The Workbench

Pickguard/Pickup static

1

So, a newish guitar and intermittent popping (clicking) sound which I've narrowed down to touching the pickguard while playing. It's a '53 Vintage Select Duo-Jet and the small (plain white) pickguard rests on the pickup mounting screws.

I've heard of folks roughing up the back of the pickguard or using fabric softener strips or aluminum tape.

What method worked best for you?

2

This has not happened with my new '53 Vintage Select Duo-Jet, but it did with a Tele. One thing that helped to lessen the crackle is to run a humidifier in the dry months. I ended up changing the stock plastic pick guard to a Bakelite one. That solved the problem.

Oddly enough, for other reasons (ascetic), I’m having a new guard made for my Duo-Jet (scripty) by Paul Setzer, when he gets a break from his day job duties.

3

I had the same problem with an electromatic Jet that I bought about a year ago. Simple fix: I removed the pick guard, and the clicking went away. Problem solved!

4

When I first modified my Epiphone Olympic with Gretsch electronics I was getting a bit of the static popping, but strangely it stopped!

5

First things, first. Are you sure it's the pickguard? The static crackle is static electrical interference being picked up by the guitar's electronics which can act like an antenna. If you remove the guard completely, does the crackle stop? If so, you've correctly identified the problem.

You can try aluminum tape or anti-static sprays but, at best, they'll only work for a while. Replacing the pickguard is your best option.

If you still hear the static after removing the guard then the static source is not the guard. In that case, cavity shielding may be your only option. If you do go down that road, get it done by a pro who will use the right shielding materials and correct soldering points.

One final thing to keep in mind. Often changing a shirt or sweater will reduce or remove static when playing, especially from plastic parts.

6

I've had this happen, always in the winter (very dry weather), I just rubbed a fabric softener sheet on the pickguard - voila! Gone.


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