Pickguards are an essential part of the guitar body. Made from a piece of plastic or other laminated material, they fit underneath the strings and around the pickups to protect the glossy body of the guitar from scratches and damage that may otherwise happen when the instrument is played.
Without the pickguard, scratches may occur on the surface of the guitar each time the strings are struck by a plectrum, and if a pickguard is damaged it needs replacing to keep the guitar body in good condition.
The majority of electric and acoustic guitars and basses have pickguards, from Stratocaster to Les Paul.
How to choose a pickguard
- Choose the right shape to suit your brand of guitar
- A high quality pickguard will provide better protection
- Decide on your budget before you buy
- Ensure you’re able to confidently replace the pickguard yourself
How to look after your pickguard
It’s essential to look after your guitar as a whole to get maximum performance from it, but cleaning behind the strings and around the pick-ups will also help to extend the life of your pickguard. As the pickguard is responsible for the protection of your guitar’s paintwork, it’s often useful to keep it in good condition.
With the strings removed from your guitar, the pickguard can be wiped with a clean cloth and a small amount of polish to remove dust and fluff that may have accumulated there since it was last cleaned.
As most pickguards are made of plastic or other light, laminated material, it’s not advisable to remove it unless you intend to replace it with a new one, as clumsy removal can often split or damage the pickguard.
Be sure to choose the correct type of pickguard to fit your particular brand, size and model of guitar before purchasing.