Introduction: Invisible Guitar Scratch Pad (Buckle Rash Protector)

This Instructable will show you how to protect the back of your new, shiny guitar or bass from the perils of belt buckle rash with super thin and transparent sheets of Touch-screen LCD screen protectors.

Due to the lack of stretch of the material, this is best applied to flat-backed guitars and basses and not guitars or basses that have an arched or curved back. However as the material is so cheap and leaves zero residue when removed, experimentation never hurt.

Please Note: that this film is rather flexible. While being quite scratch-resistant, it will not protect against heavy dents.

Step 1: Things You Will Need

What you'll need:

- LCD Screen Protector Guard Film
- Masking Tape
- Sharpie
- Scissors

As I was unable to find a large bulk sheet for the screen protector, the best price for the size I could find for screen protector film was five 10" sheets on eBay for $4.99. By all means you don't have to use specifically this size. Any size of material should work and I would imagine the larger the sheet the better. Keep in mind that the key thing I was also looking for was that these screens DID NOT have holes for any cameras or buttons for the Tablets that they were originally intended.

Note: if you have never applied screen protective film, it is HIGHLY recommended that you get familiar with the process, as this Instructable will not go into that subject in too much depth. Go here for more on screen application.

Step 2: Layout and Tape

Now you can start laying out the film where you think that the most buckle rash will occur, or if you have enough film and paranoia/OCD, you could just cover the entire back of your instrument.

With the removable protective films still on the scratch film, aligning them on the back to what works best with the most coverage.

If your film has helpful pull-tabs for the cover film, be sure to keep those in areas that will not be cut. Although it is not terribly hard to remove the cover film from the protective film, they are quite handy. You can see how I kept mine primarily in areas that are not to be cut away.

Getting the edges lined up, and the sheets straight, start using the masking tape to hold the sheets in place to the body of the guitar and to keep them from slipping around when it comes time to trace the contours of the body.

The third picture shows three pieces of tape labelled "R". These are registration marks (alignment marks) that I made so I could remember where the sheets are supposed to go after I trace and cut them.

Step 3: Trace and Cut

With the screens securely in place, its time to start using the sharpie to trace the contours of the body as well as any hardware that is in the way. Keep in mind that the film will only stick to flat surfaces, so trace below any contoured or beveled edges. As seen in the second picture, I tried to follow the body just below where the beveled edge began.

Remove the tape holding the film to the body. If you used registration marks, obviously leave those on the body so you know where to put the pieces after cutting.

On a separate work space, cut out your films.

Step 4: Application

Now it's time to stick those films on the back of your guitar. As you should probably know well by now how to apply these films, I wont go into depth on the topic, as I did not experience any major problems here. Obviously make sure that the instruments surface is freshly wiped down and clean of dust and grease before applying your films. 

The key thing here is to get the screens re-aligned with your registration marks.

My application wasn't terribly perfect and I had a few bubbles, which I will address in the next step.

Step 5: Clean Up and Trim

Not every application is going to go perfectly. Mine had a good deal of bubbles that needed to be squeezed out, so whatever method you prefer to remove them will work. I used a plastic frosting scraper.

Look around for any edges that are not sticking to the body. I had a few that were just barely over the beveled edge. Just simply pull up the film enough to get your scissors under it and trim the excess. These raised edges can get caught on clothes and pull the film off. 

(apologies for the second pic being so blurry)

Step 6: Behold the Cleverness of You!

With the films attached, trimmed and looking good, its now time to stand back and enjoy your handy work!