WD Music – Custom Made Pickguards – Review. - 12/08/2014

Something that most guitars, basses or other stringed instruments all have is a pickguard. With time and use these can deteriorate, get marked or one might simply want to change the look of one’s instrument.

However this can sometimes be difficult, as even within the same models and manufacturers the layout and shape can vary. This is particularly true for import instruments where the pattern followed by the pickguard might not be the same as for its original counterpart.

I found this out myself when working on several guitars recently. One of them is an early 90s Squier made in Korea Stratocaster, who’s pickguard had a piece chipped off one of the corners. I purchased several different “standard” guards only to find out none of them would fit correctly.

The Solution

To get round this problem one needs a custom made pickguard. WD Music have been in the business of making custom made pickguards for many years I actually visited their headquarters back in 2013 and saw for myself the impressive array of pickguard templates they hold, for almost any guitar you can think of. Also if they don’t hold the template they can reproduce your particular design from scratch from a tracing which the customer can provide.

To test this service out the Gear-Review team sent WD Music tracings of three required pickguards.  One for the aforementioned Squier Strat, another for a Surf Green Telecaster I had built of out different parts and a third for another Fender Japan Telecaster which had a horrible thick matt black pickguard.  The pickguards were traced carefully with a sharp pencil. I followed the contours as closely as possible to ensure a perfect fit. Also all the screw holes, pickup holes etc... Where traced. Further I was making a slight change to the Telecaster guard; the neck pickup mounting holes were not needed on the new one so I made sure to omit these. The same would apply to any other changes required.


Sometime later the pickguards arrived. With the Strat all the pickups, knobs etc... Have to be transplanted from the old guard to the new one, its worthwhile labelling the pickups, knobs etc... So you can ensure they are in the same position on the new one.

The Telecaster was easier. If you are careful and the neck has no overhang simple remove one guard and install the new one which is what I did without even removing the strings. In my case I had already screwed the neck pickup directly to the body so it was a straight swap.

The third one needed a bit of work. The original item was made form a very thick plastic and the new one is a bevelled three ply. Some light sanding was required around the neck pocket area to ensure a perfect fit.


An easy way to spruce up, or repair an instrument with little effort.

By Ernest H Slade

New Guard for Strat
Tele Guard with Unwanted Holes
New Guard
Ready To Install

Sponsored by

WD Music - http://www.wdmusic.com/