How to rout pickguard for truss access?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ModuMan, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. ModuMan

    ModuMan How many is too many? Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    Bristol, CT #19
    If this is in the wrong place or you can point me to an answer that already exists, please feel free.

    I have a Fender Geddy Lee Jazz and it's a real drag to always have to take the pickguard off every time the truss needs an adjustment.

    What I'd like to do is rout an access groove in the pickguard. I'm concerned that, being plastic, it would be pretty easy to do something that overheats it and causes a warp or crack.

    In addition to the stock guard (which I'd just as soon leave that way), I have a very nice tort guard (listed as "celluloid" material where I got it) which is currently on there and I the one I want to rout. I also have a black pearl guard that I'm happy to use as a "practice run".

    Any suggestions for tools and techniques?
  2. I'm curious about this too since a lot of Jazz pickguards seem to come without the route.
  3. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Do you need to route it? Can't you just have at it with a coping saw and clean it up with a file?
  4. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I made up a little jig and routed the pickguard and body at the same time on my Fender P with no problem with burning using a 3/8" carbide bit. That was a nitro pickguard too.
  5. ModuMan

    ModuMan How many is too many? Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    Bristol, CT #19
    Heh, looks like I didn't know how to spell "route" in the first place...

    I wouldn't mind using a coping saw and file, I was just concerned about the friction heat. I don't have any kind of rig available so it would likely have to be hand-held approach, taping it down to a table or something.

    I was initially thinking a sanding drum (which would give me a nice rounded end when I was done) or wire wheel on a dremel... would that be too hot?
  6. Hi.

    If You already have a Dremel, I'd suggest using some small diameter routing bit to do the initial routing and finish that with a sanding drum.

    With scrap pieces of different plastics, You can test how the different cutting angles, cutting speeds and revs. affect the result.

    Have fun.

  7. I don't have a router, and I think the dremel would be hard to control at least for me, I used my drill press: clamp the pickguard to a piece of wood, then drill a series of holes with a sharp bit, at low speed, like 3 holes in a straight line, the first hole at the edge of the guard, the last one making the nice rounded part, use a file or sandpaper to clean it up. If you are careful enough, you could use a hand drill and a brad point bit to help prevent wandering
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