Custom pickguard?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by dabass, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. dabass

    dabass Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2005
    What is a "reasonable" charge for a custom pickguard? The bass is already built (cost $4500, not going to mention the Luthier) and ready for purchase. I wanted to add a pickguard. Cost to cut and fit the pickguard is an additional $500? Its giving me a bad feeling... Gauging? Am I being unreasonable? i really like the bass but out of "principle" I'm thinking I cant pull the trigger.
  2. Harry Cahyadi

    Harry Cahyadi Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2013
    Clayton, VIC, Australia
    C Basses Owner & Builder
    If I were you I will get it done by the luthier.

    Getting somebody else to do it means most likely, you need to send your bass to him, to make sure it fits.

    I think $500 is a reasonable price, because the luthier needs to cut and drill some holes on a finished bass, which is quite risky.
  3. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    $500 seems a bit excessive to me, but considering it's a $4500 bass, it kind of scales with the builders pricing.
    organworthyplayer337 likes this.
  4. fjadams


    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    Totally ridiculous! The blank costs $25 to $50, he already has the template set up so takes just a few minutes of time. And thinking that somebody who makes $4,500 basses can't drill 8 or 9 holes to mount it is ludicrous at best.

    If I was paying that much for a bass and was told that much extra for the pickguard I'd be very much wondering if I ended up paying $4,500 for a bass that was worth almost half that.
    Alik and Gilmourisgod like this.
  5. Think about it like this:

    Its not unreasonable for a company to charge $60/hr for labour to cover overhead + wages. I don't think it is unreasonable to think someone would spend a whole day to make this pickguard. He has to make templates, cut the guard, fine tune and clean up, then mount it. 8hrs x $60/hr = $480. Plus $20 in material (which is cheap).

    That being said... I would not pay $500 for a pickguard myself... but I also don't think I will ever pay $4500 for a bass either.
  6. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    You don't know that, he may not use pick guards on his basses and might have to start from scratch.
  7. fjadams


    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    Might not. But an experienced luthier should be able to get a pickguard done pretty quick and easy.
  8. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Maybe, it's a 'go away price'. Meaning I'll do it, but don't wanna mess up my product, so I'm gonna make you not want it.
  9. fjadams


    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    You might have something there.
  10. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    I'm sure that's what it is. I admit that I get a little insulted when a customer tells me that they love my bass, and they'll buy it if I'll just change this, this, and this. I just tell them no, I don't customize my basses other than small functional things. I'd rather have that customer walk away, and I'll find someone else who likes my bass the way it is.

    He knows that, after he modifies the bass to your taste, the odds are high that you still won't like it, and will want to return it. Then he's stuck with it. Been there, done that.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015
    MarkoYYZ and Hopkins like this.
  11. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I am not saying that the actual labor and material is worth $500, but the fact that he is being asked to modify a finished instrument, and risk possibly damaging a $4500 instrument, I think he has every right to ask that price. If someone asked me to make a custom pick guard for a $4500 bass the price would go up with the risk involved.
  12. HardNHeavy


    Apr 17, 2014
    a bit pricey for a piece of plastic, but since the bass cost $4500, what the hell and throw in those gold plated roundwounds for another $1,000 a string:smug: The cost of $500 for a pickguard is the insurance if he screws it up. But if the man is experienced he should know what he's doing.......I dunno, a bit out of my price range....But it is an investment at that price.