Installing pickguard.....noob question


New member
Hi Gents - long time lurker, first time poster.

I'm building my first strat project (Warmoth vintage modern neck, Warmoth strat body) and have a very silly question...

I just finished assembling my Fralin Blues Specials into the pickguard. When I tried to test fit the assembly into the body, I realized that the 22nd fret overhangs the body and does not allow the pickguard to drop directly into the body.

What is the best way to install the pickguard assembly into the body? Loosen / remove the neck? I hope not.....I've tried bending the pickguard, different angels, etc....and nothing works. I had planned on testing many different pick ups in this guitar and the thought of taking the neck on and off worries me.

Overall though this has been a great experience. The Warmoth parts are beautiful and wish I would have taken the plunger sooner, I'm already planning my next project  :)

Thanks in advance!

Edit: I guess I could cut away the pickguard or possibly try shorter screws on the neck pickup......Anyway, I hope there is just something that I have overlooked.....
Dont cut the pickguard.  But your choice of screw, pickup, pickup elevation at the neck is gonna make it something to @#$@#$ with.

Do this - fit the final pickguard.  Drill the holes, mount it.  Then take it off.  Set it aside.

Now do all your experiementing on the cheapest p-0-s pickguard you can find and cut THAT one to make things fit easy.  Even if the holes dont all line up, who cares?  Its temporary, its experimental, and its re-usable as a tool on your next project.  When you have it all set and done... take what you did and transfer it to the final pickguard, and yes, loosen the neck to get it on... set it all in place, and bingo you got a smokin' axe!  And you got a nice jig/tool for next time too!
Hey CB,
I  ordered a New 22 fret neck to replace the 21 fret neck for my Mexican Tele standard.
The neck is maple with ebony fretboard. Do you think i'll have to cut my pickguard as well?

After reading the first thread it got me to wondering.  :icon_scratch:And also shouldn't of thrown away my stock pickguard. DAMN! :-\

I found the same problem on my first warmoth,  No matter what I did, if I had a neck pickup in, the neck had to come off to take pickguard on or off.

I am setting up another guitar for testing pickups as well, and since I am gonna experiment primarily with bridge pickups, I plan to cut the entire pickguard in half or a third    similar to eddies frankenstrat pickguard.

I also have a floyd rose trem, so what I do is loosen the strings a bit, throw a capo on at about the 12th fret to hold the strings, and then remove the trem springs and the bridge entirely.
This gives great easy access to working on the pickguard, that way I'm not scratching paint when i slide the pickguard out.
Another great Idea from warmoth, install the jack for your guitar cord, in the 3rd tone pot hole of the pickguard and just use 1 tone pot

If this is gonna be a regular guitar for pickup testing, I would just route back the pickguard a bit so its not under the fretboard overhang. If you do a carefull nice job, it will look fine.

Another option, remove the wood between middle and neck pickup cavities, then the pickguards will slide back enough to get the guard out.

Whatever you do, the easier it is to change pickups the better
???? Just mount the pickguard prior to bolting on the neck; if the pickguard is properly manufactured... Just use your fingers to align the top of the pickguard to the neck pocket with bridge in place and drill the two pilot holes for the screws on either side of the neck pocket first, then go on around after screwing them in.

There's nothing to be afraid of in pulling the neck off to do this if you've already screwed it on first. Get used to it; as you build more guitars you will eventually find yourself doing neck swaps to see how different combos feel/sound....
Thanks again fellas, I'm really diggin' the helpful and fast responses.

FYI...per CB, I've taken an old pickguard and hacked it up as my "testing pickguard" great. You're right Alfang, I didn't hack the routing job and it looks pretty good when installed. I just may cut out the final pickguard too....
I  ordered a New 22 fret neck to replace the 21 fret neck for my Mexican Tele standard.
The neck is maple with ebony fretboard. Do you think i'll have to cut my pickguard as well?

No, you can install it as is by loosening the neck and tilting it.  The original poster wanted to take it on and off many times to experiment with, and that was a hassle.  Using a scrap pickguard for pickup experimentation works better, since you dont have to loosen the neck.
Talk about timing,  I just tried to remove my pickguard by loosening the neck.  Theres not enough slop in my body to allow the neck to tilt enough to remove the pickguard, That is, the screws remain perpendicular to the neck, and wont tilt enough in the body. I'm afraid to force it too.

I see a market here for a gizmo to screw the pickups into the pickup cavity, and still maintain an adjustment for height  ie free it from the pickguard alltogether
It is a lot easier to do if you order the body with a universal route, it makes it easyier to fiddle with and try several different wiring and pup options.
just lift the back and slide it out. I even did it with out taking off the strings (with an old peavey crappy strat) but i did need some band aids afterwards.