Thursday, 21 November 2013

Les Paul Jnr Double Cut: Custom Pickguard

Today I created a custom Tortoiseshell pickguard for the Les Paul Jnr using a sheet of Uncut 3-ply Pickguard Material from Guitar Fetish. Trying to find a sheet of this stuff that doesn't require a second mortgage on my house was a real challenge, but GFS finally came through.

I used the original pickguard from the kit as a template. I traced around the original, and then cut close to the line using a cheap coping saw from Bunnings. This was nowhere near as easy as I expected. There must be a knack to using a coping saw well but I don't know it. After cutting, I used a rounded bastard file to clean and trim the edges back to the tracing line. The sides were then finished off with 240 grit sand paper.

After shaping, it was time to drill the holes. Again I used the original pickguard as a guide to hole placement. I went one step further than the original and actually counter-sunk the holes! Having no experience or skills in wood-working, I took a disproportionate amount of joy in both the process and the result of the countersinking. Stupid really given the final result wont be seen under the screw heads.

I am painfully aware that the new pickguard is 3-ply where the original pickguard was only 1-ply. I became aware of this fact when it came time to screw it to the body. Since the body is shaped (it isnt flat like a Telecaster), the pickguard has to ben d to follow the curves. The 3-ply material is resisting the bend and is standing up where it curves above the pickup. I am going to try and see whether this pickguard stuff is thermo-softening. If it is I may be able to heat it up to help bend it to the correct shape. If not, I may have to add another screw.

Anyway, apart from these little details, I think the result looks pretty fucking awesome if I don't say so myself. I can't wait to see how it looks with the butterscotch Wudtone underneath! I still would like to put a bevel around the edge. I'll probably use the bastard file to achieve this, but since the pickguard looks so good as it is, I'll have to find my confidence again to attempt it (and risk spoiling what I have so far!). Stay tuned.

Postscript 22/11/2013:
I actually went ahead and put a bevel around the edge of the pickguard, and I dont like it!! Damnation. Anyway, this meant that I had to go back and cut a whole new one again. Now I have 2 to choose from - with and without bevel.