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Aluminum Pick Guards...Tone?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Texicaster, Dec 3, 2020.

  1. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Afflicted

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    ¡Bueno!™

    I have a cool Wildwood '54 AV Thin Skin Strat. It's a clear coat roasted ash body with a black aluminum pick guard....Does that have any effect on tone?

    I haven't fooled with Strats too much but think there is a thin metal shield under many/most/all plastic pick guards so not sure how this may even have an impact...

    If so does it make it brighter or warmer? This Strat has a darker tone which is growing on me but a bit brighter without a treble boost pedal would be nice.

    I've run out of options things I can easily do to change the tone.

    Thanks!

    T
     
  2. tamer_of_banthas

    tamer_of_banthas Tele-Holic

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    i have an anodized guard on my one guitar and it should have absolutely zero effect on tone - unless your pickups are way, way, WAY microphonic.
     
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  3. Willie Johnson

    Willie Johnson Tele-Holic

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    I've thought about trying a thin wooden one to see if a more resonant material would make a difference in tone, but I suspect the pickups don't care if they're bolted to plastic or a slab of peanut brittle or whatever. Magnets, how do they work?
     
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  4. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    I put an anodized gold pickguard on my American Deluxe Strat, and while it does seem to have some effect on its tone acoustically, it doesn't translate through an amp, other than loud or dirty sounds eliciting a horrid screeeeech if the guitar is right in front of and facing the speaker.

    If your Strat sounds dark to you (and this bothers you) acoustically and that's translating through an amp, you may be better off exploring alternative string/nut/bridge/block options. If it only bothers you when you're plugged in, maybe look into a treble bleed and/or different pots. EDIT: Pickup heights, as well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
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  5. Gardo

    Gardo Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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  6. sloppychops

    sloppychops Tele-Meister

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    Probably just internet lore, but I've read that an aluminum guard takes out some of the high frequencies.

    I assume you've tried raising the treble side of the pickup and lowering the bass side? If not, it could make a difference.
     
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  7. dogmeat

    dogmeat Friend of Leo's

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    you have to buy tone aluminum
     
  8. Tommyd55

    Tommyd55 Tele-Holic

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    I hear that tort guards have more mids... the Red Tort the most.. ;)
     
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  9. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Afflicted

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  10. notroHnhoJ

    notroHnhoJ Tele-Meister

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    Tone? Nah. Screeching microphonic feedback with any kind of boost/overdrive/distortion and loud amp levels, in every position? Yeah more like it. Also, oddly enough and purely by accident, I found that after I removed the pickguard, the feedback pitch was EXACTLY the ringing tone produced by dropping the pickguard.
     
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  11. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    I have an anodized PG on my EC Strat, I dont think there is much tone difference. Or at least no more than normal variation from guitar to guitar when played unplugged. It is loaded electronically identical to my MIM Strat. But the EC Strat has a Maple fretboard, so there is a subtle difference.
     
  12. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    The aluminum guard will cut out a good bit of noise. If you shield the cavities with aluminum HVAC tape(thicker and cheaper than guitar shielding tape) in conjunction with the aluminum guard, you can cut out most if not all the 60cycle hum from the single coil pickups.
    Most say that this makes the pickups sound darker and have a lack of treble, but in reality, what has happened is the loss of treble from the noise has happened. Any needed treble can be added from the amp settings or a boost pedal.
     
  13. notroHnhoJ

    notroHnhoJ Tele-Meister

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    So any idea why I had such a terrible experience with one? Pickups weren’t microphonic before or after removing tye aluminum pick guard. It rendered my strat unusable in any kind of live performance.
     
  14. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    FE9BEE4F-5759-49C9-B9D9-6DEA74FD9720.jpeg
     
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  15. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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  16. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sometimes I wonder if famous musicians, like Jimmy page, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, etc., ever browse through some of these guitar forums and bust out laughing, thinking, "just write and play music, people"?
     
  17. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Holic

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    Fender never used 6061-T6 aluminum, as far as I know. He used 2024-T3 sourced from Kaiser Aluminum from 54-62, and Alcoa from 62 onwards, you can see the alloy inked right on to the aluminum by the manufacturer. If fender did use 6061-T6 like the Tone-Guard article claims, than they appear to be in the minority.
    [​IMG] strat_pg_shield_stamp.jpg
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
  18. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

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    The aluminum will add some capacitance theoretically and pad the highs some, but I doubt it would be very noticeable if at all.
     
  19. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    Unusable in what way? no sound? Hum and non working pickups? Whenever some one uses shielding in the cavities, an accidental short can occur. Bad solder joints or solder drippings can cause issues.

    I have several guitars with aluminum shielding inside them without issues. 1 Strat with a thick aluminum reso cone and 2 extremely microphonic P90 types now have no feedback issues or any 60 cycle hum. 2 other Strat types with aluminum shielding tape only get some 60 cycle hum with high gain, otherwise they have no unwanted issues and work great.
     
  20. notroHnhoJ

    notroHnhoJ Tele-Meister

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