Aluminum Pickguards and Tone

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by russpurdy, Dec 12, 2013.


  1. russpurdy

    russpurdy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2013
    Hey guys. I was wondering if anyone could tell me if an anodized aluminum pickguard would have any effect on the tone of a bass (P Bass in particular). I have one on my squier affinity P bass and the bass sounds brassy and harsh overall. I have an old set up japanese squier vintage spec pickups in it and was wondering if the pickguard would be conttributing anything tone wise? Thanks!
  2. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    The most it can do (and I'm sure if I'm wrong I'll be corrected) is to improve the shielding to about the same as pickguards that have shielding built in. That's it, no tonal change.
  3. snyderz

    snyderz

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2000
    Location:
    AZ mountains
    I put an aluminum guard on my SB-2 with no noticeable change or problems.

    Attached Files:

  4. Jim C

    Jim C Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    I have experimented with this years ago including no guard and came to the conclusion that my evaluation couldn't be accurate unless the test was done simultaneously with the same strings.
    IMO, if there is a difference it is really small, meaning my friends 57' metal guard sounds pretty close to my 60' with a tort guard.
    Honestly, the neck thickness and fingerboard probably make a bigger difference.

    OTOH, I would love to read about a more scientific test.
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  6. Thrillhouse

    Thrillhouse Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I have a gold anodized aluminum pickguard on my American Special P bass and it has no discernable impact on tone whatsoever (at least to my ears). I bought it simply because I thought it would look cool on my candy apple red bass, which it absolutely does.

    Now, I know that in the guitar world there is an ongoing debate about whether or not an aluminum pickguard alters tone (at least I've read many, many threads on various forums implicating that there is) but I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will drop in here and clarify what it does/doesn't do to an instruments sound.
  7. wraub

    wraub

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2004
    Location:
    ennui, az
    Disclosures:
    I'll have an IPA, please.
    I have 3 different pickguards for my P bass,and the ano aluminum one seemed to have a (very, very) slight effect on the sound of the bass. I liked it, so I kept it on there.
    YMMV, for sure.
  8. russpurdy

    russpurdy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2013
    right on, thanks guys. I guess I was personifying the metallic, bright tone and thinking it must be the metallic pickguard causing it. I might throw the plastic one back on just as an experiment and see what happens.

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