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Thread: Trimming a pickguard

  1. #1

    Trimming a pickguard

    Quick question to the wise -
    I have bought a 3 ply pickguard to use on a Tele. Only problem is that it is a couple of mm too narrow to fit the neck end of the guard up against the neck.
    What is the best way to trim it down - should I cut with a sharp knife or is it best to gradually grind the neck pocket of the pickguard open?

    Many thanks in advance for advice.

  2. #2
    Overlord of Music Sonic Mountain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Toowoomba, Qld.
    I use some sandpaper wrapped around a file. 240/320 grit would do it, the file keeps it nice and flat. Id recommend putting some tape on both sides of the guard to protect it a bit and just creep up on it a little at a time. Makes a big difference getting that fitment right imo.

  3. #3
    In order to maintain straight lines I'll glue sandpaper to a ruler.
    cheers, Mark.

  4. #4
    Further to what Sonic said, whenever I do a custom pickguard or need to mod one, the range of tools I use are flat, semi-round & round bastard files; flat, semi-round & round jeweller's files; sand paper with wood dowels and Stanley knife blades.

    Each of has one has it's place in the process. The coarser files for removing a bulk of material. The finer files and sandpaper for fine tuning, and the blades for bevels or square scraping. Different size dowels wrapped with sandpaper make for getting inside & outside radii smoother & easier.

    Also, if I'm doing an exposed edge (especially with with a bevel) I'll polish with 2000 wet, or Micro Gloss polish.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  5. #5
    Many thanks to the three of you.
    I have those bits and pieces available so will proceed carefully based on all that advice.
    I am just coming back to the tele after a bit of a gap and it is still in the early stages.
    I have run into another snag - when I did the first check of the kit I put the control plate in a safe place. So safe that I cannot locate it (must be losing my memory as I get older!). I am not too worried as I am planning on upgrading to log pots and using a .033 cap. So I might leave working on the pick guard until I get another plate. I still have plenty of other things to do on it in the interim.

    Once again many thanks for the advice.

  6. #6
    I can relate to the "putting things in a safe place" scenario!

    If you don't know already, if you're upgrading your pots to full size (24mm) you'll need to route the control cavity a little wider. (about 2mm from memory - 1mm each side).

    It's been mentioned here numerous times with the T kits and, to date, I don't think this has been addressed at the production end.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  7. #7
    Thanks for the reminder with the pots.
    I had read about that issue before. I thought I would go for mini pots to overcome the problem.

  8. #8
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Reading, UK
    Easy enough to widen the cavity with a Dremel with a drum sander attachment as long as you take care not to overdo the width. Even on a Fender Tele, the cavity is only just wide enough to fit in a full-sized pot, and the control plate only just covers the sides of the cavity by about 1mm on each side, so there's not a lot to play with. Even a proper Fender style 3-way switch only just fits in a full-width cavity and sometimes you still have to bend the connection tags a little bit depending on the switch manufacturer.

  9. #9
    Thanks for the information Simon.
    I will check the cavity width and see how much space I have to play with.
    I don't have a Dremel but I do know someone who does.

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