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Can You Remove a Pickguard from an Acoustic Guitar

Yes, you can remove a pickguard from an acoustic guitar easily with proper tools and technique. When it comes to modifying your acoustic guitar, removing the pickguard is a common and straightforward process.

The pickguard, a plastic or vinyl sheet, is often installed on the guitar’s body near the soundhole to protect it from scratches caused by the pick. However, some guitarists prefer the aesthetic of a pickguard-free guitar or want to replace it with a new design.

To remove the pickguard, you’ll need a hairdryer or heat gun to loosen the adhesive, a pickguard removal tool or a guitar pick to gently lift the pickguard, and some rubbing alcohol or adhesive remover to get rid of any remaining residue. Following these steps will allow you to remove the pickguard and customize your acoustic guitar to your liking.

Can You Remove a Pickguard from an Acoustic Guitar


Why Would You Want To Remove A Pickguard?

Removing a pickguard from an acoustic guitar may not be a decision you make lightly. However, there are several reasons why you might want to consider removing this accessory.

Enhancing the aesthetics of your guitar

If you’re someone who values the visual appeal of your acoustic guitar, removing the pickguard can be a way to enhance its overall aesthetics. Pickguards come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, and while they serve the important purpose of protecting the guitar’s body from scratches caused by pick strokes, they can sometimes disrupt the guitar’s design or hide the natural beauty of the wood grain. By removing the pickguard, you can reveal the full expanse of your guitar’s stunning finish, giving it a sleek and clean appearance.

Resolving issues with the pickguard

While pickguards are designed to protect your guitar, they can sometimes cause issues of their own. Over time, pickguards can become loose or start to lift from the guitar’s body. This can create buzzing sounds or affect the guitar’s tonal quality. Additionally, pickguards can accumulate dirt, dust, or even scratches, making them appear unsightly. By removing the pickguard, you can address these issues directly, reattaching or replacing it as needed to ensure your guitar remains in pristine condition.

Experimenting with different pickguard materials or designs

If you’re someone who likes to personalize your guitar or experiment with different aesthetics, removing the pickguard can provide the opportunity to try out new materials or designs. You may find a pickguard made from a different material, such as tortoiseshell or acrylic, that adds a unique touch to your guitar’s appearance. Furthermore, removing the pickguard enables you to explore various customization options, such as laser-etched designs or hand-painted motifs, allowing you to showcase your individuality and make your guitar truly one-of-a-kind.

Factors To Consider Before Removing The Pickguard

Factors to Consider Before Removing the Pickguard When it comes to the aesthetics of an acoustic guitar, the pickguard plays an important role. However, some guitarists may contemplate removing the pickguard for various reasons. Before making this decision, it is crucial to evaluate a few factors that can help you determine whether removing the pickguard is the right choice for you and your instrument. In this section, we will explore these factors in detail, including evaluating the condition of the pickguard, understanding the impact on resale value, and consulting with a professional luthier.

Evaluating the condition of the pickguard

Assessing the condition of the pickguard is essential before deciding to remove it. Over time, pickguards can become scratched, worn, or discolored, affecting their overall appearance. By examining the pickguard closely, you can determine if it is in need of replacement or restoration. If the pickguard is in good condition, removing it might not be necessary, as it serves the purpose of protecting the guitar’s body from potential damage caused by the pick or fingernails. However, if the pickguard is damaged beyond repair or you prefer the look of a pickguard-free guitar, it might be worth considering its removal.

Understanding the impact on resale value

Resale value needs to be taken into account when contemplating the removal of a pickguard from an acoustic guitar. While personal preferences play a significant role in guitar customization, it is important to note that modifying the guitar’s original appearance can potentially affect its value in the market. Some buyers may prefer guitars with intact pickguards, as they are considered part of the instrument’s vintage or classic appeal. Therefore, removing the pickguard may limit the number of potential buyers and trade-in opportunities in the future. However, if the guitar’s overall condition and playability are outstanding, the impact on the resale value may be minimal.

Consulting with a professional luthier

Before making any modifications to your acoustic guitar, particularly if you are uncertain about the process or potential consequences, it is highly recommended to consult with a professional luthier. A luthier possesses the expertise and experience to guide you through the process, ensuring that the removal of the pickguard is done properly and without causing any damage to the guitar. They can evaluate the condition of the pickguard, provide advice on restoration options, and offer insights into the potential impact on the guitar’s resale value. Consulting with a luthier can provide you with the necessary information and peace of mind to make an informed decision about removing the pickguard. In conclusion, while removing the pickguard from an acoustic guitar is a personal choice, it is essential to consider several factors before doing so. Evaluating the condition of the pickguard, understanding the impact on resale value, and consulting with a professional luthier are all crucial steps to ensure that your decision aligns with your preferences and the overall well-being of your instrument. By carefully weighing these factors, you can make an informed choice that best suits your needs and desires.

Step 1: Gathering The Necessary Tools And Materials

Essential tools:

Before removing the pickguard from your acoustic guitar, it’s important to gather the necessary tools and materials. Having everything you need at hand will make the process smoother and more efficient. Here are the essential tools you’ll need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Razor blade or utility knife
  • Guitar cleaning solution
  • Soft cloth or microfiber cloth

These tools will help you in safely removing the pickguard without causing any damage to your cherished instrument.

Optional materials:

While not essential, having these optional materials can be beneficial:

  • Replacement pickguard
  • Adhesive remover

If you’re planning to replace your pickguard, having a replacement pickguard ready will allow you to seamlessly install it after removing the old one. Additionally, adhesive remover can be helpful in case the pickguard has been securely attached with adhesive that requires extra care during removal.

Step 2: Preparing The Guitar

When it comes to removing the pickguard from an acoustic guitar, proper preparation is key. In this second step, we’ll explore the necessary steps to ensure your guitar is ready for the pickguard removal process. By following these simple but vital steps, you’ll be well on your way to successfully removing the pickguard from your acoustic guitar.

Loosening the strings

Before attempting to remove the pickguard, it’s important to loosen the strings to avoid any potential damage. Start by using a string winder or a tuning key to loosen each string one by one. Gently turn the tuner counterclockwise to decrease tension, making sure not to completely remove the strings just yet. This step will relieve the pressure on the pickguard and make it easier to remove without causing any harm to the guitar.

Placing a towel or blanket beneath the guitar

Next, it’s crucial to place a soft towel or blanket beneath the guitar to protect it from any potential scratches or dents. This will also provide stability and prevent the guitar from sliding during the pickguard removal process. By creating a padded surface, you can rest assured that your guitar is secure and well-protected throughout the procedure.

Ensuring a well-lit workspace

Before you embark on removing the pickguard, it’s essential to set up a well-lit workspace. Adequate lighting will enable you to clearly see the pickguard and the surrounding areas, ensuring precision and minimizing the risk of accidental damage. Whether you choose natural daylight or simulate it with artificial lighting, having a well-illuminated workspace will greatly enhance your ability to successfully remove the pickguard.

By following these preparatory steps, you’re ready to move on to the next stage of the pickguard removal process. With the strings loosened, a protective towel in place, and a well-lit workspace, you’re now fully prepared to safely and effectively remove the pickguard from your acoustic guitar.

Step 3: Removing The Pickguard

Once you have gathered the necessary tools and prepared the guitar body, it’s time to proceed with removing the pickguard. This step requires precision and patience to avoid causing any damage to the guitar.

Carefully removing the screws

Before you can lift off the pickguard, you need to remove the screws that hold it in place. Locate the screws, which are typically found around the edges of the pickguard. Using a small screwdriver that matches the size of the screws, carefully unscrew each one in a counterclockwise motion. Be sure to maintain a firm grip on the screwdriver to prevent any slipping that could scratch the guitar’s body.

Gently lifting the pickguard

Once all the screws have been removed, it’s time to lift the pickguard from the guitar body. Start by gently inserting your fingertips under the edge of the pickguard, taking care not to pry or apply too much force. By gradually lifting the pickguard, you can ensure a smooth removal without causing any damage to the guitar’s finish or underlying wood. If necessary, you can use a plastic pick or a thin spatula to assist in lifting the pickguard without scratching the guitar.

Dealing with adhesive residue

After successfully removing the pickguard, you might encounter leftover adhesive residue on the guitar body. This residue can be stubborn and resistant to simple wiping. To remove it, you can use a gentle adhesive remover specifically designed for use on musical instruments. Apply a small amount of the remover to a soft cloth and gently rub the adhesive residue until it dissolves. Be cautious not to use excessive amounts of the remover or rub too harshly, as this could cause damage to the guitar’s finish.

Cleaning the guitar body

Once the adhesive residue has been removed, it’s advisable to clean the guitar body thoroughly. This step ensures that any remaining residue or dirt is eliminated, leaving the guitar in optimal condition. You can use a mild guitar cleaning solution or a mixture of water and gentle soap to clean the body. Gently wipe the guitar body using a soft cloth, paying attention to any intricate areas or hard-to-reach spots. Finally, dry the guitar body completely to prevent any moisture from seeping into the wood.

Step 4: Replacing Or Reinstalling The Pickguard

Evaluating if the pickguard can be reused

Before deciding to replace the pickguard on your acoustic guitar, it’s important to assess whether or not it can be reused. Here are a few factors to consider in this evaluation:

  1. The condition of the pickguard: Take a close look at the pickguard and determine if it is cracked, warped, or lifting at the edges. If it is still in good condition, you may be able to reuse it.
  2. The aesthetic appeal: If you are looking to change the appearance of your guitar, you may want to opt for a new pickguard with a different design or material.
  3. The functionality: Consider if the current pickguard is performing its role of protecting the guitar’s top from scratches and pick marks. If it is not effectively doing so, replacing it might be necessary.

Installing a new pickguard

If you have decided to replace the pickguard, follow these steps to install a new one:

  1. Remove any adhesive residue: Make sure to thoroughly clean the area where the old pickguard was located. This will ensure proper adhesion of the new pickguard.
  2. Prepare the new pickguard: If your new pickguard requires any shaping or trimming, do so before attempting to install it. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for guidance.
  3. Align and position the pickguard: Carefully position the new pickguard over the area where the old one was located. Pay attention to aligning any holes or cutouts with the guitar’s body features.
  4. Press down firmly: Once the pickguard is properly aligned, firmly press it down onto the surface of the guitar. Start from the center and work your way outwards to ensure even adhesion.
  5. Apply gentle pressure: Place a towel or cloth over the pickguard and apply gentle pressure using your hand or a small tool. This will help ensure proper contact between the pickguard and the guitar’s body.

Using adhesive if necessary

In some cases, you may need to use adhesive to secure the pickguard in place. If your new pickguard does not have a pre-applied adhesive backing, follow these steps:

  1. Select an appropriate adhesive: Choose a high-quality adhesive that is specifically designed for pickguard installations. Consult with a guitar technician or refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  2. Apply adhesive sparingly: Apply a thin, even layer of adhesive to the back of the pickguard. Too much adhesive can cause it to seep out and potentially damage the guitar’s finish.
  3. Position and press down: Align the pickguard over the desired location on the guitar, then press down firmly. Follow the steps mentioned earlier in the “Installing a new pickguard” section.
  4. Remove excess adhesive: Use a clean cloth or cotton swab to carefully remove any excess adhesive that may have squeezed out during the application process.

With the new pickguard securely in place, your acoustic guitar will not only be protected but can also have a fresh look. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and exercise caution to avoid damaging your guitar during the installation process.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Now that you have successfully removed the pickguard from your acoustic guitar, it’s time to put the final touches on your instrument. This step is crucial to ensure that your guitar looks and sounds its best. Let’s go over the remaining steps to complete the process: reattaching the strings, polishing the guitar body, and evaluating the results.

Reattaching the Strings

After removing the pickguard, you’ll need to reattach the strings to your acoustic guitar. Start by aligning the string holes with the corresponding pegs on the headstock. Pass each string through its respective hole, ensuring that they are securely in place. Once the strings are in position, start winding them onto the pegs, making sure to maintain tension as you go. Finally, tune your guitar to ensure that each string is at the right pitch.

Polishing the Guitar Body

With the pickguard removed, you now have a chance to give your acoustic guitar body a thorough polish. This will not only improve its appearance but also protect the wood from any potential damage. Begin by using a soft cloth or a guitar-specific polishing cloth to gently wipe away any dust or fingerprints. Next, apply a small amount of guitar polish onto the cloth and work it into the guitar body using circular motions. Pay extra attention to any areas that may have accumulated dirt or grime. Once you’re done, use a clean cloth to buff the guitar body until it shines.

Evaluating the Results of the Pickguard Removal

After completing the previous steps, take a moment to evaluate the results of the pickguard removal. Examine the guitar body for any adhesive residue or marks that may be left behind. If you notice any, use a mild adhesive remover and a soft cloth to gently clean the affected areas. Take a close look at the surrounding finish to ensure that it remains intact and undamaged. Additionally, play your guitar to see if there are any changes in sound quality or resonance. If you are satisfied with the overall outcome, congratulations on successfully removing the pickguard from your acoustic guitar!

Maintenance And Care Tips For Pickguard-Less Acoustic Guitars

Welcome to the world of acoustic guitars! Having the pickguard removed from your instrument can give it a sleek and minimalist look, but it also requires extra care and maintenance. In this article, we will explore some essential maintenance and care tips for pickguard-less acoustic guitars, ensuring that your instrument stays in top shape for years to come.

Regular cleaning and polishing

Maintaining a clean and polished surface is essential for pickguard-less acoustic guitars. Without the pickguard to protect it, the guitar’s surface is more susceptible to scratches, dirt, and finger oils. To keep your guitar looking pristine, follow these cleaning and polishing tips:

  1. Use a soft, lint-free cloth to gently wipe and remove any dust or dirt from the guitar’s body.
  2. For stubborn dirt, dab a small amount of guitar-specific cleaner on a cloth and gently rub the affected area.
  3. After cleaning, apply a guitar polish or wax specifically formulated for acoustic guitar finishes. This will help restore shine and provide a protective layer to the guitar’s surface.
  4. Remember to avoid using any abrasive materials or household cleaners, as they can damage the guitar’s finish.

By regularly cleaning and polishing your pickguard-less acoustic guitar, you can maintain its appearance and protect it from everyday wear and tear.

Protecting the guitar’s surface when not in use

When your acoustic guitar is not in use, it’s crucial to take precautions to protect its surface from potential damage. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Invest in a high-quality guitar case or gig bag that provides adequate padding and protection.
  • Before placing the guitar in its case or bag, make sure the surface is clean and free from debris.
  • Consider using a guitar cover or cloth to further shield the guitar’s body from dust and accidental scratches.
  • Avoid storing the guitar in extreme temperature or humidity conditions, as this can cause damage to the wood and finish.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your pickguard-less acoustic guitar remains safe and sound, even when not in use.

Monitoring for any potential damage or wear

Regularly monitoring your pickguard-less acoustic guitar for any signs of damage or wear is essential to prevent further issues and maintain its longevity. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Inspect the guitar’s body for any scratches, dings, or cracks. If you notice any, consult a professional guitar technician for repairs.
  • Check the guitar’s frets and neck for any signs of wear, such as uneven frets or excessive buzzing. Adjustments may be necessary to maintain optimal playability.
  • Pay attention to the guitar’s hardware, including the bridge, tuners, and nut. Keep them properly lubricated and tightened as needed.

By regularly monitoring your pickguard-less acoustic guitar, you can catch any potential issues early on and ensure that your instrument performs at its best.

With these maintenance and care tips in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to take care of your pickguard-less acoustic guitar and keep it looking and sounding its best for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Can You Remove A Pickguard From An Acoustic Guitar

Do I Need A Pickguard On My Acoustic Guitar?

Yes, having a pickguard on your acoustic guitar is recommended. It protects the body from scratches caused by the pick, ensuring the guitar’s appearance and value are preserved. It also helps maintain the instrument’s longevity and avoids costly repairs.

Can A Pick Guard Be Removed?

Yes, a pick guard can be removed from a guitar.

Should I Remove My Pickguard?

Removing your pickguard is a personal preference. It might alter your guitar’s appearance and expose the body to potential damage. However, removing it could also improve resonance and make it easier to play. Consider your personal style and the potential trade-offs before making a decision.

Does Pickguard Affect Guitar Sound?

Yes, the pickguard can affect a guitar’s sound. It acts as a dampener, altering the vibrations of the strings. However, the impact may vary depending on the material and thickness of the pickguard.


Removing the pickguard from an acoustic guitar can be a simple process that allows for personal customization. With the right tools and technique, you can safely remove the pickguard without damaging the guitar’s finish. Remember to take your time, follow the steps carefully, and consult a professional if you are unsure.

Enhance the look of your guitar and make it truly yours by exploring this option today.

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