View Full Version : Pick Guards
I don't have a pick guard on either on my Mandolins. I have read how a lot of folks here remove them and other folks add them.
Looking a photos in the "Eye Candy" section it looks like more Mandolins are produced without them.
Is a pickguard just a personal preference?
Do some think it makes a mandolin easier to play? Or harder to play?
I also have read alot about the F holes and how the size of the holes will change the tone of a mandolin. If so it looks like a pickguard covers up a lot of the F hole on the treble side, would'nt this change the tone and volume a little? (Any thoughts, or opinions?)
I am building mandolin #3 and I think a pickguard looks kinda cool, but I really dont want to drill holes and put screws in if there is No benifit to a pickguard other than keep a few finger scratchs off it. Thanks JD
I don't put pickguards on because most people take them off. I don't like drilling holes in something I've already finished and putting hardware in them only to have the hardware taken out and the holes being there for the whole world to see.
If I have a customer that wants a pickguard, NO PROBLEM! I can always add one.
I decided to do it this way instead of putting guards on everything and having most of them taken off.
Mine doesn't have one. What it does have is a tiny white spot where my finger has worn through the finish, which is not entirely bad as every time I look at it, my resolve to never touch the top with my picking hand is renewed.
..ya know I was always an advocate of no pic-guard..until I got my present mando...it came with one..I thought it looked too good to take off....it incoporates the sunburst in the top of the mando....its mounted to the underside of the fingerboard and is not in the way at all...plus there isnt any rattley hardware to mess with...just two metal studs that are slid into the two holes of a slightly smaller size....Ive attached this pic so you can see what im talking about
Wow, if I had a pickguard as beautiful with that I wouldn't mess with it either. That is something.
Personally, I do not like pickguards. To me, they do seem to affect the sound, at least it was a factor with my first mandolin (a cheapo Alvarez, so maybe that has something to do with it), and I don't like the way they look, normally. The guard on the mandolin above is another story however.
I personally like pickguards as they protect the top of the instrument from me and my habits. #If you'll notice in the pictures at my website, they are shaped so as not to cover the F holes. #I have been making them with a metal bracket that clamps onto the mandolin and is also located with 2 pins on the side of the fingerboard extension support. #Thus you could take if off, with perhaps a light buffing of where it had clamped on needed, but no holes in the body. #I recently have decided to eliminate the bracket and just use the 2 pins and a small screw in the extension support. #It is plenty sturdy and still leaves no holes in the body so it can be removed if desired.
I don't think the addition of the pickguard shaped this way affects the tone at all.
(or you can click on the picture of the Emory Lester model on the front page of the Cafe). #The picture there doesn't have a pickguard on it because that's what Emory preferred. #I put one on the one I play......
Just my opinion.
I guess I'm a Knuckle dragger, and so I find them useful, as I have habits based on instruments that have had them installed, and so I had them fitted to instruments I bought that did not , it is kind of a depth guage for pick attack.
Two things, 1) how far below the strings is a pick gaurd? and 2) Could you use a bracket like is used on the arm rests some have? I think they use viola hardware. John
Two things, 1) how far below the strings is a pick gaurd? and 2) Could you use a bracket like is used on the arm rests some have?
1) On my Rigel, the pickguard is about 1/8" below the strings.
2) There was a post a few months back in the "pictures" section, showing where Bill Bussman had made one of his Old Wave mandolins with a clamp-on pickguard using a "carpenter's jack," which is the bracket you are describing. So it can definitely be done.
Where do you all buy your pickguard mounting hardware?
Thanks Mando Johhny. John
Samuel, you can buy threaded inserts and tiny machine screws at your local hardware store, and welding rod at a welding supply outlet. Mostly you will have to fashion your own version of attachment goodies, but there are lots of possibilities. Go get a good look at several different "brands" of mandolins to get some ideas. May I suggest: Gibson, Brentrup, Webber, Smart, Lewis, etc.
Can anyone point me to a flexible stick-on type of plastic material, like that which flamenco guitars have to protect the soundboard, but in a range of tortoiseshell colours?
I'm not a mandolin builder, but as a player, I don't think
of this as a pickguard, but as a finger rest. There's
more than just nomenclature in that distinction. As a finger
rest, it gives me a good reference point for the right hand.
It makes it easier to judge pick depth and location of my
hand north and south over the strings. I can't speak for
other players, but if my pick were slapping the face enough
to need a guard, I would say my technique would be
extremely wild and sloppy. As for the finger rest covering
the f-hole and affecting tone...I thought the main function
of the f-hole (or round hole) was to allow air inside the body,
allowing the top to vibrate. I've never noticed the presence
or absence of the rest to change tone much if at all.
If I could play with a completelty free right hand, or were
willing to place my hand on the bridege, I'd remove the rest.
By the way, to all you builders, I'm in total awe of your craft
and also what I suspect is a little magic. Blood, sweat, and
tears. resulting in a work of art from which more art can come.