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Custom design on pickguard


TimTheSloth
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Hey guys, this is my first post. I've recently been looking into guitar modification and I wanted to start off small by doing a custom design on a pickguard. I searched the forums and couldn't find anything, hopefully there is someone here with experience in this.

Basically at this time what I would like to do is a black design on a white pickguard, but in the future I would like to also do white on black or even use colors. I would go totally low budget and just use a sharpy but I know that will rub off and just generally look cheap. Should I use some sort of acrylic paint to do it followed by some type of a clearcoat to protect it? I would consider burning, creating some type of decal or etching it on but I imagine this would probably take more work and I'm not sure how it would turn out. The pickguard still needs to function as a pickguard and be resonably permanent and look fairly professional.

Anyway has anyone tried anything like this? I figured I would ask the experts before I tried anything on my own.

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Tim, one of the easiest ways for you to personalize your pickgaurd and get good results if you have an inkjet printer is to make your own water slide decals.

Since I don't want to post a link to a commercial site the easiest way to see what I'm talking about is to type "waterslide decal inkjet paper" into your favorite search tool. It should come back with dozens of links where you can compare products.

It is then just a matter of finding or making the graphics you want, printing them out, and placing them how you want. If you are really happy with the results you can get a can of spray on clear from the hardware/home store and give them some protection. Make sure it is compatible with plastic and has a little elasticity. I'm sure someone in the forums here can recommend a brand. Shouldn't cost more that $15 for the entire project and you're only constrained by your imagination.

-jeff

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how about a clear pick guard .. with the image printed "mirriored" then cleared over????? You may need to spray a little white on the backside of the image for the colors to look correct. It would work great like on an Ibanez RG or Jem.... ( no wires or cavitiy routes on top of body). Just a thought....

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Good advice JTisMe, I ordered some waterslide decal paper and have a really nice printer and scanner (I will scan the designs that I have drawn by hand) so hopefully that will get it done looking good. The tutorial for the paper says that I should spray 2 to 3 coats of a clearcoat on the decal after printing and before applying, I would like to save money and use the same clearcoat to coat the entire pickguard (to make it looks more permanent and unified) after I have put the decal on. I have read the clearcoat tutorial, but I don't think (hope) the more expensive clearcoats would be necessary for this project. How many cans of whatever clearcoat you would recommend should I pick up? Also how many coats and how long between coats? I would prefer something with minimal guitar downtime if possible, shine isn't really that important on it since it's a pickguard, but I would like it to be reasonably durable (I'm pretty sure almost every type would work for this minor thing) and I live in California if that clears up any legal situations about the availability of a certain chemical.

Sinner, a clear pickguard would make for some interesting ideas and would really be able to protect the image. I don't think it would work for the two guitars I am looking at doing this on now though since one is a telecaster and the other is a telecaster clone. I haven't taken the pickguards off yet (I'll probably replace the pickups at the same time) but I believe the pickguards on a telecaster cover sections cut out of the body (I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong) which might look strange. Good idea though.

Edited by TimTheSloth
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This is just my 2 cents worth. It may be of interest to you.

I have made fretboards and pickguards for lapsteels out of thin perspex (plexiglass). I come up with an image (at present very basic) for the frets and pickguard. Mask off with tape, spray the image (dont forget this is going to be the underside of the fretboard or pickguard which goes up against the wood). When dry, I then spray a background. The fretboard is then attached with painted area against wood. This looks pretty good and because the image is underneath the perspex(plexiglass) the image is not going to get scratched off.

I dont have any pix at present but I have done black image, then sprayed white background and vice versa. It looks pretty good on a lapsteel. :D

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I have seen that on the SRV pickguard, it looks pretty nice. The clear pickguard idea is pretty cool. Maybe I'll try that in the future if this goes well, for now I'm just going to use the pickguard already on the guitar. Anyone have any good suggestions for a clearcoat? I don't necessarily need or what it to be very shiny just not easily scratched (since as a pickguard it will obviously take a light beating).

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