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DIY Pickguard

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Satyr Day, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. Satyr Day

    Satyr Day

    Aug 26, 2005

    I'm looking to make a pickguard to replace the plastic one that I've got and want to make it out of an exotic wood.

    How do I think this through, and where might I find sources for wood?

    The little info that I've gathered seems to suggest that this isn't as easy as finding a 1/8" sheet of, say, Macassar Ebony, cutting it out and popping it into place.

    What am I up against with this project?
  2. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA

    Actually that's exactly how easy it was for me. I did a test pickguard out of 1/8" baltic birch plywood.
    photo here: http://lordgoogle.com/bass/mim_fretless_jazz.html
    Currently working on a flamed maple piece I just got to replace the plywood test.

    You'll want to finish it, or you'll get thumbgrease all over it, but it's pretty simple really. Lots of threads on wood finishing in here, so I won't get into that.

    I just found I site that I have yet to order from, but he has an awesome selection and great prices. The cuts I've seen from him have amazing figure too. I've IMed with him (Dirk iirc) and he seems like a really good guy.
  3. Satyr Day

    Satyr Day

    Aug 26, 2005
    BEAUTIFUL! Thanks for the info.
    I'm feeling like this project is really going to happen now.

    ThinBoards isn't far from me, here in Chicago. He's out in the 'burbs.

    Were there any surprises with your test pickguard? Why are you going through all of this? Why wood?
  4. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    You think the average hobby shop will carry this?
  5. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    my local Rockler Hardware carries it.
    Most hobby shops will carry it, and all good woodworking stores along with some lumberyards.
  6. Satyr Day

    Satyr Day

    Aug 26, 2005
    I don't follow what you're saying here. At first glance it seems like I'd get a beautiful piece of wood,then glue hobbly ply on top (the face) of it; thereby covering the nice wood.

    One thought ... maybe it's related, maybe not.
    I met a guy who made pool cues. He said that he used woods that had already done all of the twisting & warping that they were ever going to do. Thus, his cues would always remain straight. Is there anything to glean from this as I plan for my pickguard?
  7. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    You put the veneer on the FACE of the plywood.
  8. jwsamuel


    Apr 26, 2004
    Correct. And then you turn it over so that the nice wood is on top again.

  9. Satyr Day

    Satyr Day

    Aug 26, 2005

    What inspired you to make a wooden pickguard? Purely cosmetics, or something practical? Was your choice of wood cosmetic, or practical (or both)?
  10. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    all purely cosmetic. :D
    The maple's curling up a bit already, the veneer+ply is probably the best way to go if you want a figured wood. I'm going to push on and try to get this flamed maple to flatten out. I'll make a post when I'm done with it.
  11. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    Just did a test fitting of my new pickguard last night, so here's a photo finally. It's still soaking up tung oil like crazy, probably need another 3-5 coats, but it's looking good.

    frankenjazz_full. frankenjazz_body1.

    MiM Fender fretless neck
    Mighty-mite body
    Badass II
    Dimarzio Ultra Jazzes
    Serial/Parallel switch

    Last thing it needs is new knobs, thinking maple to go with the PG.
    comments appreciated! :D
  12. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    looking really good, K!

    all the best,

  13. Nice work Kloc....it looks good, and a nice change of pace from the typical J Bass
  14. Linas


    Jan 6, 2005
    That is looking good, i followed your method for a wooden pickguard several months ago and this was my result.
    It didnt look like i wanted, so right now ive got that bass jaco style sans the pickguard.