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could i do any damage replacing a scratchplate?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by hanx, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. I liked the bass, so i bought it, but i'm not so enthused by the design on my scratchplate, it's not really "me".

    It seems to be clear perspex with the design etched into the back. It seems purely decorative (except in my innitial groping it does seem to provide a few nifty thumb-resting spots) but if i just took it off it would leave screw holes.

    I'm thinking of replacing it with a coloured perspex piece with a design of my own etched into it. I think i could do an ok hand-etching which would do Norman Lindsay proud if i could get perspex the right density texture etc.

    Is there much that i could do wrong?

    I imagine i just need to find another piece of perspex and someone with the right tools to cut it to shape for me? Screwing it on shouldn't be a problem?

    Would the screws loosen quickly taking them in and out? I'm not 100% sure what the body is, but it's an Ibanez SRX limitted edition, and the other SRX bodies are "Quilted Maple top/Mahogany wing body" or just mahogany according to the website.

    If the screws do loosen and i need to replace them with bigger screws is there much risk of screwing through into electronics?
  2. Do you know if some perspex can react with the paint job? It's black paint with a very slight glittery metallicness to it. I've noticed erasers and plastic rullers left in pencil-cases together a few years can fuse as if they've been melted together. Do the finnishes on guitars do anything odd like that?
  3. Bardley


    Nov 16, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    If you are careful taking the screws out you shouldn't do any damage. You also shouldn't have a problem with screw holes stripping out. If they do strip, just insert a toothpick and break it off in the hole, then carefully drop a drop of super glue in and let dry. Tighten the screw and you are good to go.

    Also, there are tons of places that make custom pickguards out there if you want something different. Or just leave it off. People do it with Jazz basses all the time.
  4. ErebusBass


    Feb 20, 2008
    Madison, WI
    You'd have to be trying pretty hard to screw something up changing a pick guard.
  5. Sounds good, just thought i should check there wasn't anything i hadn't thought of before i took to my shiny new toy with a screwdriver, thanks :)

    Yeah, someone suggested getting a custom pickgurard. But given perspex is a bit of an odd thing to make a pick-guard out of anyway, i imagine that anyone who had the tools and skill to cut perspex right for me would be able to do pretty much as good a job of it as someone with specific pick-guard experience? (I live in an appartment with no suitable place for a workshop, i only have the tools to assemble flat-pack furniture.)

    So it's also ok to leave it off for a bit while i'm working on it? Take the first one off and trace it, and then leave it naked for a few weeks while get a copy made and decorate it.

    Has anyone had any experience with plastics reacting strangely to the paints on bodies? Plastics can be strange creatures.

    it took me a while to re-conquor my photobucket account
    the design is kinda nice, just not really my style, it's a bit too girly, i'll still probably keep the original somewhere for if i change my mind back.
  6. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Your Ibanez is likely a polyester paint finish, in which case little to nothing is going to "react" with it. A new perspex pickguard is really unlikely to create any problems with the finish.

    You're fine to leave it off while you get a new one made, but keep in mind you might get a scratch or two on your naked body. If you're worried about this, just take off your existing pickguard, trace the exact shape including holes onto a piece of paper and then put it back onto your bass. That way its protected while you make a new one.

    You can make a pickguard out of almost anything; floor tiles, linoleum, wood, plastic, glass, metal, etc. Pretty much any material that can be shaped and is thin will work just fine. Pickguard "blanks" are usually available from a variety of vendors online and locally (depending on where you live).

    If you're making a new one out of perspex, the only little pitfall you might come across is buffing the beveled edges so they are clear. You'll need a rubbing compound to do this and probably power-tool assistance to make the job go quickly. Looking up techniques online regarding how to buff plastics will help.

    Good luck and please post up the results when you're done...
  7. matt edges are fine, the current pick-guard doesn't have polished edges so as long as it's smoth to touch that's fine.

    Don't think i'll be able to get an off-the-shelf pick-guard for it, it's a limitted edition SRX and none of the others in that series even have the pick-guard. It might be the same shape as the guard on something else, but i imagine just making it custom would be quicker and cheaper than finding one that matched.

    I like the perspex idea, but just for curiosuty, wouldn't a metal pick-guard cause interfearance, being so close to the pick-up? When i pluck the E string and have the amp cranked it can start the other strings going, i image it would also set a metal pick-guard reverberating as well? Or are the pick-ups only effected by metal vibrations staright above them where the srtings are?

    Now i just need a sourse of perspex, don't suppose you know what sort of shop would sell me red perspex? I imagine there isn't really such thing as a perspex shop?
  8. e-mailed a few plastics places about it today.

    if i get one made up which is a few mm (1/8 inch to 1/4 inch) thinner, which would mean the screws go through a few mm (1/8 inch to 1/4 inch) deeper, is that likely to do anything nasty like hit wiring?

    do you know of any places that do them on-line? seems unlikely they'd have one off-the-shelf? since this some odd limitted edition and none of the other SRX have a pick-guard.
  9. robert43


    Jun 5, 2007
    The only real damge you could is to your credit card
  10. vbasscustom


    Sep 8, 2008
    no, the screws for a pick guard are generally so small you couldnt hit anything if you tried

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