Replacing a Martin’s Old Pickguard

A customer brought in his dad’s 1960s Martin acoustic.  This old lady is a fingerpicker’s dream!  Wonderful tone, incredible projection, a V-profile neck… and not the first hint of laminate anywhere. This guitar had tone and vintage vibe oozing from between every tight grain of spruce!  She had one problem, though… an old plastic pickguard that had begun curling at the edges.

When removing an old pickguard, you want to apply some heat so that the glue that holds it on will release and let you peel up the plastic piece without pulling splinters out of the top of the guitar.  However,  it’s important to be careful not to overheat the top because you can damage the finish.  I used a hairdryer… and it worked perfectly!

Once the glue began giving way, the pickguard peeled up easily, revealing what’s been hidden beneath this piece of black plastic for 50 years.

The top of this old Martin was unfinished beneath the pickguard, which means that the Martin company applied the pickguard to the top when it was bare and then put the finish on afterward.  Most guitars today have their finish applied before the pickguard is adhered.

The new pickguard fit nicely and was applied with no problems!  This beautiful lady looks lovely again!  (That is wear to the finish along the bottom of the pickguard.)

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