easily removable too.

  • bbwood_98bbwood_98 Brooklyn, NyProdigy Vladimir music! Les Effes. . Its the best!
    Posts: 517

    @V-dub Depends on the guitar, but Ideally I think The above rec about titebond, don't remove the finish, do sand the veneer to a very smooth surface on both sides (also, make sure that the pores of the wood are not clogged in any way - fan, hair dryer on cold, and so on). Titebond will bond most likely to every finish (luthiers chime in here please); and when removing it, you will this way not be as likely to take any wood from the top when the pick guard comes off.

    This will affect the top - as adding weight always does, but perhaps not a noticeable way. Someone smarter then me can chime in on that, it would stiffen an area of the top, and that could affect sound . .

    Good luck let us know how it goes.

    Ps. morning coffee series has been inspiring!

  • Posts: 3,059

    That looks very cool, but as Tomas said eventually you'll have to deal with the worn pickguard. I guess it's fine if you don't mind redoing it eventually.

    I use cellphone screen covers, got the tip here on the forum. They're perfect, super cheap when you get one for old model phone and work perfectly fine, stay in place barely noticable and easy to remove without any sticky stuff left behind, just perfect.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • TomasTomas CzechNew Oval By luthier Jakub Hřib
    Posts: 23

    @Buco That's sacrilegious and totally genius in the same time! :D

  • V-dubV-dub San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭
    edited February 18 Posts: 285

    Appreciate the suggestions for the cell phone covers (I have done this a lot in the past, actually) but the finish is so roughed up in that region that putting a clear guard over it wont stick and will look bad with lots of air pockets.

    Plus the finish seems so fragile that removable sticky things actually seem to pull up finish! In fact, that's part of how it got so messed up. I was trying to remove an adhesive clear guard. Not sure why. It's perhaps the most brittle finish I've ever encountered. Not sure if this was due to how the guitar was stored or treated by the previous owner. Pictures attached, maybe you can tell me why.

    The guitar is a 2012 Lebreton, so it really should not be old enough to be cracking the way it is. But maybe it's a specific kind of polish that is susceptible to that

    I suppose it's really just a cosmetic issue and the guitar still sounds wonderful. Might actually look pretty cool with some scars. But this stuff can get under your skin, as you know.

    Thanks for mentioning my morning coffee sessions series, Ben. I also attached a video of me playing this guitar.

    BucoTomasWim GlennBill Da Costa Williamsbillyshakesrudolfochrist
  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    Posts: 1,175

    Wow Vic if that's your idea of a "very gnarly issue", then you would really hate my guitar! :D

    This Lebreton looks (and sounds) lovely, an ugly wooden pick guard would be a disservice. Just my 0.00000038 BTC ...

  • TomasTomas CzechNew Oval By luthier Jakub Hřib
    edited February 18 Posts: 23

    @V-dub Sounds really good and not just the guitar. And I agree with Wim Glenn about his guitar. My is 3years old and look's like from Django all ready. :D But my very thin semi gloss lacquer helps to look not that bad..actually I like it. High gloss is less forgivable sometimes, but I still like the look of your guitar from the picture and video!

  • Posts: 3,059

    I'd try to a little refinishing just there, light sanding and touch up. I'm not buying into the "scars" talk either so it would bother me too.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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