Anyone ever have that guitar you just couldn't bond with the sound? Then one day you decide to try something, a pickup swap, changing the nut, sanding all the finish off and praying to the guitar gods, and suddenly it breaths a second life into your guitar? Had two instances of this happening. One was an old MIM telecaster that my sister gifted to me with the condition that I never sell it and just give it back if I was ever tired of it. What she didn't say was that I couldn't upgrade it into oblivion which she happily allowed. I upgraded everything but the neck and body: wilkinsons vintage style bridge, lollar neck pickup, fralin bridge pickup, locking tuners, tone-guard brushed aluminum pickguard, the works. Once the project was complete, fired up the amp, played first glorious chord and it was . . . . . .just ok. Tried to fool myself into thinking I liked the sound for a few weeks but just found that I played the guitar less and less hiding my disappointment that for whatever reason, it might've sounded better stock. Anyway, two years goes by and I pull it out of my basement and get it set up to give it another chance. On a whim, decide to switch back to the original bland 3 ply pickguard and lo and behold, that cheapo piece of plastic brought back some of the zing and resonance I was missing. Maybe the aluminum pickguard was taking out some of the highs? Maybe the plastic just got better transfer of vibration? Whatever the case, happily playing the old MIM is my grab and go quick jam guitar. I understand that pickguard situations like this are a very YMMV situation. tl:dr: Aluminum pickguard killed my tone and the plastic pickguard sounded better. Got one more story but may drop add it later after enjoying reading some of yours.