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Mastering the Art of Hand-Cutting Pickguards: Expert Tips and Techniques

Are you a guitar enthusiast who is ready to take your customization skills to the next level? Look no further! In this article, we will explore the fascinating art of hand-cutting pickguards. Whether you’re a seasoned luthier or a curious beginner, join us on a journey of precision craftsmanship, attention to detail, and the sheer joy of creating custom pickguards that perfectly complement your beloved guitar. Get ready to delve into the expert tips and techniques that will elevate your pickguard-cutting game to new heights!

cut a pickguard by hand

Cutting a Pickguard by Hand

As an experienced luthier, I understand the importance of precision when it comes to crafting pickguards by hand. Whether you’re a novice enthusiast or a seasoned musician, learning how to cut a pickguard by hand can be an incredibly rewarding experience. In this article, I will share my expert tips and techniques to help you master the art of hand-cutting pickguards, all while staying within your budget.

Tools Needed for Cutting a Pickguard

Before we dive into the process of cutting a pickguard, let’s make sure you have the necessary tools on hand. To achieve the best results, you’ll need a bandsaw, coping saw, drill press, and a router. These tools will allow you to make precise cuts and shape the pickguard to perfection.

Rough-Cutting the Pickguard

To begin, you’ll want to rough-cut the pickguard to shape. Start by drawing an outline of the desired pickguard shape onto the material of your choice, be it plastic, wood, or another suitable material. Using a bandsaw, carefully follow the outline and make the initial rough cuts. Don’t worry about perfection at this stage; we’ll refine the shape later on.

Fastening the Pickguard to a Template

Once you have the pickguard roughly shaped, it’s time to attach it to a template for further refinement. Double-stick tape is an excellent tool for this purpose. Apply the tape to both the pickguard and the template, ensuring a secure bond. The template will act as a guide, allowing you to make accurate and consistent cuts.

Refining the Shape

Now that the pickguard is securely attached to the template, it’s time to refine the shape. Using a coping saw, carefully trim the excess material, following the outline of the template. Take your time with this step, as it will determine the final shape of the pickguard. Remember to make smooth and controlled cuts to maintain the integrity of the material.

Widening Screw Holes and Adding Finishing Touches

Once the pickguard is cut to its final shape, you may need to widen the screw holes to ensure a proper fit on your guitar. This can be easily done with a drill press, using a bit that matches the size of your screws.

With the main shape complete, it’s now time to add any desired finishing touches. Whether it’s beveling the edges, adding decorative engravings, or applying a protective coating, these details will enhance the overall aesthetic of your pickguard and guitar.

Pros and Cons of Hand-Cutting Pickguards

Before you embark on this DIY journey of hand-cutting pickguards, it’s essential to consider the pros and cons.


  • Hand-cut pickguards offer a personal touch, allowing you to create a unique design that complements your guitar’s aesthetic.
  • Cutting a pickguard by hand can be a budget-friendly alternative to purchasing pre-cut pickguards.
  • It provides an opportunity to showcase your creativity and craftsmanship skills.


  • Hand-cutting pickguards requires a high level of precision and attention to detail.
  • It can be time-consuming, especially if you’re a beginner.
  • Mistakes during the cutting process can lead to wasted materials and the need to start over.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t turn out exactly as planned. With patience, practice, and the right techniques, you’ll be able to master the art of hand-cutting pickguards.

“Hand-cutting pickguards not only adds a personal touch to your guitar but also allows you to showcase your craftsmanship skills.”

To learn the skill of cutting a pickguard by hand, you need patience, precision, and a steady hand. Mastering this technique can elevate your guitar customization game to new heights. If you’re ready to dive into the world of DIY pickguard modification, check out our comprehensive guide on how to cut a pickguard by hand. With step-by-step instructions and helpful tips, this resource will equip you with the knowledge and confidence to tackle this task like a pro. So grab your tools, follow our expert advice, and let your creativity soar. Click here to access the guide: how to cut a pickguard by hand.


Q: Can I cut a pickguard by hand, even on a budget?

A: Absolutely! Cutting a pickguard by hand is not only possible but can also be done on a budget. With the right tools and techniques, you can achieve professional results without the need for expensive machinery.

Q: What tools do I need for cutting a pickguard?

A: To cut a pickguard by hand, you will need several tools. These include a bandsaw, coping saw, drill press, and router. Each tool serves a specific purpose in the process of cutting and shaping the pickguard.

Q: How do I rough-cut the pickguard to shape?

A: To rough-cut the pickguard, you can start by creating a template or using an existing one that matches the shape of your guitar’s body. Fasten the pickguard to the template using double-stick tape. Then, carefully use a bandsaw or coping saw to cut around the template, following the desired shape.

Q: What is the purpose of a pickguard?

A: The primary purpose of a pickguard is to protect the guitar’s finish from scratches, dents, and other damage that can occur due to playing. Additionally, pickguards can also enhance the aesthetic appeal of the guitar and serve as a canvas for customization.

Q: Can I widen screw holes in a pickguard?

A: Yes, it is possible to widen screw holes in a pickguard. This can be helpful when adjusting the alignment of the pickguard or when replacing old hardware with new hardware that may not align perfectly.

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