Your Pickguard is Unique!
Here at Tiny Tone, the most common question people ask us when placing an order for a custom scratchplate is along these lines:
‘Hey, I have a standard Fender Strat[or insert other make/model as applicable- we’ve had this enquiry about literally everything]- do you have a template for this already as it’s a really common guitar?’
Sadly the answer is: probably not. Standard does not really exist
We take a different approach to guarantee a fit
Surprisingly enough, even Fender, the kings of mass-production, still for some reason have a massive range of just-slightly-different scratchplate shapes and sizes. And it goes beyond just, for example, 5 or 7 holes on a Telecaster. In our warehouse we have, for example, fifteen or so Fender Mexican Standard Stratocaster pickguards –some even from the exact same year- and ALL of them are slightly different. That’s not just because of crazy pickup and control choices it’s just the perimeter! We wouldn’t want to speculate why as you’d think it’d be better for Fender to have a standardised system, and then offer modular upgrades!
And it’s not just Fender either- with the exception of the custom designed guards we’ve made for Wilcock Basses in London, we have several variations of every single common pickguard shape out there from all the big manufacturers, each one with screw holes in slightly different places or a subtly different shape.
We are approaching a hundred different Strat-or-similar guards for example, and only VERY rarely does a new order match an old one (we always check!)
So the positive way of looking at this is that just like you, your pickguard is (most probably) completely unique! Whilst we know there are cheaper ways of getting a replacement Strat pickguard these days, I’d argue the difference with us is that ours will fit your guitar every bit as well as the original, whereas just picking up one with the correct number of holes is little more than a roll of the proverbial dice.
So how do we get around this?
This is why we ask all our customers to send in either their original scratchplate (even if its broken!), or an accurate, to scale, cardboard template. More recently we have started accepting submissions via .DXF and vector file too, assuming that these are also accurate and to the correct scale. Ultimately, whilst our scratchplates will fit your guitar’s unique blueprint better than any others on the market, they’ll only ever be as good as the information you give us to begin with.
As you can see it’s a small bit of teamwork from you and us instructed by you. We’ll do the messy, noisy cover-yourself-in-plastic-shavings part for you… Talk to us there’s always a way through!
So hopefully that makes sense! We pride ourselves on being able to accurately create handmade custom pickguards, be they for a repair, upgrade, replacement or any other reason- and working from your original is simply the best way we can achieve that aim.
Keep an eye out for a future article explaining exactly how we use those originals to make our custom pickguards fit so accurately!