How to Remove a Pickguard from an Electric Guitar

How to Remove a Pickguard from an Electric Guitar


If you're looking to customize your electric guitar or perform maintenance, removing the pickguard is often necessary. The pickguard is the plastic or metal plate located under the strings and around the pickups. It not only protects the guitar body but also provides a surface to mount various electronic components. Removing the pickguard requires careful attention to avoid damaging your guitar. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of safely removing a pickguard from an electric guitar.

Tools Required

  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Guitar picks or plastic pry tool
  • Tweezers or needle-nose pliers

Step 1: Prepare your Workspace

Find a clean, flat surface where you can comfortably work on your electric guitar. Lay down a soft cloth or blanket to protect the guitar's finish from any accidental scratches or dings.

Step 2: Loosen the Strings

To prevent any potential damage to the guitar's neck or body, it is crucial to loosen the strings. Turn the tuning pegs counterclockwise until the strings are completely slack. You can use a string winder to speed up the process.

Step 3: Remove the Screws

Use a Phillips head screwdriver to carefully remove the screws securing the pickguard to the guitar body. Keep the screws in a safe place to avoid losing them.

Step 4: Lift the Pickguard

Once the screws are removed, gently lift the pickguard from the guitar body. You may need to use a guitar pick or a plastic pry tool to help loosen the pickguard from any adhesive or clips holding it in place. Be cautious not to use excessive force, as it may damage the pickguard or the guitar body.

Step 5: Disconnect the Electronics

Underneath the pickguard, you will find various electronic components, such as pickups, switches, and potentiometers. Carefully disconnect the wiring harnesses and any other connections from the back of the pickguard. You can use tweezers or needle-nose pliers to gently remove any stubborn connectors.

Step 6: Clean and Maintain

With the pickguard removed, take the opportunity to clean the guitar body and the pickguard itself. Use a soft, lint-free cloth and a mild guitar cleaner to wipe away any dust or grime. If desired, you can also apply guitar polish to restore the guitar's shine.


Removing a pickguard from an electric guitar is a task that can be accomplished with patience and care. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can safely remove the pickguard and gain access to the guitar's electronics for customization or maintenance purposes. Remember to take your time, keep track of the screws, and handle the guitar with utmost care. Happy pickguard removal!

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