A Stratocaster, also called Strat, is a musical string instrument played by plucking strings by picks. The pick is an acute isosceles shaped triangle most often made of plastic. The other materials used in pick making are wood, metal, glass, stone, rubber, felt, and tortoise shell. So why all these basics? Because it’s important to understand the new Clockwork Guitar, Steampunk Stratocaster.
Now what happens when you hit the pick against the strings – it produces music? Could even be noise if not used appropriately. What happens to the Strat when the pick, while hitting the strings, hits the Strat body? It may result in scratches on the face of the instrument. Well, this is when a pick guard comes in handy. A pick guard, also known as a scratch guard or golpeador and in some cases a finger rest, is made of plastic or any laminated material and is placed under the Strat strings on the face of the Strat.
The basic purpose of the pick guard is to protect the instrument against scratches but since it is supposed to be placed there why not give it a little decoration and give the musical instrument a handsome look. Take for example this Clockwork Guitar, Steampunk Stratocaster. Made of a brass plate, this pick guard gives images of a brass clock escapement along with gears, cogs and flywheels. The technique used for making this awesome looking clockwork guard is that of electro-chemical etching. While it gives the Strat an amazingly splendid appearance it also keeps it safe from getting defaced.
Pick guards are made using a variety of materials. They can be glass, fabric glass, metal, and plywood. More expensive Strats are given the luxury of having guards made of precious stones, furs, skins and gems. The color combination used is normally of a contrast kind, if the instrument is light in color the guard is of a darker shade and vice-versa. Since it is placed right in front, it also becomes quite a common place for placing an autograph. Since it is detachable it can be easily taken off and placed on another Strat.
When it comes to the various types of guards it normally depends upon the type of instrument it has to guard. It can be an acoustic and classical guitar, a Fender style guitar and a Gibson style guitar. Except for classical type all other types necessarily need a pick guard considering the heavy drumming of the strings which eventually land on the guitar face and leave behind scratch marks.
Next time you start playing a guitar or a Strat take into consideration the strikes your instrument has to face at the hands of your guitar pick. Give it a guard and not just any guard but one that makes a guitar feel dressed up. Something like the Clockwork Guitar guard.