Anodised Aluminium Scratchplate Material 101

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4 ply pearl green jazzmaster pickguard

Pearloid Scratchplate Material 101

Pearloid 101- how to choose the perfect pearl material for your next favourite scratchplate   Pearloid is a classic scratchplate material, seen on a whole

Anodised Aluminium is one of the all-time classic looks, particularly on Fender guitars.

 

According to their website, Leo Fender first introduced gold anodised aluminium pickguards in 1956 on the student models in the Fender range; the single pickup ‘Musicmaster’ and dual-pickup ‘Duo-Sonic’.

Fender Duo Sonic Anodised Gold Aluminum Pickguard
Classic all the way! Real aluminium just does the job!

The ethos behind these initial 22.5-inch scale models was for music shops that offered lessons to be able to offer beginner guitarists an affordable and easy-to-play introduction to the instrument, before then upgrading them to a ‘proper’, full scale Fender- a Telecaster or Stratocaster. In 1957 gold anodised pickguards were found on the newly-facelifted P-Bass (in the form we all recognise it today), and in 1959 the new ‘Jazzmaster’ had a gold anodised pickguard. However, by the early 1960s this feature was phased out in favour of cheaper and more durable celluloid plastic.

 

‘Celluloid more durable than aluminium? Surely not?!’, I hear you cry- but whilst the aluminium itself was extremely durable, the anodised coating would often wear through after lots of use leaving a big silver patch in the middle of a gold pickguard on an expensive instrument. Although celluloid was softer than metal, and used to shrink/warp over time (which is the reason pickguards started to have additional screw holes after the switch to celluloid), the modern ABS plastic we use on most of our non-celluloid pickguards today hadn’t yet been fully developed, so Fender and the team had to use the best stuff they could find.

 

Get started with your custom anodised guard here! click here button 

Tone benefits?

Some people swear blind that having an anodised pickguard alters the quality of the tone, and some even go as far as using conjecture and pseudoscience  to convince other people (mostly on guitar forums) that aluminium pickguards do stuff to the sound… ‘add warmth’, ‘sweeten the top end’, and all the other meaningless things people say when trying to describe tone.

Each to their own of course, but I’d gently suggest that a blindfolded tone test would be their worst nightmare- there’s not a human being on earth who can tell the difference between an orange drop cap and any other capacitor of the same value, no matter what they claim.

Fact is, lots of people ‘hear’ with their eyes! There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but it is the cause of much misinformation and confusion in the gear community.

Anyway… as a salesman, perhaps I should be telling you here that an anodised pickguard will make your guitar sound better. That it’s the missing link, the one thing that’s been lacking from your tone all along… but I’d rather be honest, and say I can’t hear any objective difference between an aluminium and plastic pickguard.

…BUT…

Just because you can’t hear a difference in tone, doesn’t mean there aren’t certain benefits to this material.

Shielding is important on guitars, to keep mains hum out of the circuit. Encasing the controls in a faraday cage of shielding tape can really help clean up your sound… and if the front door of that cage is made of 1.5mm thick aluminium, instead of 0.2mm thick tape, then that has to help right? Certainly, aluminium pickguards do not need additional shielding (though people do sometimes request it!)- you can read up plenty more on shielding on our blog post here. It’s possible that when people talk about aluminium guards ‘taming the top end’, this is what they’re actually referring to.

It feels different to plastic under your fingertips. If you touch the guard while playing, it has a different, grainier texture to plastic, and some folks much prefer this.

It looks really cool. With several varieties available, anodised(or naked, brushed) aluminium can really lift how an instrument looks. We’d be lying if we told you it’ll guarantee your guitar will SOUND better with an aluminium pickguard, but there’s a very good chance your guitar will LOOK better with one- and that’s something you’ll be able to tell as soon as you see it. And of course, the better your guitar looks, the more likely you are to play it more often and end up sounding even better through improved technique… so in that regard, maybe anodised aluminium scratchplates DO make you sound better after all!

Let’s have a look at the different varieties on offer, shall we?

 

Brushed Aluminium

Brushed Real Aluminium Scratchplate Material
Real metal with a lovely textured feel to it – 90° edge work only

The naked look! Just aluminium, served brushed from the factory. This can be a great stand-in for chrome mirror, and compliments any silver hardware on your guitar- different texture, but the same colour, and works with both chrome and nickel hardware. As it’s silver, this will look fantastic on almost any colour of guitar or texture of natural wood grain if you’re rocking the natural look.

Bob Marley aluminium football scratchplates
Bob Marley aluminium football guards
Burns king cobra aluminium scratchplates
Burns king cobra aluminium pickguards
All In one Fender Jazz Bass Pickguard
Industrial modern look is all possible, we also made this control plate / pickguard as an all-in-one
P90 Telecaster Brushed Aluminium Pickguard
Sleek and solid, feels and looks great!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anodised Gold

Gold Anodised Aluminium Pickguard Material
Real metal with a lovely textured feel to it – 90° edge work only

The classic! Just like the stuff Fender used to use, the only difference being our stock arrives with us already anodised before we cut the guard, rather than being anodised and lacquered afterwards. This works extremely well on many different guitar and bass styles and colours- but especially well with the classic Fender colours; sunburst, dakota red, olympic white, black, surf green… If you’re undecided which flavour of aluminum to go for, I’d recommend this one if you’re after retro 1950’s/1960’s vibes.

gold anodised telecaster pickguard
gold anodised telecaster scratchplate
Left Handed Mustang Pickguard In Anodised Gold
Classic Fender style anodised aluminum scratchplates made bespoke, the best way!
Fender Duo Sonic Anodised Gold Aluminum Pickguard
Classic all the way! Real aluminium just does the job!

 

 

 

 

 

Black Anodised

Black Anodised Aluminium Scratchplate material
Add a Modern and industrial look to your guitar, Raw aluminium edges on show – 90° edge work only

Black goes with almost everything. Anodised black looks cool with almost everything. This stuff looks extremely classy, especially when engraved down to the silver layer… great for the metalheads out there too, as what could be more metal… than actual metal? \m/

Anodised black metal pickguard
Anodised black metal scratchplate
Anodised Black strat pickguard
Anodised Black strat custom scratchplate
'Hoots' logo engraved onto a black anodised aluminium TinyTone truss rod cover
‘Hoots’ logo engraved onto a black anodised aluminium TinyTone truss rod cover (credit- IG @gloryhammerofficial)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bronze Anodised

Bronze Anodised Aluminium Scratchplate Material
Classy Deep bronze! Real metal with a lovely textured feel to it – 90° edge work only

Bronze is the tricky one. Like many of our pearloid materials, it’s a little bit unorthodox, and doesn’t match everything- but when it does work, it REALLY works. This might not be the right option for you out of all of these here, but if it is, you’ll never regret it. Looks especially good on aged/olympic white, butterscotch, or natural finishes.

Squier Silver Series Strat with Anodised Bronze Custom Pickguard
Makes your guitar appear more vintage than it is! Anodised Bronze Aluminium
anodised bronze cream jazzmaster pickguard
anodised bronze cream jazzmaster scratchplate
anodised bronze jazzmaster pickguard
anodised bronze jazzmaster scratchplate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there you have it! Hopefully that clears up some of the misinformation out there… though I can appreciate the irony; like all good tone gurus, I suppose I’m asking you to think for yourself by agreeing with everything I say..!

Ultimately;

Do anodised pickguards sound better than plastic ones? Probably not.

Do they look better? If you pick the right one for your guitar, probably yes!

 

But there’s only one way to find out… order yours today! click here button