Wood Pickguard

Introduction: Wood Pickguard

In this instructable i will show you how to make a pickguard for your guitar or bass that will replace the plastic/celluloid/polyurethane pickguard on your instrument. Having a wood pickguard can really accent your instrument, especially if it has a natural wood finish. Its also pretty easy

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Step 1: Supplies

A sheet of Birch plywood in whatever thickness you want. (not too thin, or it will crack and splinter when you are cutting it

Utility scissors

Exacto knife

Power drill with drillbit matching the width of the screws holding the pickguard in place

Wood stain (optional)

Wood finish (I used Deft)


Step 2: Tracing the Pickguard

Take the original pickguard, and place it on the sheet of birch plywood. Take a sharpie, and trace the pickguard onto the wood using it as a template. Dont let the pickguard slide or move around or you wont get the right pickguard in the end.

Step 3: Cut the Outline

Take your utility scissors and cut around the outline of the pickguard that you drew onto it earlier. neatness counts. If the edges are uneven in parts, you can either cut off slivers with your scissors or take a sanding block and file them down.

Step 4: Cut Out Pickup Holes

This is the hard boring part. Take your Exacto knife and trace around the holes for the pickguard/knobs or any other holes in the pickguard. Just trace and re-trace the cuts over and over until you have cut through the wood. Take breaks while doing this to avoid getting Carpel tunnel or Aids or something. When you are finished cutting through the wood, gently pry the pieces of wood out of the pickguard.

Step 5: Drill

Put your pickguard over a thick scrap piece of wood and hold it with your hand while drilling. Drill holes in the dots you drew on from the wood from your original pickguard. Be careful while doing this, because since you are drilling near the edge of the pickguard it could easily crack or splinter.

Step 6: Staining the Pickguard (optional)

My bass has a light natural wood finish, so i thought it would look nice in contrast if the pickguard was darker. Lightly sand the pickguard, then apply a coat of the stain of your liking, wait until dry, and repeat for whatever you want the finish to look like.

Step 7: Apply Finish

Take the finish of your liking (Aresols work the best) and apply 3 to 5 coats letting dry, and sanding lightly in between coats.

Step 8: Attach to Your Instrument

Take the original scews and screw the pickguard back onto your guitar/bass.

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    10 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I found that eighth inch (3mm) plywood can be formed quite readily with an Epilog laser, if you have one. You would just have to measure exactly where each important cut went, and burn it out. If you did that, I would suggest that you just make marks where drill holes go, and then drill them to the proper diameter with a drill. I am not quite sure how to get a hole of a specific size in a specific location.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Yup, all it takes is the right saw and the right blade. You could also sandwich the wood between two thicker sheets to prevent it from splintering.