FRETS.COM Illustrated Glossary

A little protection for the top
© Frank Ford, 9/13/98 Photos by FF

A pickguard is a simple plate that guards the top from pick scratches.

Most steel string guitars have pickguards.

The first pickguards were used on mandolins a couple of centuries before they became standard equipment for guitars.

This is a Martin mandolin from about 1900 with a highly decorative celluloid pickguard inlaid into the face:

Additionally, the pickguard has mother of pearl and abalone inlaid into it.

Most guitar pickguards are not inlaid, but glued onto the surface of the top:

Clear pickguards are often used to preserve the symmetry of the top and to allow the grain of the wood to show through.

Electric guitars usually have their pickguards attached with screws:

This Heritage guitar has a wooden pickguard finished to match the body.

Arch top instruments like f-hole jazz guitars have elevated "fingerrests" that are often called "pickguards."

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