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how much does the plastic pickguard affect pickups sound and tone?

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by wrong_note_rod, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. wrong_note_rod

    wrong_note_rod Strat-Talk Member

    May 17, 2012
    silly question, I am guessing not much

    I found this interesting fabric and thought about finding a cheap white pickguard and gluing it securely to the pickguard, then installing the pickups.

    Will this change the sound very much? Is part of the sound of the pickups, caused by reflections of sound from the pickguard itself? Those wouldnt happen with fabric covering the surface.

    I'm hoping it wont be a factor, I dont think it would be, but thought I would ask the experts here.
  2. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Senior Stratmaster

    May 2, 2016
    Cranston, Rhode Island
    Only gonna make it look different. It'll change the sound about as much as changing your socks
  3. MetalPedal

    MetalPedal Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 22, 2016
    Auto-Wah, Canada
    I’d say about as much as an extra feather amongst the thousands on a bird’s wings.
    henderman likes this.
  4. simoncroft

    simoncroft Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 30, 2013
    SE England
    The money I've been wasting on 'tone socks'. :(
    Dare1, dueducs, tarheelbob and 19 others like this.
  5. balston11

    balston11 Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 8, 2013
    Preston UK
    Surely depends on the colour of the pickguard
    circles and rolandson like this.
  6. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 4, 2013
    I think you have a good idea for a pick guard and I do not believe it will change your sound 1 bit.
  7. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Senior Stratmaster

    May 26, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    You're right, and you're right... not even worth a discussion..

    dueducs likes this.
  8. Chont

    Chont Most Honored Senior Member

    Sep 25, 2012
    the tone is in the switch tip... surprised you didn't know that. Black ones have a darker tone.
  9. wrong_note_rod

    wrong_note_rod Strat-Talk Member

    May 17, 2012
    OK. I'm good to go then. thanks
  10. Will Lefeurve

    Will Lefeurve Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 1, 2016
    England & France
    I did tell you Simon... but would you listen.. NO.. :rolleyes:
    CigBurn and simoncroft like this.
  11. Rufustelestrat

    Rufustelestrat Senior Stratmaster

    No no no... for the last time it is the plate on the pickguard screws and the proximal length and pitch of the threads.
    Stratoskater likes this.
  12. Frog Johnson

    Frog Johnson Strat-Talker

    Aug 19, 2013
    Pre-CBS plastic was different and breathes better
    Stratoskater likes this.
  13. rolandson

    rolandson Most Honored Senior Member

    Indeed, colour is everything...

    Blue and black are quite obvious, but a more subtle affect will be derived from the additive secondaries of the subtractive system. Cyan, magenta, and yellow.

    Herein one will find overtones quite useful in the jazz fusion and pop realm, whereas the additive primaries will be more benificially pronounced in blues, rock, classical, and mainline jazz.

    Keep in mind that white is reserved solely for music of a religious bent, including pastafarianism, and black is the obvious demonic chord selection. Thus these are precluded from discussion per forum protocol.

    But for the really big feel...
    Shag carpeting man...shag carpeting!
    The Strat Dude, Cerb and ryapou like this.
  14. Yves

    Yves Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 2, 2016
  15. RussV

    RussV Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 8, 2008
    Under normal circumstances it makes no difference but at high volumes my scratch place used to resonate with one particular note and affect it until I tightened up all the screws. Very odd.
    s5tuart likes this.
  16. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    I don't agree. The pickups on a Strat are directly suspended from the plastic scratchplate. They never even touch the wood of the body. They certainly never touch the paint.

    Yet people spend hours pontificating about "resonance" or about how ash sounds different to alder, or how nitro sounds better than poly finishes. The pickups never touch any of those things - they only touch the plastic. So inevitably the plastic is going to affect the sound of a Strat more then the body wood or it's finish does.
  17. RobZ69

    RobZ69 Strat-O-Master

    Apr 22, 2017
    The Netherlands
    It's the strings that vibrate. Not the pickups... (so much)
  18. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    Yes, I was aware of that thank you. My point is that people obsess about body wood & paint. The scratchplate has closer contact with the pickups than anything else. So it must be more relevant to the sound.
  19. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Senior Stratmaster

    May 26, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    I agree.. but the hypothesis doesn't produce a useable, predictable probability... there are too many other factors invoking more significant influence, thus one is left with the random results of whatever they have.

    To "sample" different plastics used in pickguards, one would have to completely disassemble the assembly and reinstall it on the next "test" bed .. that alone results in "change" thus, once again we're discussing the potential for change that cannot be quantified..

    So. . yes... it's a silly question... and any possible sonic influence is insignificant...

    Henfield Strat and davidwhitson like this.
  20. albala

    albala Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 10, 2012
    stamford, CT
    how would you know?