Buffing scratches out of pickguard

March 1st, 2011, 10:48 AM
Hey all,

I was recently sanding a spot on the back of my Baja's neck to remove a very glossy part of the finish and (don't ask me how) I managed to slip and scratched the pickguard badly. I don't want to keep the scratch marks there as it looks so unnatural.

Is there any way I could buff the scratches out?

Thanks in advance.

March 1st, 2011, 04:27 PM
OK sorry but it's my turn to be the first jerk to say:

"Just play the hell out of it untill the rest of the pickguard is all scratched up, too."

March 2nd, 2011, 12:41 AM
In all seriousness, if the material is deeply scratched, you might be better off replacing the piece entirely. It's an easy job on a standard Tele, and not a costly one. All bets are off if the guitar is vintage; however, you didn't indicate that it is.

R. Stratenstein
March 2nd, 2011, 01:20 AM
Replacing pickguard is probably best approach, unless it's vintage, and if so, you have just contributed to it's "character". You may be able to lessen the appearance of the scratches just a bit by extremely careful application of toothpaste, rubbing gently with a fingertip, with water. Frankly, I'd leave it alone. You'll be remembered by generations yet unborn when they acquire your guitar long after your're gone and wonder, "man, I bet that guy felt like ******* when he made those scratches all those years ago!"

However, if you want to, for some reason, try to polish out the scratches, couple of approaches may work. Hopefully you were using a relatively fine grit paper when you made the damage. (no coarser than say 320 or so) Otherwise, you'll need to begin by using wet-and-dry paper that is finer than what you made the damage with (flood the area with water, and carefully work out the coarse scratches with increasingly fine abrasive paper. (Did I mention you should remove the pickguard from your axe first?? :-) Then--

The simplest that I'd recommend is that you go to an auto parts store and get a headlight restoration kit--the kind you use to remove the haze and yellowing of plastic headlight covers. It will have fine grit sanding and polishing papers, some final polishing compound, and either pads for manually polishing or a foam brush, etc. for chucking in an electric drill. Just follow the directions in the package. I'd opt for the manual version--if your drill slips, you'll have to polish the entire pick guard. (And you may have to anyway, to get a consistent finish.

If the final polish doesn't look glossy enough, again, at the auto parts store ask for the finest buffing-out compound they have. Not your typical auto-owners polishing compound--the stuff I mean is meant for body shops to polish out a newly-applied car finish. Something like 8,000 grit or something unreal like that.

Finish up the job with a good quality automotive paste wax that is compatible with plastic.

Lotsa work to get a good polish on something. Maybe that new pickguard is looking better now??

March 2nd, 2011, 01:30 AM
Cleans and removes fine scratches from plastic