I recently bought a used Telecaster guitar in a sweet butterscotch blonde color. It’s a Squier Classic Vibe by Fender and it sounds awesome. The body is in immaculate shape but for some reason the previous owner treated the pick guard like a scratching post. In fact I can’t recall ever seeing a pick guard with that much scratch abuse (see picture below), which inspired me to look for a replacement that would be more fitting for the rest of the guitar.
I thought about just replacing it with another black guard but as long as I was replacing it, I thought I might as well find something to dress it up just a bit. I started looking around the web and couldn’t find too much until I went to Warmoth.com. Warmoth is a source for creating custom built guitars as well as replacement necks, bodies and other related guitar parts for existing models. I found their pick guard section and navigated to the Telecaster guards and started checking out the different options.
I found some nice ones but I had a hard time trying to visualize just how some of the color guards would look on my particular guitar. That’s when I turned to Photoshop to do a little virtual comparison shopping. The first thing I did was to locate an image of my particular guitar. A quick Google search led me to the image below.
After opening the image in Photoshop CS6, I took some screen captures of a couple of pick guards from the Warmoth site. To do a screen capture on a Mac, just press Command+Shift+4 and then draw a selection around the area you want to capture. When you finish drawing, the selected area is captured as a jpeg to the desktop.
After I captured the pick guards, I then opened them in Photoshop and used the Quick Selection tool to select the guard from the background.
I pressed Command+J to copy the selection to its own layer and then dragged that onto my image of the guitar. Then I pressed Command+T to activate the Free Transform tool and resized the image to fit the guitar.
I did this for several different pick guards. I stacked them as layers in my image and then toggled through them to see which one looked the best.
At the end of the day, I went with a tortoise shell, which I think looked pretty slick. Of course I already knew what it was going to look like, thanks to Photoshop CS6, my virtual comparison shopping tool.