Aging a pickguard

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by roller, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. roller

    roller Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Aside from immersing in Rit dye, does anyone have any methods for aging a white 3-ply (w/b/w) pickguard?

    Muchos gracias, amigos.
  2. b3e


    Sep 5, 2017
    Warsaw, Poland
    Try to search YouTube fore coffee staining, you could add some gentle scratches with steel wool or high grit sandpaper and stain that afterwards. Works great on white, also for other plastic parts like knobs.
  3. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I did the coffee staining. First, I roughed up the guard a bit with some fine grit sandpaper. Not very much, though. Just enough so it would soak up the stain. Then, I got an Igloo cooler that the guard would fit in, and laid it in there on top of 3 pennies (anything that will suspend it off the bottom will work though). Lastly, I brewed up the strongest coffee I could make. Enough to submerge the pick guard. I left it that way for 3 or 4 days on my front porch, and it came out somewhere between parchment and cream colored. Plus, the light sanding looks like light scratching from using a pick. I was told to do it this way by a shop here in Nashville (Southbound Custom Southbound Custom LLC | Guitar Finishing Since 2005). Worked like a charm!
    Dec1975, Low84 and EpicSoundtracks like this.
  4. Oren Hudson

    Oren Hudson

    Dec 25, 2007
    Gastonia, NC
    A pic would be worth a thousand words.
  5. roller

    roller Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Thanks for the response! I'm geeked to give this method a shot. Somewhere between parchment and cream is exactly what I'm looking for.

    Will the pickguard sink in the coffee? Or do you need to push it down below the surface with something?
    Lownote38 likes this.
  6. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    Extremely strong instant coffee. Like 1/2 a jar to a cup of water. 24 hts usually does it. Then polish out w/ scratch x where the hi wear ares are.
  7. mysteryclock

    mysteryclock Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    If you're looking for light-based aging, why not just get a UV grow light and put it under that for a while. That should simulate years of UV exposure in a relatively short period of time.

    Just be careful the heat from the light (if it isn't an LED one) doesn't warp the pick guard.

    Because, you know, that's what UV grow lights are actually for - aging bass parts. Yeah, that's it.
  8. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    I've left a couple of pickguards in the sun for a few hours and had good results. It depends how far you want to go with the ageing. I would maybe knock the glassy shine back a bit with a Scotchbrite, and then maybe buff it back to a subtle shine.

    Guitar modders go quite far with all of this. I've seen guys reproduce worn '60s Strat pickguards, right down to the grooves the knobs wear into the top of the pickguard, fake dirt worked into the surface, tooling chatter marks reproduced in the bevel on the side... the sky is the limit.
  9. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    69F3C600-342D-46A7-A781-E6E000BFE3A0.jpeg The correct answer is aged cream pearl: always the correct answer on the rare occasions that the incorrect answer is tort.
  10. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Suspended Supporting Member

    Dave's World of Fun Stuff (YouTube) has some videos of him restoring an old Kay electric guitar, and he ages a new pick guard in one of them. IIRC, he used strong tea to do it. Seemed to work pretty well, too...:)
  11. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Funny (true) story: Back in the olden days clubs were filled with cigarette smoke pretty much all the time, and guitar parts yellowed from the tar in the smoke, not from strong tea. So during one build I had the bright idea to put a white pickguard up on top of the chandelier near the ceiling in a club we were playing regularly, thinking it would get "pre-smoked" pretty good. Except, they decided to remodel the club and I didn't get by there until midway through the job. ...chandelier gone! Yes, there has to be a better way than that :)!
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
    AlBass likes this.
  12. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I don't remember it floating, but it might. If it does, open a pair of vice grips in the pickup route in the pickguard until it holds it down under the coffee (vice grips you don't mind washing after the fact!).
  13. AlBass

    AlBass Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2018
    Haha, nice try though!
    TomB likes this.