21 November 2021

Removing a Pickguard from a Taylor Acoustic

Taylor 150e, with and without pickguard

I hate Taylor pickguards. I have a 150e 12-string that sounds great, but I find no joy looking at it. I have never removed an acoustic pickguard before (but I have removed a headstock laminate), but I thought I'd look into it. It looked pretty thin, so I thought a little heat might do it.

And indeed it did. The only tool required was a hair dryer on high heat, low speed. (I should probably add the disclaimer here: do NOT use a heat gun. Assume that nothing good will come of that.)

Lifting a heated corner to check for "tan lines" before removing the whole pickguard

I held the hair dryer about two inches above the pickguard, heated one end of the pickguard and lifted it to check for tan lines, but there were none. I never leave the guitar out of the case, so the finish hasn't faded much at all. If you've had your guitar a while, you might see a noticeable difference between the finish where the pickguard was and where the rest of the finish faded.

Holding the hair dryer a couple of inches above the surface

After that, I heated the rest, slowly moving the dryer back and forth and very slowly lifting the pickguard with my other hand. Start to finish, the peeling part took about a minute or so. I was glad to see that no adhesive remained on the surface of the guitar. It was all stuck to the back of the pickguard.

Goop on the back of the pickguard

So that was a quick job, and it looks a lot better to me. I ordered a Yamaha pickguard to put on it, because I really like the looks of those. If that doesn't fit, I'll leave it as is.