Pickup Adjustment Causes Hump in Pickguard on HSS Strat

markuus99

New member
Messages
12
Okay so I have an HSS Strat build that I put together a while ago that's had a few lingering small issues I'm looking to finally address. This one probably isn't a huge deal, but it's driving me crazy.

Totally assembled, I've noticed a hump or warping in the center of the pickguard, specifically between the pickups. When I raise the middle pickup, I can see the whole middle area of the pickup rising with it.

Has anyone run into this? Any suggestions?

Some info that could be helpful:
  • This is a modern Warmonth Strat body with HSS routing. I measure the pickup route depth at 3/4" in line with Warmoth spec. The "single coils" are Mojotone Quiet Coil noiseless pups, and are fairly tall. However, neither the wire running under the middle pickup nor the height adjustment screw appear to be bottoming out.
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  • I noticed the height adjustment tubing was getting really, really compressed when raising the pup to the right height. I tried cutting down the height of the tubing with an X-Acto, but that had no impact either way. I haven't cut down the neck pickup tubing, and you can see the difference in one of the photos I attached.
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  • Lowering the pickup more or less flattens out the pickguard, but there's still a bit of a hump there. I wonder if that's just because the pickguard has been warped that way over time. This has been this way for a long while.
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  • The pickguard is pretty snug around the edges of the pup covers. I haven't yet tried filing out the pickup openings a bit to give the covers a bit more space. That may be the next thing I try barring other suggestions, but not sure if that will do anything
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  • Taking the neck off, unscrewing the pickguard, or pulling the pickguard off the guitar doesn't change anything. I thought perhaps the neck was pushing on the pickguard or that my screw holes were positioned poorly, but I ruled out those issues with some experimentation.

Thanks for any ideas or guidance!
 

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Rick

Senior member
Messages
4,306
Have you tried the pickguard in another guitar to see what happens?  Or compared the hole spacings to another pickguard?  I think warmoth has a sheet you download to see if the holes match up.
 

markuus99

New member
Messages
12
@rick2 I don't have another Strat body available, but I get the same effect even when the pickguard is not attached to the body. I also should have mentioned this is a Warmoth pickguard- I was concerned about the pickguard lining up properly with the body routes if I used another brand guard with the Warmoth body.

Maybe I will try sizing up the openings for the single coils in the pickguard a little bit and see what that does.

 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,198
markuus99 said:
Maybe I will try sizing up the openings for the single coils in the pickguard a little bit and see what that does.

That seems like probably the solution. If the pickup is a tight fit in the opening and/or its screws cannot move freely when adjusting it is most likely causing the pickguard to move with it causing the warping.
 

markuus99

New member
Messages
12
stratamania said:
That seems like probably the solution. If the pickup is a tight fit in the opening and/or its screws cannot move freely when adjusting it is most likely causing the pickguard to move with it causing the warping.

Yes, thank you! I opened up both the pickup adjustment screw holes and the openings for the pickups a bit and that essentially fixed the issue. I realized after you mentioned it that the threads of the adjustment screws were getting caught up in their holes slightly.

I ended up drilling out the screw holes, widening the holes imperceptibly, but enough to allow the screw to move freely without threads hanging up. Some shielding tape in the area may have contributed to the hole being just the tiniest bit too small. I also opened up the pickup openings just a bit to give the covers some room to move.

The pickguard is still slightly warped, but maybe understandable after being that way for a long while. The pickguard doesn't rise with the middle pickup anymore, though.

The other thing is now the tubing isn't getting insanely compressed like it was before. That means the tubing isn't doing very much after I sliced it down! So I'll likely be replacing the lil rubber tubes, but that's no biggie.

 
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