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Information About Pickguards - Ply / Layers / Thickness - What's It All Mean?

Within this article Layer = Ply.

A common misconception we hear about pickguards is in reference to equating thickness with number of ply's. Some believe that a pickguard's number of ply's determines its thickness, but this is not true. There is no relationship between a pickguard's thickness and number of ply's. Ply's simply refers to the number of individual laminate color layers that make up a pickguard. A 3 ply pickguard will have 3 separate color laminate layers that make up its construction.  A typical black 3 ply pickguard will have a surface color of black, then a white middle layer and a black bottom layer, The white middle layer is what you will see as the thin white pin-stripe around the perimeter edge. Most 3 ply pickguards are in the 0.090" thickness range, but the number of ply's does not determine the thickness. Usually you will see a black 3 ply pickguard described at B/W/B which means Black/White/Black and a white 3 ply pickguard described as W/B/W which means White/Black/White.

A pickguard described as 1 ply is going to be a single color, no layering, its going to be a solid color, but it can vary considerably in thickness, it could be as thin as a vintage 1 ply pickguard that is only 0.060" thick or it can be a little thicker 1 ply pickguard that is 0.090" thick, then you can have a 1 ply that is even a bit thicker like our 0.120" thickness custom manufactured Acrylic pickguards. They're all 1 solid color, therefore they're all 1 ply's.

You also have pickguard types like tortoise shell or pearl pickguards which are typically called 4 ply's. These pickguard's surface layer will be tortoise shell or black pearl or white pearl etc... and then underneath this surface layer is a white layer, then under that is a black layer  and then under that another white layer on the very bottom. Typically these 4 ply pickguards are in the 0.100" to 0.120" thickness range. Around the perimeter edge of these 4 ply pickguards you will see each distinct color layer take on the appearance of thin pin-stripes around the perimeter edge.  This layering is what gives the pickguard edge a distinct character instead of simply being 1 single color.

So bottom line here is, never equate number of ply's to how thick any given pickguard might be...


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