Adjusting pickguard cut. Any tips?

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by 1996Standard, Sep 14, 2021.

  1. 1996Standard

    1996Standard Tele-Meister

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    So I'm putting a new pickguard on a cheap guitar I bought just for modding. It's an indio. Unfortunately the factory pick guard/bridge isn't to fender specs. The bridge metal comes further toward the neck pocket than on a fender. I need to cut the aftermarket pickguard down about a 1/16th on the bridge side.. I've got a Dremel with bits that'll do the job. I'm just concerned about getting a nice straight line.

    Any tips or should I just draw a line and free hand it and hope for the best?

    (And I know I know, it's cheap, who cares what it looks like, etc.? I do. I care.)
     
  2. pypa

    pypa Tele-Holic

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    Create a guide and tape it to the guard so that the dremel can register against it.

    Alternatively, you can use a sanding block or plane to get a straight line.

    If you don’t have a bevel bit, you may have to free hand sand that part.
     
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  3. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I'm pretty good with a dremel, but I wouldn't consider trying to get a straight line with one.
    I think the first thing above the "no" list would be a flat file, but that would be difficult.
    I'd clamp it to a piece of wood to give it some rigidity (maybe a scrap of paneling or 1/4" ply) and use a coping saw or hacksaw.
    I made this one from an old Tele guard with coping saw, file and sandpaper.
    It got cleaned up a bit after this pic.
    001.JPG
     
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  4. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

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    I wouldn’t use a small bit with the Dremel, rather a fine sanding disc. For roughing it and removing more material, maybe even a wide file by hand. Then when closer to the goal, one of the wide fine Emory boards used for fingernails. Use the wide file and/or Emory board at an angle to keep the line straighter. I carefully use a somewhat rounded edge needle file for inside corners.

    Like the tortoise and the hare. Slow wins the race.
     
  5. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Double-stick tape it 1/16” proud to a piece of mdf with a nice straight edge then sand it flush.
     
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  6. Billy3

    Billy3 Tele-Holic

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    On the front of the guard, use a metal straight edge on top of where the tape or pencil line is and score it with a utility knife. This way you will not get a funky jagged edge as you work towards your destination.
     
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  7. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I wouldn't go near it with a Dremel.

    I used to make pickguards all the time and would first cut them to rough shape, then smooth it all out with the edge of a utility knife blade.

    Mark the straight line with a piece of tape. Then scrape the edge of the plastic, being ever mindful to cris-cross the blade angle, or you will end up with divots like the Les Paul Special guard above.

    The whole trick to getting this right is to scrape kinda like a snow-plow blade. Use a left blade angle for a stroke or two, then change to a right slant for a few strokes.
    Don't get GREEDY! Just scrape a little at a time and your pickguard will look professional!

    I built this guitar 6 years ago and made all the plastic parts by hand.

    3 Views lo-res.jpg
     
  8. 1996Standard

    1996Standard Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, guys. Some great suggestions here.
     
  9. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Put some double sided carpet tape onto flat wood and use a medium to coarse abrasive. Use that as a file. You can stick it to dowel for a round "file" too. Keep the dremel where it belongs...somewhere where it won't be used on guitars.
     
  10. 1996Standard

    1996Standard Tele-Meister

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    Well, good news. I took the neck off so I could get a better look at what was going on there. I think I'm going to be able to get away with just shaving off a tiny little bit on the neck pocket side on the lower horn. I'll have to wait until it's completely all done and ready to be mocked up. (I'm also routing out the neck pickup cavity so I can put a neck humbucker in there.) But the signs are looking good.
     
  11. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Get the pickguard fitted so the neck drops in, and attach the 'guard to the body. With the guard attached, mount your humbucker routing template and rout the pickguard and body at the same time. Everything will line up perfectly.

    If your cutter is not sharp, it can heat up and melt the plastic.
     
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  12. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    Hand tools that are sharp will do the job, and you won't have an ooops that ruins your part. Usually.
     
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  13. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    one of my favorite things about this place is how you can hear so many different ways to get something done
     
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  14. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

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    I've made a few pickguards without a router and I use a coping saw, files to rough it and a razor to finesse.
     
  15. bumnote

    bumnote Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    All you need is a straight metal edge, like a ruler and some masking or duct tape.


    I recently swapped out the bridge and middle pickups on my Strat with 2 Telecaster bridge pickups.
    I used a Dremel and a spare American Standard Tele bridge-plate I had. Just tape down a piece of straight metal...like a metal ruler...to the guard and use the cutting wheel. When you're done a quick pass with a piece of sandpaper will smooth it out. Those cutting discs are even a little flexible, I had no problem cutting the rounded curve on the guard.
     
  16. DonM

    DonM Friend of Leo's

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    I marked it out with a straight edge and did it freehand with files. Pic is a little distorted; it’s not as far out of center as it looks. I didn’t want to push it and have to file too much. It would just increase the chance for error. Ended up as one of those “you’re the only one who really notices it”. This was on my SX Furrian that I modded.

    7F3D7CE4-0F59-4621-8C98-EB05C47C886C.jpeg
     
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