Do You Need a Pickguard?: Learn Why Your Guitar Needs One

By  //  March 14, 2024

Whenever you buy a new guitar, the seller often asks you, do you need a pickguard? A guitar pickguard is a plastic-made accessory that covers a particular part of a guitar.

Primarily, a guitar pickguard protects the guitar surface from unwanted scratches and tears. Guitarists install the pickguard to cover the space where they frequently touch while playing it. So, the basic purpose of using this thing is to safeguard the guitar surface. Also, it brings the aesthetics to the guitar body.

Now, the question is, do you need it or not? 

For sure, the decision is yours. However, we can help you out to know why. So, stay with us till the end to learn everything about this guitar accessory. 

What is A Pickguard for a Guitar?

Imagine a situation where you’re strumming away on your guitar but lost in the music. Suddenly you notice tiny scratches appearing on the surface from the strumming. 

I know the pain of finding a single scratch on your favorite guitar.

A pickguard is the thing that usually safeguards your guitars from getting such scratches. It’s a plastic body cover you can set on your guitar by using glue or screw. So, it’s like a superhero cape for your guitar that shields it from wear and tear. 

Usually, most pickguards are made from materials like plastic or metal and they come in various shapes and sizes. While safeguarding the guitar’s finish from damage caused by picks, these things sometimes make your guitar look even more functional. 

Do You Need a Pickguard? [The Truth]

Now, let’s talk about whether you need a guitar pickguard for your guitar or not. 

Here’s the deal: if you love strumming with gusto or if your guitar’s finish is a bit on the delicate side, a pickguard is practically a must-have for you. 

Without a pickguard, every time you play, you will be at risk of scratching up your beloved instrument. However, when you’ve got a pickguard in place, you can play your heart’s out and there’s almost no risk of damaging your guitar’s surface. 

Also, let’s not forget the bonus of style points. Generally, pickguards come in all sorts of cool designs to suit your taste. So, if you want to keep your guitar looking more stylish while rocking out like a pro without scratching it, investing in a pickguard is a no-brainer.

6 Reasons You Should Get A Pickguard

Here, I have added a brief insight into the common purposes of using a pickguard:

  • Protection For Guitar

Generally, pickguards act as a shield for your guitar. It safeguards your guitar’s surface from scratches that can frequently be caused by constant contact with picks while playing. So, when you use a pickguard, the scratches will be on it instead of the guitar’s surface.

  • Preserve The Guitar

As the pickguards prevent scratches and wear, it helps maintain the integrity and appearance of your guitar’s finish. When your pickguards collect all the scratches, you can easily replace them to give it a new look. So, it works to preserve the condition of your guitar.

  • Improve The Guitar’s Appearance

Beyond protection, pickguards come in different shapes and designs that can add a stylish touch to your instrument. So, it’s a nice way to improve the appearance of your favorite instrument while adding a new layer of protection to it. To understand this, just look at any Fender telecaster with a butterscotch blonde color.

  • Gives You Confidence

When you are using a pickguard, you’re pretty much confident. You don’t stumble upon your guitar chords. This confidence boost improves your guitar-playing skills. 

  • Good For Acoustic Guitars

Especially on acoustic guitars, where the downstroke of the picking hand often finishes on the soundboard, pickguards are very essential for preventing damage to the top. That’s why many acoustic guitars come with an inbuilt bit removable pickguard.

  • Improve The Guitar’s Longevity

As the pickguard reduces wear and tear, it improves the longevity of your guitar. This way, it ensures your favorite guitar remains in great condition for years to come.

As we see, there are a lot of reasons why you should invest in a pickguard for your guitar. Even though the facts of styling and tone effects may not matter so much, you should be considerate when it comes to surface protection.

How To Choose The Right Pickguard?

I guess you have already started planning to buy a pickguard for the guitar, right? If yes, I have some tips that can help you choose the right pickguard. 

Remember that you should choose the perfect pickguard for your guitar and it’s crucial for both protection and aesthetic enhancement. 

Here’s how to choose the right pickguard:

  1. Material: Pickguards are usually made from plastic, but metal and other materials are also available. Even though metal ones are better, plastic pickguards can be the best if the quality is good.
  2. Size and Shape: You need to ensure that the pickguard fits your guitar model snugly and covers the area where your picking hand contacts the surface. For that, you should match the shape to your guitar’s design for a seamless look.
  3. Style: Make sure to choose a pickguard that enhances your guitar’s visual appeal. Consider colors, patterns, and designs that suit well with your guitar.
  4. Tone Impact: If tone is a priority for you, it’s better to experiment with different materials and thicknesses to find one that minimizes any unwanted dampening.

Also, you should never go to the market to buy the pickguard without taking your guitar with you. You should check the size, style, and other facts in person before you install it. 

Pickguard Or No Pickguard?

So, Do you need a pickguard or not? The decision is all yours.

If you prioritize the protective benefits they offer against scratches and wear and their potential to enhance the visual appeal of your instrument, investing in a pickguard is often a wise choice. Though most guitarists sort of ignore the pickguards, it’s a good investment for the guitar.