Guitar repair: A facelift with a snazzy, new pickguard!

If you didn’t know, I do that too: fashion pickguards. You choose a design or bring your own, choose the pickguard colour and I will do the rest.

This Guild landed up on the counter for two reasons: a) the owner had set his heart on the (Gibson) Hummingbird style pickguard and wanted that on his guitar; b) this was an electro-acoustic instrument and for some reason, the piezo element was not picking up the vibrations of the thin ‘e’ string.

I first checked the piezo element and I was sure that it was one of those individual string piezo elements

To my disappointment it was one of those soft cable piezo elements that I had hoped I would replace with. Then, I thought, maybe, the portion of the piezo under the contact of the area of the saddle where the ‘e’ string rides is damaged. Nothing to remedy that except replace the entire piezo assembly, which generally comes with a small jack, which plugs into the EQ unit. I had these in stock.

To complicate things, there was no jack but the wire was soldered onto the EQ circuit board.

I let out an expletive and informed the owner what the problem was. I asked him to buy the specific piezo element online and then I would take care of the pick-up.

In the meantime, I began work on the pickguard. For a template, I drew and cut out on paper the shape that the owner wanted. 

Once I had peeled off the old pickguard (with a great deal of trepadition. It was a Guild, after all), I set about removing the glue residue that the pickguard had left behind. Believe me, it is not easy getting that off. No liquid helped and in the end I had to use my fingers and thumb to literally rub it off. 55 minutes by the watch!

With fingertips red, sore and smarting, I proceeded to place the cut-out against the guitar, took a photograph and sent it to the owner to OK it.

Once he had okayed it, all that was left to do was to cut it out of the sheet. 

Before sticking it on, there was still some bevelling to be done so that a player’s pick/fingers would not catch on the edges. That done, it was time to see how it looked on the guitar.

Cool, eh?

Seven days ago, the guitar came back to me with the replacement piezo. I pulled out its innards, replaced the piezo element, drilled a hole at the treble end of the saddle slot to receive the tip of the piezo element, set everything up back as it was and made the call to come and get the instrument.

It’s been five days now and I am still waiting for the guitar to be picked up, even as the instrument gathers dust! 

Amit Newton

An experienced guitar tech with over 10 years of experience working on acoustic Gibsons and Martins in the Gulf region. There is nothing that cannot be repaired; the only consideration is the price at which it comes. And yet, if there is sentiment attached, no price is too high! WhatsApp/Call me: 7080475556 email me:

2 thoughts to “Guitar repair: A facelift with a snazzy, new pickguard!”

  1. It’s a blessing to have a passionate guitar tech in Lucknow. Mr Amit Newton also cares to advise you on the future upkeep and maintenance of your beloved instrument which not only shows his love for guitars but also an equal regard of his customers.

    1. Thank you, Col Sharma!
      That’s a very apt assessment of me. But really I see my ‘customers’ more as friends who will be able to approach me whenever they need help.

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