The special tool works well - if your Tele has the 1/2" channel routed between pocket and pickup. Only the early ones (and reissues of same) do. Sixties style? Nope. And if you have a Strat? Forget about it - neck's coming off. Even if you had the channel, you can't slide the pickguard, not with all those pickups and controls... And hating to remove a pickguard? Well, I do, if it's a Thinline 'amoeba'. 17 screws, I think, on my '69 RI. I cut the channel in that guitar, and cut a tasteful notch in the top of the guard, just big enough to fit that tool. Worked great.