Are pickguards evil?

Do pickguards subtract from usable tone?

  • yeah

  • nah...


Results are only viewable after voting.

alvagoldbook

Member
Messages
1,380
Do pickguards rob the tone out of acoustic guitars, where tone really matters a lot more? The vast majority of acoustic guitar makers don't seem to think so.
 

digthosetubes

Senior Member
Messages
1,659
Do they..."rob"...tone?

:NUTS

Some of those old Gibson acoustics had pickguards the size of Rhode Island. Kinda thick, too. Never thought those guitars sounded real good. Maybe good for strumming. They sure are poular with the Independent Rocker crowd.
 

ford

Modz
Staff member
Messages
14,086
Pickguards deserve our respect as they are on our guitars to protect and serve..... and hopefully look cool while doing it.:BEER

rock

bford
 

RvChevron

Member
Messages
2,464
I had a parts strat once. I remember I strung it up without the pickguard and electronics installed and play it acoustically.

I thought I got a nice piece of alder as it was ringing loud acoustically.

Once I installed the pickguard with electronics and pickups, the loud acoutic ring was reduced in volume and kinda muffled a bit.

The pickguard is like a plactic blanket covering up the body resonance. But adds mass to the body at the same time.

But that's just for the acoustic volume, once plugged it, I don't know how much does a pickguard influence the overall, audible tone.

Now for acoustic guitars with much smaller area covered by pickguard, I tend to think it has much less effect on the overall resonace and tone.

I also tend to think that Leo used the pickguard as a means to simplified and speed up production process and did not concerned tone at all.
 

Zilmo

Member
Messages
3,939
Some pickguards suck, and some are OK. I've never worried about the tone aspect of one though.
 

Samba

Member
Messages
483
Depends on the guard....

63everly1im5.jpg
 

Lucidology

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,908
Gerald 'Melancon' ... knows the answer .. This is from his website
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[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]"The addition of a pickguard [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]actually contributes to the complexities of overtones ... "[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]. [/FONT]
classic_artist.jpg
 
G

GuitaristZ

sales gimmick?


If a thin maple cap on an electric guitar makes a big difference in the tone...how much more a pickguard.

Just saying...


Maybe trying different types of pickguards (wood vs plastic) would be an interesting study?


Anybody care to try?

Perhaps take a spare strat pickguard...find a sheet of solid mahogany or maple....trace.....cut out...drill holes for screws...


this could be very englightening!

Maybe...just maybe...this is the key to better strat tone?
 

stratrat2000

Member
Messages
289
It makes a difference to the tone, whether this is a good or bad thing is a matter of opinion and also depends on the guitar. IMO, A Strat without a pickguard doesn't quite nail the typical Strat tone, while a Tele without one still sounds pretty much like a Tele.

Is the pickguardless Strat good sounding? Depends on who is listening. Are pickguards evil? :) I'll leave that up to you to decide.

The tonal effect comes partly from damping of the guitar body. More importantly, every pickup is at least a little microphonic, and senses a little bit of the acoustic resonance of the guitar. With the guitar designs like a Strat, that suspend the pickups from the pickguard, the pickguard ends up filtering the sound that the pickups "hear" and affects the tone. Pickups that are heavily potted have less microphonics and are influenced less by the pickguard's tone, while unpotted or lightly potted pickups hear more of it.

In the past I've made Strat pickguards from: a variety of different woods; metals like steel, brass and aluminium; and also plastics like ABS, perspex and Bakelite. All were different sounding. Some I liked, some I didn't. What started me out on exploring this was a 1mm thick stainless steel pickguard I made for a Strat copy as a teen. The guitar had very microphonic pickups and ended up sounding a lot like an electric resonator guitar.

I'm currently busy getting a piece of African blackwood to make a pickguard for my main Stratlike guitar. One downside to wood as a pickguard is that many species warp and end up "cupping" over time, and need a laminate construction to stay stable.
 




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