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Thread: A question about floating pickguards

  1. #1

    Default A question about floating pickguards

    Hello. After seeing some discussions on the topic and googling around, it seems that locating a floating pickguard to purchase is not that simple, so I have a question:

    is there such a thing as a floating pickguard that doesn't require drilling holes or glue?

    Coming from the violin world with it's shoulder rests with rubber feet, and chin rests with clamps. it makes sense to me that it should be possible.
    Last edited by Don Dv; Oct-31-2019 at 3:38pm.

  2. #2

    Default Re: A question about floating pickguards

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Dv View Post
    is there such a thing as a floating pickguard that doesn't require drilling holes or glue?
    Mike Myers in the Love Guru had a flying carpet he rode around on......it was later revealed to have little wheels hidden from the camera view.....

    they would have to be small wheels to work on a mandolin pickguard, however, IMHO.......

  3. #3
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: A question about floating pickguards

    The abbreviated pickguards (fingerrests) found these days on many A5 and F5 model mandolins only require two tiny holes (1/16") drilled into the bottom edge of the fretboard extension. These two small holes are not visible to folks viewing the mandolin in the normal playing position, nor are they visible from the player's own perspective while picking: they are unobtrusive. The pickguard is held in by friction from two pins that go into these holes, and easily removed, if desired. Glue is not required. Some mandolins, like Northfield, use two small screws instead of friction pins, but the idea is the same.

    In my opinion, you should not be troubled about mounting a (normal) abbreviated pickquard. Drilling the two mounting holes will not diminish the value of your instrument. It will not change the aesthetic, either. If you decide you don't like the pickguard, you can take it off any time.

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  5. #4

    Default Re: A question about floating pickguards

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    In my opinion, you should not be troubled about mounting a (normal) abbreviated pickquard. Drilling the two mounting holes will not diminish the value of your instrument. It will not change the aesthetic, either. If you decide you don't like the pickguard, you can take it off any time.
    Thanks for your comments, do you have any recommendations on where to get one? I had some trouble finding good sources.

  6. #5
    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Re: A question about floating pickguards

    I say don't bother.
    I always remove the pick guard first thing.
    If you have good right hand technique, you don't need one.
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  7. #6
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: A question about floating pickguards

    Try Hill Country Stringworks and Cumberland Acoustics. You'll still have to drill the holes yourself or take the instrument to a luthier.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

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  8. #7
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    Default Re: A question about floating pickguards

    Diff schools of thought on 'floating' pickguards. Charlie Derrington crafted this one; he was a firm believer in a side bracket, even on abbreviated guards.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #8

    Default Re: A question about floating pickguards

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    Diff schools of thought on 'floating' pickguards. Charlie Derrington crafted this one; he was a firm believer in a side bracket, even on abbreviated guards.
    Do I see a screw drilled into the side of the body? If so, somehow that seems to defeat the purpose. If it was simply a clamp that would be what I am looking for.

  10. #9

    Default Re: A question about floating pickguards

    I think this is better than what I am looking for, since it is not permanent, I wonder if there is one for mandolin, maybe it can just be cut to size:
    Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #10

    Default Re: A question about floating pickguards

    Try the Ellis/Pava shop.

  12. #11
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: A question about floating pickguards

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Dv View Post
    I think this is better than what I am looking for, since it is not permanent, I wonder if there is one for mandolin, maybe it can just be cut to size:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I would strongly urge you to avoid those (glueless) adherent clear plastic pickguards for a mandolin! The unreacted plasticizers found in most of these clear sheets (like the ones sold by Taylor guitars, and many others), which serve to keep them flexible and slightly sticky, slowly leach out over time. These plasticizer compounds can react with nitrocellulose instrument finishes and swell them, cloud them, soften them, or otherwise damage them. They also react with many types of varnish finishes (but not all). They are only safe when used with cured polymer finishes, found on some factory guitars -- but not many mandolins. Believe me, I speak from direct personal experience, as well as practical knowledge.

    If your right-hand technique is such that you NEVER touch the mandolin top, of course, you don't need a pickguard on a mandolin with an elevated fingerboard, like the F5 model. But if you plant your pinky, or even if you brush the top occasionally with fingers, then it's a good idea to have a pickguard for protection of the instrument. Otherwise, you will wear through the finish over the long term, and possibly into the wood, as well.

    The modern, "abbreviated" pickguard for the F5/A5 uses two pins (or screws) to attach to the fingerboard extension, and it does not require a bracket going to the side of the instrument. These are perfectly stable. Charlie Derrington's guards were rare exceptions (as noted in post #7), but you certainly don't need to drill a hole in the side of your mandolin, in my opinion, for a bracket.

  13. #12

    Default Re: A question about floating pickguards

    Being an amateur builder and a reformed pinky-planter, I have installed narrow wooden floating finger rests on my 3 personal instruments. Bluegrassers that pick them up generally hate them. For me, they keep my pinky off the top and give me a subtle reference point- my fingers just brush the rest. I prefer ebony for the silky feel. For floating finger rests, I would recommend you have a luthier install one. The holes have to be drilled spot on, requiring a jig and the tension just right. I found for myself, narrow, high quality unfinished ebony, and angle down about 15 degrees is perfect. Everyone is going to have differing preferences.Click image for larger version. 

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  15. #13

    Default Re: A question about floating pickguards

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    I would strongly urge you to avoid those (glueless) adherent clear plastic pickguards for a mandolin! The unreacted plasticizers found in most of these clear sheets (like the ones sold by Taylor guitars, and many others), which serve to keep them flexible and slightly sticky, slowly leach out over time. These plasticizer compounds can react with nitrocellulose instrument finishes and swell them, cloud them, soften them, or otherwise damage them. They also react with many types of varnish finishes (but not all). They are only safe when used with cured polymer finishes, found on some factory guitars -- but not many mandolins. Believe me, I speak from direct personal experience, as well as practical knowledge.
    I had not heard of this before. Would you happen to have some links to material I could study into this further? It is quite intriguing.

    The musician that inspired my interest in mandolins, Hamilton de Holanda, is a pinky planter, which I suspect partially helps explain his speed in picking, this often seems smaller than wrist movement, in one video it almost seems like only thumb and index finger are moving in some passages.

    If the issue is only the pinky planting, I would think wearing a finger cot made of rubber, silicone, or some other material would be a better solution than putting anything on the instrument, though my concern is also possible pick damage. I suspect pinky planting is intended to prevent that.

    I am an experienced musician (multiple instruments), but not much of a mandolin player just yet.
    Last edited by Don Dv; Nov-02-2019 at 9:42pm.

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