How to Replace the Pickguard on an SG

Written by annelies de groot Google
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How to Replace the Pickguard on an SG
These double humbucker pickups revolutionised the sound of electric guitar. (Too many guitars image by jfsears from

Tunes of Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison and Eric Clapton have all played from the Gibson SG Electric, the redesigned version of the first solid-body electric guitar designed by Les Paul. This guitar is characterised by its distinctive sound from its double humbucker pickups that rest on uniquely shaped pickguards. You can personalise your SG like a star by imitating those rock legends' solos or by simply changing the pickguard for a distinguishing appearance.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • New pickguard
  • New set of strings
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Peg winder (optional)
  • Small Phillips screwdriver
  • Soft cloth

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  1. 1

    Remove the old strings by turning the tuners to loosen them. Cut them once sufficiently loose to avoid snapping and pull one half out of the tuning pegs on the SG head and the other half from behind the guitar.

    How to Replace the Pickguard on an SG
    SG guitar heads have tuners on either side that turn in opposite directions. (guitar head image by Adkok from
  2. 2

    Unscrew the small screws that keep the pickguard on the SG body with your screwdriver. The number of screws varies depending on the shape of the pickguard, but a standard SG uses 14 screws. Place these screws in a safe place and keep the different sizes separate from each other.

  3. 3

    Pick up the bridge--the piece the strings were resting on--and place it to the side.

    How to Replace the Pickguard on an SG
    It is not necessary to remove knobs from on top of the SG pickguard like on this guitar. (guitar image by Chris Edwards from
  4. 4

    Remove the pickguard by simply lifting it up. Place it out of the way. The pickguard should come right off over the SG pickups, so there will be no need to remove those and fiddle with the wiring.

  1. 1

    Clean the surface of your SG with a soft cloth. You may need to lift up the pickups gently to get under the surface they were resting on. You may want to clean the neck of your guitar at this time as well.

  2. 2

    Place your new pickguard in the same spot as the old one. This piece should rest right over the SG pickups and the holes for the screws should be aligned.

    How to Replace the Pickguard on an SG
    Your new pickguard should fit right where the old one sat. (stratocaster image by diego cervo from
  3. 3

    Screw in the screws with your screwdriver in the designated holes. Tighten them as much as you can without damaging the new pickguard.

  4. 4

    Restring your SG using your new strings. Be careful to not wind the strings too tightly before tuning your guitar.

    How to Replace the Pickguard on an SG
    Your new strings will be pulled through the body of your SG to anchor them. (classic solid body sunburst electric guitar image by alpy7 from

Tips and warnings

  • Take your time to avoid damaging the surface of your guitar.
  • Make sure your new pickguard fits an SG before buying it.
  • Be careful of removing the strings and restringing your guitar, as tightly wound strings can pop and cause injury.
  • Do not remove your pickups unless you are changing them, as fiddling with wiring can cause changes in sound.
  • Keep all pieces in separate piles on a clean surface to avoid losing small parts.

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