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View Full Version : Making a Pick Guard.



EleoCasil
10-06-2008, 04:20 PM
I was wondering if anyone knew the best material to make a pick Guard out of. I was also thinking bout customizing it, and putting my own logo. Any thoughts?:worship:

acabooe
10-06-2008, 04:52 PM
I would think that you might need to use a dense wood, such as rose wood, or ebony so that it won't scratch easy.


I haven't personally done it, but you might talk to NukeDoc.
He could point u in tha right direction.

Aloha
Bob

dave g
10-06-2008, 05:16 PM
I've never made one, but if I were to try I believe I'd look at vertical grade (thin) plastic laminate ("formica"). Tons of different colors, strong stuff.

EleoCasil
10-06-2008, 06:02 PM
I would think that you might need to use a dense wood, such as rose wood, or ebony so that it won't scratch easy.


I haven't personally done it, but you might talk to NukeDoc.
He could point u in tha right direction.

Aloha
Bob

Thanks a good Idea! I will talk to NukeDoc

EleoCasil
10-06-2008, 06:02 PM
I've never made one, but if I were to try I believe I'd look at vertical grade (thin) plastic laminate ("formica"). Tons of different colors, strong stuff.

thanks for your imput! I'll look that up right now!

Thanks again! I just looked it up, and we have that at our local Home Depot! I'm going to drive on over there once I finish up with what I am doing!

NukeDOC
10-06-2008, 06:10 PM
hahaha you dont wanna talk to me about it. everything i do is ghetto stylee mickey mousing to the nth degree fa'sho!

i just used some floor tiling that i found at home depot. cut it into shape, and superglued it onto the ukes that i put them on.

but i dont condone this action. this can affect the tone. and if youre not very handy and crafty, you can easily make your uke look like dung.

do it the right way and use a thin, dense wood... or the clear mylar stuff thta dom pointed you towards. good luck.

EleoCasil
10-06-2008, 06:18 PM
hahaha you dont wanna talk to me about it. everything i do is ghetto stylee mickey mousing to the nth degree fa'sho!

i just used some floor tiling that i found at home depot. cut it into shape, and superglued it onto the ukes that i put them on.

but i dont condone this action. this can affect the tone. and if youre not very handy and crafty, you can easily make your uke look like dung.

do it the right way and use a thin, dense wood... or the clear mylar stuff thta dom pointed you towards. good luck.

haha thanks man! so Dense wood huh? how does that contrast the wood of the Uke though? or they have them in many colors?

Pete Howlett
10-06-2008, 10:57 PM
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Stewmac have all the stuff you need but don't do it! If you must, use the clear plastic stuff over a stencil of your logo.:uhoh:

uluapoundr
10-09-2008, 11:20 AM
I have two Ukuleles by Kawika with Western Red Cedar tops. David Hurd uses clear contact paper as a pick guard. I have had one of my instruments for 10 years and have not taken off the pick guard which has done really well at protecting the surface from fingernail scratches and no noticeable negative effects on sound. I personally do not care for the look of a pic guard, whether it's wood or tile flooring, ha!

Immelman
10-29-2008, 03:55 AM
Check out LMI (Luthiers Mercantile International). They probably sell what you need. I think attaching the pickguard might be tricky. Make sure you get the right adhesive. If you're thining about a clear guard, you might have serious problems with bubbles. Some people have told me that their local luthiers would not install a clear guard because of bubbles. If you want it clear, try cling-on material (LMI sells that too). You can stick it on to play and pull it off when you're finished. That gives you a lot of flexibility in case you change your mind.

Luk0s
01-09-2009, 03:59 AM
Hi everybody,

Is there a risk to use a "Kling-on" removable pickguard with the laquer finish of Kamaka's recent ukuleles???
I would like to protect mine with it but I don't want to make a mistake...

upskydowncloud
01-09-2009, 08:50 AM
Hi everybody,

Is there a risk to use a "Kling-on" removable pickguard with the laquer finish of Kamaka's recent ukuleles???
I would like to protect mine with it but I don't want to make a mistake...

That's a good question actually. I asked Dominator about using a similar sticky product for a pick guard and he has added it to his tenor and didn't mention any damage. I'm not sure how it'd react with the Kamaka finish.

Dominator
01-09-2009, 11:59 AM
That's a good question actually. I asked Dominator about using a similar sticky product for a pick guard and he has added it to his tenor and didn't mention any damage. I'm not sure how it'd react with the Kamaka finish.

Aldrine has the clear mylar material on his Kamaka and hasn't caused his finish any harm that I know of. Might check with him directly though.

Ukuleleblues
01-09-2009, 12:48 PM
I am just curious as to why you want to add pickguards to ukes? I've played pretty agressively, a couple hours each day on my favorite uke for the last 3 years and all that has happened is it has made the dull finish look polished where I strum.

I always thought it was weird that on a guitar you spent all this money on fine tone wood and then a slab of plastic is slapped on the top.

I'm not trying to be contrary, just curious. :rolleyes:

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-09-2009, 02:07 PM
Absolutely!

koalohapaul
01-09-2009, 10:19 PM
I am not a proponent of wooden pick guards, either. Just a matter of preference, though. Not like I consider them a sin, but I usually talk my clients out of one, and gently guide them to the plastic film. One thing about the plastic is that it's darn near impossible to remove, once it's on there. You probably won't be changing it often, but it's a big hassle when you do. It's like removing the bumper sticker from hell, but it's not on your $30,000 car. It's on your $?.?? uke.

Luk0s
01-10-2009, 12:56 AM
Thanks all for your answers,

I know the Mylar protection or other plastics films but they are both permanent.
That's why my question is about "Kling-On" material which is removable and with no glue based adhesion (http://www.kling-on.com/ss-2p-c.htm).
I wrote directly to Kamaka's team and they told me that it should not be a problem to place it, but they wants some picture before I do it. They want to make sure.

And for answer to Ukuleleblues or Moor Bettah Ukuleles, I want to add a non permanent pickuard because I want to keep my ukulele as long as possible and in good conditions.
I don't have it since a long time and there is already scraches where I strum.
At this speed I don't know how it will be in few years. Perhaps not 3 years but 6 or 10.
I don't think that thin films like that considerably change sound or tone of ukuleles.
Just look at Jake Shimabukuro (http://www.jakeshimabukuro.com/?t=pressgallery) with his beautifull (and expensive) custom Kamaka with
Koa master grade or Aldrine with his Tenor. I am not sure that they would have made this if it was not useful.
I do not compare myself with them but I simply understand that they want to protect their favorite instruments...

E-Lo Roberts
01-10-2009, 04:51 AM
I am just curious as to why you want to add pickguards to ukes? I've played pretty agressively, a couple hours each day on my favorite uke for the last 3 years and all that has happened is it has made the dull finish look polished where I strum.

I always thought it was weird that on a guitar you spent all this money on fine tone wood and then a slab of plastic is slapped on the top.

I'm not trying to be contrary, just curious. :rolleyes:
I second this experience.. no scratches on my uke and I play pretty hard at times..e.lo

Dominator
01-10-2009, 06:52 AM
I've played pretty agressively, a couple hours each day on my favorite uke for the last 3 years and all that has happened is it has made the dull finish look polished where I strum.



I believe this comes down to an individuals technique and playing style. My Glyph tenor has a French Polish finish. When I first got the uke I didn't realize how easy it was to scratch. Within the first couple of weeks I had the instrument I decided to record my mp3 of Gently Weeps. I think it took me about 15 minutes to complete the recording and I just about fainted when I looked at the instrument afterwards. It was trashed. Lucky for me Dave Means contacted me and offered to redo the finish before it got any worse and installed the mylar guard at the same time. A harder poly finish may not have been affected the same way but aggressive strumming on a song such as Weeps will result in fingers touching the upper bout on both sides of the fretboard. Especially if the thumb comes into play during the strumming.

My technique may not be great but I don't think it's bad either. For my style of aggressive strumming I need the clear guard to protect the soundboard. If Jake or Aldrine didn't use the clear material, their ukes would look like Willie Nelson's guitar before they knew it.

I looked at the Klin-On site. I wonder if you can just get sheets of it as opposed to the individual sets they sell?

Luk0s
01-11-2009, 02:05 AM
I looked at the Klin-On site. I wonder if you can just get sheets of it as opposed to the individual sets they sell?

Until now, I saw only their 1, 2 or 3 pieces sets on sales. Perhaps by contacting them directly and with a custom order it would be possible...

HumbleSounds
01-11-2009, 02:44 AM
I am just curious as to why you want to add pickguards to ukes? I've played pretty agressively, a couple hours each day on my favorite uke for the last 3 years and all that has happened is it has made the dull finish look polished where I strum.

I always thought it was weird that on a guitar you spent all this money on fine tone wood and then a slab of plastic is slapped on the top.

I'm not trying to be contrary, just curious. :rolleyes:

I have a solid cedar top kala, because it didn't come with a high gloss finish the wood grain was pretty easily marred. After about a half hour of playing it, I saw what I had done to the surface and :eek: I was thoroughly bummed. There were 3-4 ruts in the surface from my finger with some smaller marks.

Needless to say I put it down and got the clear plastic pickguard the next day. But, the plastic couldn't take away what was done and now there is bubbles all along the grooves in the wood.

I suppose I would have preffered a high gloss finish as a protection for the wood, but I was told later that the uke would not have as "open" of a sound.

As far as guitar pick guards go, I have visions of Willie nelsons guitar and how his years of strumming have created a second sound hole. It works for him. I probably would have put it into retirement by now though.

I also really dig the pick guards on James Hill's uke. I just wonder how thin of a slice of hardwood they use.

E-Lo Roberts
01-11-2009, 06:11 AM
I also really dig the pick guards on James Hill's uke. I just wonder how thin of a slice of hardwood they use.

I'm curious to see if Chuck, Pete, and Dominator slam with me on this one! hahaha...take me to the woodshed....

Here my suggestion: I'm thinking if you are going the pickguard route, try making your own out of a nice hardwood or better yet go to a good woodworker store (or online at stew mac) and find some nice hardwood veneer (not the kind with adhesive on the back!) Perhaps maple, ebony, or whatever compliments the uke as a whole. Shape it the way you like. If you don't use a veneer then make it the same thickness as veneer.

Now, here's an important step... -- Use some of that new Titebond ready mixed Hide glue as an adhesive --. This is because if you mess it up or you want to remove the pickguard (and the glue) completely at a later time, hide glue can be remove with a little heat and some moisture. Perhaps a hot, wet cloth. I've even used a steam iron on some misplaced bracing to loosen up the hide glue.

When you get ready to apply the Hide glue to the thin hardwood veneer, it will most likely start to curl up or perhaps bubble up in areas. Be prepared for this. Have a block of wood ready the size of the pickguard ready to clamp on top of the pickguard once it is in place. Use a C-clamp through the soundhole and clamp the block. Of course, take care on the inside to place an additional small piece of wood between the soundboard and clamp to prevent damage to the inside of the uke's soundboard.

PS, You can clean up any glue that might spread out around the pickguard with a warm, damp cloth.
I believe you can remove the clamp after a few hours. 24 hours to completely cure.

Just an idea... Good luck...e.lo...

Specks
01-19-2009, 02:14 PM
I used ( as stated before) Formica. Its a high pressure Laminate that is thin and fairly easy to work with.
I bet you can easily cut it with scissors if you wanted to. The core of the material has a greyish tinge to it, but its grained so i ended up using a low bond double sided tape and it worked out great. Its been on for 2 months now..

Yey for no more scratches

asianic68
03-23-2009, 07:13 PM
so does pickguards distort anny uke sounds when installed?

dirk.li
08-23-2010, 10:20 AM
I am just curious as to why you want to add pickguards to ukes? I've played pretty agressively, a couple hours each day on my favorite uke for the last 3 years and all that has happened is it has made the dull finish look polished where I strum.

I always thought it was weird that on a guitar you spent all this money on fine tone wood and then a slab of plastic is slapped on the top.

I'm not trying to be contrary, just curious. :rolleyes:

After playing for two years on several ukuleles I can see marks in the varnish made by my finger nails, probably caused by strumming. These marks mostly occur on the upper right side of the top, next to the fretboard. I can see these scratch marks on my Honu rope tenor, my black Kala tenor and my Ohana TK-50G.

At the UWC I've seen the uke top of Robin (BaronK69) scratched really badly by his nails. The wood of the top was kind of chipped away already.

I've been to a concert of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, and since I sat in the first row I could see that three of the uke players were playing Bushman ukuleles and they had pick guards - each shaped differently according to their individual playing style as it seemed. So I thought if professionals do it, why shouldn't I. I just want to protect my instrument.

The question is what's the best way to do it?!

whetu
08-23-2010, 02:10 PM
you can get a pick guard from inlaystickers.com, however the site appears to be down at the moment so I can't get you a direct link. This inlay may require some modification depending on how far your fretboard covers the top of your ukulele...

bt93
08-23-2010, 02:10 PM
I like the one aldrine has on his kamaka concert. it gives that uke a whole new look

PhilUSAFRet
02-08-2011, 11:56 AM
Hmmmm, might be a good idea to use pickguard material...the same kind they use on guitars. They come in different thicknesses and I would think you'd use the thinner ones. Most cost effective source of sheets (limited variety) is from guitarfetish.com. make some designs from heavy paper or thin cardboard until you get the design right. Cut the pickguard material any size and shape you want with a jigsaw with fine blade. Polish cut edge. You'd need the adhesive sheets to apply them. Apply, and peel off protective sheet....voila! One guy on ebay is making pickguards for the Kala Archtop Jazz uke and uses "teacher's putty". Otherwise, same, same as making and applying one to a guitar for the most part ! Good luck.

ksquine
02-09-2011, 08:27 AM
Cool technique to make your own pick guards on the OLF...
http://luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10101&t=29959&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hilit=pickguard