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Installing a Clear Pickguard
© Frank Ford, 3/4/98; Photos by FF, 3/2/98

The clear pickguard material I like best is the .005" thick stuff L.M.I. sells. I sometimes use the 0.003" thick plastic that's sold in stationery stores as laminating sheet protectors. It's clear plastic with adhesive and a white paper backing. Flamenco players need lots more protection, so I'll use the heavier .015"mylar material I get from a classical guitar supplier.

Here's how I go about installing the material over a sound finish. If the finish is already scratched, the pickguard material will not adhere solidly, and there will be the classic little silvery highlights showing through where there's no contact in the scratches. I'd rather see the finish repaired first before installing a clear pickguard!

For this job, I'm using .003" material from the local stationery store.

First, I'll clean the area with water and a little detergent. Just wiping with a rag is likely to cause dust to be attracted by static electricity:

I can cut the pickguard to the exact shape I want with a pair of sharp scissors, checking the fit around the soundhole, bridge, or body contour:

Here, my customer wanted a big guard that fits right next to the bridge and soundhole edge. I must be careful not to let the pickguard actually touch the bridge so that later the edge won't buckle up.

Now I'll place the guard in the exact position I want, and I'll tape down the straightest edge. That way, I can fold the guard back on the tape "hinge" and place it back precisely and quickly:

I'll open my little "pickguard door" and start peeling the backing paper away right next to the hinge:

Here I have just about 1/2" peeled back.



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