Custom Pickguards

Kevin Ott
Stratocaster with pickguard

If you'd like to add some personality to your guitar, getting a custom pickguard is one of the simplest ways to do that. It's similar to adding an accessory to your outfit: it's easy to do, and it adds a nice touch. The hard part, however, can be deciding on a design. The following ideas and pickguard designers will help you narrow it down.

Creative Color Schemes

For this idea, it's smart to borrow from the world of professional design. This color calculator from a design school site allows you to find beautiful, creative combinations that would pass any interior designer's inspection with flying colors.

This gorgeous fiery red, orange and black color scheme is a great example of a nice custom color scheme for your pickguard.

Themes From Movies, TV Shows or Books

An easy resource for pickguard ideas is the world of entertainment. It's especially fun to use pop culture ideas (or high-brow entertainment) when it's obscure or unusual. The following video shows an example of a mind-blowing custom pickguard depiction of the Star Wars Jedi symbol.

If that's not cool enough, this pickguard depicting the Gondor Tree from The Lord of the Rings draws simultaneously from film and literature with its tribute to J. R. R. Tolkien's epic masterpiece.

Unusual Materials or Patterns

The pickguard color combo in the following video shows an "Aqua Pearl" shade of blue with a dazzling water-like pattern set against a dark solid blue guitar body--much more interesting than the plain white pickguard that preceded it.

Another intriguing custom pickguard idea is the use of unusual materials, such as leather. This leather custom pickguard not only protects the guitar effectively, it adds a delightful texture that has both visual and tactile appeal.

Where to Buy Custom Pickguards

Once you have an idea of what you want, you can begin building your own or you can take your design to a custom pickguard builder, such as the following quality pickguard designers.

Alperious Custom Pickguard

If you fell in love with the Jedi Symbol and Gondor Tree custom pickguards shown above, your first stop for a custom pickguard designer should be Alperious. This talented artisan builder is based out of Istanbul, Turkey, and the company ships anywhere in the world. Other designs that this custom pickguard designer features on his website include:

  • Game of Thrones symbol
  • Exotic script of any name or word
  • Star Wars stormtrooper symbol
  • Liquid block pattern
  • Biohazard symbol
  • Canadian maple leaf theme
  • Palm tree theme

There are many others you can see in the website's stunning photo slideshow near the bottom of the homepage. According to the builder's FAQ page, he does not provide pricing except through direct contact because it can vary depending on what you want. Such exquisite artisan work most likely means a higher price than the makers listed below, but the level of craft makes it well worth it.

Terrapin Guitars

Terrapin Guitars makes custom pickguards for electric, acoustic guitars, and basses. You can get words, artwork, designs, logos, or other custom ideas engraved on your pickguard to say or express just what you want. Their site includes galleries that show off wild designs ranging from a Scrabble board theme to psychedelic swirls straight out of the '60s. Their site also has instructional videos and tips. Prices average from around $40 to $70.

Pickguardian

Pickguardian has a large library of color and material options including:

  • Tortoise marble
  • Glitter (in many colors)
  • Late '50s gold
  • Zebra shell
  • Tiger eye shell
  • Black and white paisley

They have many other options including:

  • Signature pickguards that include your signature or name
  • Archtop pickguards for the unusual bodies of archtop guitars
  • Unusual designs with emblems, images, or even transparent glass-like pickguards

This site is a great source for custom-made, hard-to-find, and out-of-production pickguards. Standard and deluxe colors for replacement pickguards are available, as well as custom colors if you want to spice things up a bit. You can also find custom pickguards for archtop guitars at Pickguardian.

Prices range from about $20 to $50 in most cases, depending on which options you choose, though they could certainly be much higher depending on your design because each one is handmade, one at a time.

Greasy Groove

Whether you want a graphical pickguard, a unique material like wood, metal, mirror or transparent plastic, or a solid color, you can find it here at Greasy Groove. They also have a comprehensive array of designs specifically for different guitar models that hit all the big ones such as:

  • Fender
  • Ibanez
  • Gibson
  • Gretsch
  • Yamaha
  • Epiphone

They have gorgeous design ideas for each model of guitar and prices range from about $20 to $40 or higher depending on the options you select.

A Guitar to Match Your Style

One of the funnest things about owning a guitar is adding the little touches that reflect your personality and style. A custom pickguard is one of the best ways to do that, especially if you find the perfect design. Sometimes it's the little things that perfect the look of an instrument.

Custom Pickguards