• Lazy Andy

Let’s call this a trial run

Body, check; neck, check; template, check.... pickguard?

I’ve bought a sheet of 2mm white single ply pickguard material from Tonetech Luthier Suppies in Stockport... great speedy online service! The sheet is a larger 420mm sheet as the Bullet guard is an inch longer than a Strat - who’d have thought on a smaller guitar!

Next comes the easy bit. Plastic marked and cut roughly to shape, pickup holes roughly cut as before and then double-sided taped to the template. Now, I don’t think I needed that much tape... it was a nightmare to get off again!!

Now, you could tape the pickguard to either the top or bottom of the template. I debated whether there was a wrong or right way to do this - if it were taped to the bottom you‘d be attaching the protective film to the template and risk that coming loose, plus, you’d be in the wrong place to bevel the edges (on a 3 ply guard).

If you taped it to the top you’d have to run the face of the pickguard over the router table, but the protective film “should” stop any scratches. In practice this didn’t seem to be the case so next time I‘m going to add some masking tape over the protective film as well.

Next time? We‘ll come to that later!!

All stuck down and round we go on the router table. This is very simple with the template and the router and makes all the effort with the template worth it - almost a 2 minute job! Even the little dimple for the truss rod ended up with a lovely shallow cut.

Drill press, 3mm bit and perimeter holes done as well as guide holes for the others... then things go a bit astray.

So what went wrong?

The control knobs and jack holes holes need to be 10mm and while I have drill bits that size they’re a bit cheap and not really straight... and made a nice mess of two of the holes! New drill bits purchased.

The perimeter screws needed to be countersunk. I have a normal wood counter sink which is around 45 degree pitch, whereas pickguard screws have a much shallower countersink. In hindsight using a bigger drill bit as a countersink is probably a better option (as well as doing a trial on a piece of scrap).

The next mistake? The screw holes of the pickup. Everything was measured well but in reality 0.5mm makes a difference! So, next time I shall offer up the pickup covers a drill through them instead.

And finally? Well, when I offered the guard up to the guitar it all fitted very well except around the heel of the neck. Obviously the template I thought was good wasn’t 100%.

So as a first attempt I’m going to give myself 8/10. It would pass as a functioning pickguard and everything is in the right place, it’s just not as good as Fender would have intended. I pondered this for a bit and have decided it will be done again.

Good to to learn from your mistakes!

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