Yuck! It looks like - - - -!
That Skin on New Pickguards
© Frank Ford, 7/3/98; Photos by FF, 7/2/98

Yes, this one is trivial.

But, it is a personal gripe, so I think I'll go ahead anyway.

Many new instruments come with a plastic "skin" covering the plastic pickguard that protects the finish from picks and fingernails. A bit much, if you ask me, but that's the way they do it. In the store, the pickguard looks cloudy and dull, and may appear to have little blisters.

Then when it gets some use, the pickguard ends up looking like this:

It's starting to tear and lift off the pickguard, and the pick scratches really show.

Lots of guitar players don't notice the film covering the pickguard, so they're understandably disappointed by the way the pick scratches appear to tear up the pickguard.

Once you know it's there, of course it's easy to peel off the skin:

Once the plastic skin is peeled off, the pickguard looks normal, flat and shiny:

The only thing is that it's a good idea to peel off the plastic skin before too long. It turns out that if you leave it in place for a number of years (some people do) it may "weld" itself to the plastic pickguard and be nearly impossible to get off cleanly.

As the instrument ages, the pickguard will get a network of fine scratches from normal use, like this:

I think this looks better that the eerie new look of a fresh piece of plastic against the background of a lacquered guitar top! Besides, it can be buffed to a high shine any number of times without any damage to guitar or pickguard.

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