Attn: Racer- how do you cut a pickguard?

I'm hot-rodding a V and can't find the pickguard I want for it so I'm gonna buy a piece of laminate and use the old pickguard as a template...but how do I actually CUT the laminate...straight lines, weird angles and all?


make a template out of the existing pickguard...I usually used 1/2 mdf

you template HAS to be bang on

once you have a template made, mount the material on to your template and get a router bit with a bearing on the bottom, and make sure the blade is angled (30 degrees or so? don't know the exact angle)

you can either use a regular hand held router, but if you do, make sure you have some thing protecting the surface of your material

you can also use a drill press by putting the bit in the chuck and setting it so it doesn't travel up and down (static). Set the drill press speed to as fast as it will go (Ive done pickguards with a press that went to 3000 rpm...not fast enough for a smooth cut IMO)

the bearing of the router bit will roll along the edge of your template and the blade will do the cutting....make sure the bit isnt set so low that it cuts into your template

and wear eye/hearing protection...good luck!

Hey RX, how do I make an L5 style pickguard?

Even better, how much would you charge me for one?

thanks guys

The same way you cut laminated cabinet doors except a lot slower or you get melting. one believes me?

Whoops, I just assumed Racer said all that.

LOL..thats just the way I do it...Racer may have a better way of doing it, or at least a better explanation :)

 Woah, I'm late to the party!

Ze Dano's way is the right way, especially if there is ANY chance you will want to duplicate the design. For one off custom shapes, I will usually skip the template and use bandsaw, belt sander, and buffer to cut, bevel(the hardest part of hand fabricating) and polishing.

What can set a custom pickguard apart from a production piece is a careful smothing and polishing of the edge. Routers leave a tiny "chatter" mark all along the bevel. Almost all production guitars show this. attention to making this edge a smooth refecting surface is a subtle detail that works. I'll have to post a pic of what I mean, you'll see the difference.

To me, without shop equipment, pickguards are a challange. A very good result can be had with just a Dremel tool w/small router attatchment,45 degree bevel cutting tool,straight cutter,countersink drill bit,small flat and round files, 320 and 600 grit wet or dry sandpaper(the blackish stuff), a steady hand, and patience.

All that said, if you haven't looked at then you haven't looked for pickguards. They have just about every material and design you could want.

And can anyone tell me why copying a web addy changed my font to BOLD?!?

Anyway, see if they have what you want and contact me to see if I can get it for you cheaper than ordering direct from them. I have a wholesale account with them, even with secondary shipping it might be cheaper than their online price.

I should first apologize to racer X...the question was for him, not me...sorry cuzzin!

Secondly, Racer makes a great point about smoothing the edge to get rid of the chatter marks...shows that he pays very very close attention to detail

 Ze Dano, I have no monopoly on answering questions. Hell, you saved me the whole template explanation!

As a complete dillhole noob, should I even bother making my own or should I just buy one?  I am looking at about $60 or so.  (Fender JP-90) disrespect there...I'm just saying you are a PRO..I've been out of the game for about 8 years now (as you could probably tell by the "pink tele" jack plate job...sloppy IMO...)

Only reason I answered was because the thread was up for a day or two, and there were no real responses...and it was all from memory haha

Nothing but respect for you Rex and the work you do...I'd love to see your shop one day

alpo - As a complete dillhole noob, should I even bother making my own or should I just buy one?  I am looking at about $60 or so.  (Fender JP-90)

 I don't think $60 is bad for a well done JP-90 pickguard. What material? Is it from WD Music? I know there are a few companies doing pickguards, but WD has more styles than any other I know of.

Solid colors are usually cheaper than laminates, with the mother of bowling ball and tortoise shell stuff running more, sometimes a LOT more. JP-90 isn't a big  pickguard, so it should be reasonable.

Part of the problem with making your own for the first time is that the materials are pretty expensive to experiment with, and some of them will burn FAST if you get them too hot  cutting out a pickup hole with a Dremel, not that I've ever had a tortoise shell pickguard drop a chunk of burning celluloid into my lap, causing me to create the dance that my son named "AAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!".


fucking celluloid...

for those of you that don't know the deal...go to your local guitar a Fender "tortoise shell" guitar pick...walk into the parking lot...light one corner of the pick with your lighter...gone in 2 seconds guaranteed!!

oh...and we refer "mother of bowling ball" as "mother of toilet seat" here in Canada lol

 mother of toilet seat is more common here as well. I like mother of barstool too, but younger people don't get it.