How to Make a Plexiglass Pickguard

Written by patrick mckinney
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How to Make a Plexiglass Pickguard
A new pickguard is one way to give your guitar a custom look. (strato03 image by diego cervo from

Musicians are always looking for ways to create an individual appearance. Customising your instrument in various ways helps to define your image. The pickguard is the part of the instrument that protects the top from scratches. Making your own Plexiglass pickguard is one way to customise the appearance of your instrument and set you apart from the crowd.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Plexiglass, 12-by-18 inch sheet, 1/8-inch thick
  • Masking tape
  • Screwdriver
  • Rotary cutter
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Tabletop belt sander
  • Scraper
  • Round file
  • Straight file
  • Needle file set
  • Countersink bit

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    Lay Out the Design

  1. 1

    Cover one side of the Plexiglass sheet with masking tape, creating a surface to lay out the pattern.

  2. 2

    Use the screwdriver to remove the original pickguard from the instrument and strip any hardware still attached to it.

  3. 3

    Trace the outline of the original pickguard onto the masking tape. Include all mounting holes and pickup cutouts.

    Shaping the Plexiglass

  1. 1

    Use the rotary cutter to rough cut the outer shape of the design to within 1/8 inch of the tracing.

  2. 2

    Drill a pilot hole and use the rotary cutter to rough cut any pickup cutouts.

  3. 3

    Use the belt sander to clean up and shape the outer edge.

  4. 4

    Use the scraper to remove any edge fuzz left by the sander.

  5. 5

    Use the straight, round and needle files to clean up and shape the pickup cutouts.

  6. 6

    Drill all the mounting holes. Use the original pickguard as a drill guide for selecting the proper size bits.

  7. 7

    Countersink the mounting holes to match the original pickguard.

  8. 8

    Make several passes with the scraper to smooth and bevel the outer edge to match the original pickguard.

    Finish the Project

  1. 1

    Remove the masking tape.

  2. 2

    Remount any hardware that was attached to the old pickguard.

  3. 3

    Install the new pickguard on the instrument.

Tips and warnings

  • Make multiple passes with the belt sander and work slowly to avoid removing too much material.
  • Compare the new and old pickguards often to make sure they are the same dimensions.

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