To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

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Doctor Turn
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To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby Doctor Turn » Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:36 am

What do you guys think.. most builders delete pickguards when the axe they're completing has a lot of figure. Mark made that call specifically on my 150, on a guitar where about 97% of them were sent out with pickguards, at least during the pre-87 set neck period. And I agree totally with his decision, I've never once thought of putting the pickguard on that guitar. (Random pic I just put on FB, but shows the color of the body wood of the axe)
Image

On the Northen Series Hags, the builders and Hagstrom Sweden deleted the pickguard on this "flame" version of the Super, apparently to allow the figure to show itself freely.. and the plain top burst had a pickguard:
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The reason I bring this up is because this prototype has a feature about it that I really love, that the other flamed and plaintop trad burst models didn't when it actually went into production: the prototype burst is a darkback. (it also has flamed maple binding on the neck which the production models didn't have, they just had standard plastic binding... the body has a binding "effect" using the same masking technique on the thick maple top that Kiesel uses on their guitars , rather than using actual plastic around the body.. the neck is mahogany so the maple binding on the neck is legit applique binding made of wood).

The darkback combined w the black hardware and a black pickguard is a wicked looking Les Paul layout, and its probably my favorite "classic" design, really only matched by a well aged honeyburst legit 1959 w aged white plastics.

But those rare 1957 gold top darkbacks w the black hardware, they're just wicked:
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So the question is, if you were me, would you add the pickguard to bring out the dark back and the black hardware? I've got to think hard because I naturally would have to mount it with screws and that little brackety metal mount. So I'd have to screw into the wood on the maple top.

I just love this black hardware/burst vibe, almost as much as the goldtop darkback vibe:
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Anybody think it would look better WITHOUT the pick guard, ie keep it exactly the way it is?
Carvin Weaponry:
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1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby ElfDude » Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:37 am

Nine times out of ten I think the guitar looks better without the pickguard.
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Brock
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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby Brock » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:17 am

I've always been a fan of a pickguard on LP types. It's small enough that it doesn't hide the figured top.

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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby UnexplodedCow » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:47 am

They don't look bad on the body, as they're smaller and unobstrusive. Functionally, I loathe the things, and have never had one on a guitar unless I was buying or selling (not while owning/using). It always felt wrong with the carved top (which itself feels weird/wrong to my hand).
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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby spudmunkey » Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:03 pm

On LP style guitars, they don't bother me much, but on larger-bodied semi-hollows, I find that I'm inspired to play different things. There's a few bars I whip out now and again that I find myself anchoring my pinky on the pickguard when I finger pick them. I don't usually play this little bit on any other type of guitar. :think:

But then again, I always feel like strat-style guitars always look "unfinished" unless they have a pickguard. And by strat-style, I don't just mean guitars like the Aries, or DC600, etc...but guitars like some Charvels and Jacksons or the Bolt+. And while I get the whole "it's covering up cool wood!" arguement, I also can appreciate a pickguard as part of a whole.
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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby DesmoBob » Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:36 pm

I don't care for pickguards on LP types. Just personal preference. I wouldn't turn down a guitar because of it, but if I had the option, configuring a guitar from scratch, I'd prefer to leave it out.

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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby skully13a » Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:09 pm

I'm with DesmoBob.
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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby Casual Madman » Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:08 pm

I had a 75 Les Paul Custom that came with the black trim. One of the first things I did was buy cream trim and gold speed knobs (and remove the pickguard). In 1978 that was what I wanted.

Today, this look is aces.

Capture.JPG


Of course, the first thing I did with this one is remove the pickguard - still debating (almost a year later) about getting a cream "poker chip" for the pickup selector.

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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby DannyB819 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:02 pm

I've always been a case-by-case basis on pickguards. There are some LPs on which I think they look great and on others I don't much care for the look.

In thinking about it, I feel like, for me, pickguards look "right" to me on guitars that have a more classic look and the more aggressive aesthetic packages look better without, but there are plenty of guitars I love that would contradict even that.

Slash's black LP custom, for example, doesn't have a pickguard and it's one of my all-time favorite Les Pauls. The Peter Green/Gary Moore Les Paul (that now resides with Kirk Hammett) doesn't have a pickguard and to me it looks a little naked (not that I wouldn't gladly possess it).

All this to say, I don't much like black pickguards on LP-style guitars unless it's on a back guitar or a Custom-style package of features (ebony board, blocks, knobs, gold hardware, etc).

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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby 2Plus2isChicken » Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:57 pm

I like Les Pauls with the pickguard. That's how they're supposed to look to me.
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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby Doctor Turn » Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:03 pm

Thanks all for giving your opinion.

I'm sort of with everyone who believes that a Les Paul (or similar single cut) is "supposed" to have a pickguard. As for whether the white or black looks better on a burst, I think the black hardware on a Custom, the white hardware on a 58-60 style burst.

That doesn't mean I don't think they look great without them. I obviously think the look works or none of the three LP style guitars I have that don't have them would have been bought. The fourth, the LP Special is a bit different since the pickguard is flat (like a Fender style pickguard) on the body, since the body is flat.

I think I'm going to buy the parts for the pickguard from the company... the parts from an old vintage Super or even for the Asian made reissues would work for this prototype.

Of course, the grass is always greener. . . .
Carvin Weaponry:
1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby spudmunkey » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:00 pm

I've never actually played one of the newer Les Pauls with the removeable pickguard. Are those actually at all stable, or are they flimsy when they attach? I do think it's a pretty clever idea.

https://youtu.be/kTzAPIXRtgI?t=37s

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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby Brock » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:49 pm

That "scratch plate" looks all wrong to me. It needs the mounting hardware.

But it is a neat idea.

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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby spudmunkey » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:26 pm

Brock wrote:That "scratch plate" looks all wrong to me. It needs the mounting hardware.

But it is a neat idea.


I never noticed that before, but you're exactly right. I feel like even putting a screw through it, with some sort of visible spacer than would extend down to the body, which would also help it feel more stable, could do the trick, and still be removable.

The way it looks now, It looks like it's cut out of file folder paper, like it's just a template.

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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby Doctor Turn » Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:18 pm

Well.. yeah.. that's pretty much the point of that pickguard, it snaps on and off like a toy, and has no steel mounting arm, as you see in the video you linked. That's the whole M.O. of it, that allows it to be what it is-- if it has a mounting bracket, it's not going to just snap on and off without tools. The lack of the arm makes it what it is. . . like a Fisher Price pickguard.

I remember when those came out, and seeing the demos from the dealers and I thought--Great idea, awful execution.

And like the poker chip on the three way, you never realize how much something so small plays into the completion of a classic look..... until you see it deleted.
Carvin Weaponry:
1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby Cynical » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:49 pm

Don't mod something that's been your #1 for over 30 years. I don't generally like pickguards, but this is just on principle.

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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby Doctor Turn » Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:14 am

Cynical wrote:Don't mod something that's been your #1 for over 30 years. I don't generally like pickguards, but this is just on principle.

NO NO NEVER!! The old 150 just happens to be in that pic above, but the pickguard is for the Northen Series Hagstrom. I used that photo even though it's not the primary subject because it shows the back of the hagstrom, against the top and the binding.. so you can appreciate the darkback against the burst and the black hardware.

But yeah, I agreed with Mark's call to leave that 150 w/o a guard, and wouldn't mess with it.
Carvin Weaponry:
1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby Doctor Doug » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:31 am

It depends on the guitar. My red Les Paul came with no pickguard but It didn't look right to me so I added one (the only time I've ever started drilling holes in a guitar five minutes after I got it home).
Other times (usually) I feel that they look better without.
Image

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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby GuitFiddle » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:33 pm

+1 that is depends on the guitar. Here's a before and after of a sorta-LP style I bought. To my eye it was just too plain without it, and it came with one....so I drilled holes in my brand new guitar and installed it. I like it much better now. YMMV.

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Doctor Turn
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Re: To Pickguard Or Not To Pickguard?

Postby Doctor Turn » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:48 am

So I've gotten lots of general opinions on the practice of putting pick guards onto guitars that don't have it, but none specific to my guitar, which was more my question: do you think this guitar would look better with or without a black LP Custom style pickguard?

I think the confusion of the opening picture (which guitar was the subject) diluted my question. Specifically this guitar, with it's black back ("darkback") and black hardware, w the honeyesque brownish traditional burst:

Image
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The pickguard would essentially be this exact, vintage SS item:
Image
Carvin Weaponry:
1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds


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