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Thread: Pickguards

  1. #1
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    Default Pickguards

    Hi all,

    I'm considering putting a pickguard on my Mainland concert cedar ... anyone ever tried this before? I'm wondering if it will affect the sound, ie. dampening the soundboard? Or would the effect be negligible?

    Thanks!
    'There is music you make ... and there is music that makes you.'
    Rich Mullins

  2. #2
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    Default

    Well, there are two ways to look at it. a) Lots of (perhaps even MOST) acoustic guitars have pickguards, and I've never heard people complain about them affecting the sound, or else you'd see lots of guitars that had them removed. Or, b) they don't affect a guitar's sound much because the soundboard is so much larger, but on a smaller soundboard they would have a noticeable effect. I have no idea which of these statements is more correct! What you COULD try: get some of that clear stuff they use to protect the fronts of cellphones and iPods. It's cheap and comes off pretty easily. You could try it with and without to see if it noticeably changes the sound before you got a more permanent guard.
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  3. #3
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    Default


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    pa`a ka waha.

    Observe with the eyes; listen with the ears; shut the mouth.
    Thus one learns.


  4. #4
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    Default

    I've had the thin transparent plastic pickguards you see on some accoustic guitars on one of my former baritones....it came with it,
    so I can't really tell you if it made a big difference...but it still sounded good..I hope it helps...and thicker and one would think it would
    impede and dampen the sound to a certain extent....Hope it helps..MM Stan..

  5. #5
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    Default

    Thanks guys ... yeah, my question is more about what the effect may or may not be on sound, not so much about how to go about fixing a pickguard on the uke. Can't say I like the look of the clear pickguards though
    'There is music you make ... and there is music that makes you.'
    Rich Mullins

  6. #6
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    Default

    The soundboard needs to vibrate and any additional thicker the transparent pick guards I feel would impede the volume, tone, and sound of your ukulele...
    Its a trade off...you want a better sounding ukulele or a more asthetic pleasing looking one....

  7. #7
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    Default

    A pickguard may or may not affect the sound - I have heard arguments for both schools of thought. Are you using picks? Do you have long fingernails that are scratching the top?

  8. #8
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    I've been using clear pickguards on some of my ukes as I seem to be a hard strummer and tend to put dents on the upper bout. I've noticed no difference in sound quality with pickguard in place. I believe the upper bout doesn't really vibrate that much anyway, and you'll need some seriously sensitive ears to be able to pickup any difference in sound, if any.

    Having said that, I've gotten away from using clear pickguards on most of my ukes because I no longer care if there are dents or scratch marks on them. The only uke I still use them on are a Glyph mezzo soprano and a Kanile'a super soprano. On the Glyph I had the builder put it on (adhesive type) because it has a super thin French Polish finish and I thought it's a good idea to protect the upper bout from my hard strumming. The Kanile'a still has a set of cling-on pickguards because I'm too lazy to take them off. The Kanile'a already has a bulletproof UV finish so it really doesn't need the pickguard.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandarb View Post
    A pickguard may or may not affect the sound - I have heard arguments for both schools of thought. Are you using picks? Do you have long fingernails that are scratching the top?
    Nope, no picks ... and no long nails either

    Actually, I was trying out the fan stroke on the Mainland and found that my index finger would end with a direct strike on the treble side of the upper bout ... giving it a firm percussive sound, kind of like what James Hill does on both sides of the his upper bout.

    That's what got me thinking about whether a pickguard would help protect the finish, since it's a direct strike on the body, not an incidental brush with a nail during regular strumming. Does that make sense?
    'There is music you make ... and there is music that makes you.'
    Rich Mullins

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by escee View Post
    That's what got me thinking about whether a pickguard would help protect the finish, since it's a direct strike on the body, not an incidental brush with a nail during regular strumming. Does that make sense?
    Yes. You could try attaching a pickguard with some type of adhesive that will not ruin the finish and see what you think of the tone.

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