Wood veneer pickguard replacement

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by msquared, Sep 30, 2004.

  1. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I'm about to embark on the project of installing a Nordstrand MM5 pickup into my Modulus Flea 5 bass. This is going to require some routing, and as a byproduct of the routing I'm going to have to modify or replace the stock pickguard.

    In the interest of trying something new visually while doing the same sonically, I've decided to try to track down the materials to make one out of wood. It seems straightforward enough but I'm curious as to any preferred veneer sources out there, and any tips from someone who may have done this in the past.
  2. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    Actually, you don't need any modified pickguards or anything. I'll see if I can explain this clearly...
    The pickup in your bass now is a four string sized Music Man style pickup. It has wide bar magnets that allow it to work for the narrow spacing of that five string. The case is the same size as a four string stock MM pickup. The pickup that you will be installing is a stock size five string MM pickup, which is a rectangular shape with no "ears" and it will completely enclose the four string cavity. So, when you rout for the new pickup any trace of the original cavity will be gone. If you can leave the original pickguard screwed in place while you rout the cavity it'll automatically fit the pickup. As long as the routing is cleanly done you will have no problems at all.

    Of course, if you still want to do a new pickguard that is entirely up to you, but it's probably not necessary. :bassist:
  3. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    <i>I'll see if I can explain this clearly...</i>

    ...and so you did. Makes perfect sense.

    One thing I didn't mention though is that this bass is sort of a work in progress. After I bought it I found that the bridge had been installed slightly off-center, so that when I'd fret a note on the G it was really easy to pull the string off of the fingerboard. I thought it was just a technique thing but it hadn't happened with any of my other basses so I wasn't sure. Then a local shop pointed out how much farther away from the edge the B was than the G. I ended up having the bridge moved over so that the A is centered and it plays a lot better now but now the pickup that's in there is now offset, in addition to being the wrong pickup. Routing out the body for the larger pickup footprint will fix it so that the pickup is once again centered under the strings but in the process I'm going to have to make room the portion of the pickup which protrudes above the body.

    [edited to include the last paragraph]
  4. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    as I've stated in other posts, I just used a doorskin from home depot. It's cheap, smooth, good grain on one side, and you can pick out whatever grain pattern and shade you want from what's available. $7 for like a 32" x 72" piece so you ought to be able to find a pickgaurd in that somewhere. About 4mm thick. A tad thick I thought but that's splitting hairs considering. And what you don't use comes in handy for other applications as well. And you could always have them cut a piece off - and there's usually remnants already there next to the full sheets.
  5. May I suggest Formica....yes, that's right...FORMICA...cover EVERYTHING in formica (preferably lime green)...the top, the back, the fretboard (makes for nice-sounding, smooth fretless)

    LIME GREEN FORMICA! WOOHOO! Now that's what I call a BASS! :D :D