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Pickguard - The Craggy Mod - for Stratocaster® - (Modern)

Pickguard - Suitable for Fat® Stratocasters® - no middle

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Description Technical Specs

Main Description

Craggy Mod Plate for the Fender® Stratocaster®

A twist on the "classic" Fat Strat® plate, streamlined down to turn it into a bit more a no nonsense rock machine.

We've ditched the middle pickup slot, we've offset the volume and tone pots to get them out the way

The logic runs as follows.

Your average 3 pickup Fat Strat® is fantastic - but, for us, its a little on the bloated side.
Its pretty normal for see them wired with a super switch, so position 2 automatically coil taps the humbucker, and wires in it parallel with the middle pickup, giving a sort of Pseudo pos. 2 tone - which is great - guitar sounds a bit like a traditional Strat® again.

Problem is - its not a tradtional Strat® is it? The pots are likely the wrong resistance (500k to accomodate for the humbucker in the first place), the bridge coil isn't a single coil, and has very little in common with a traditional single coil (at best, its 4.5K of 42 AWG sat on a bar magnet rather then (at worst) 5.7K wrapped around some alnico poles

So, rather then trying to re-invent the wheel and make a Fat Strat® so something its not really comfortable with, we think of it the other way! Keep it simple, keep it versitile, and dont try and mimic the traditional.

The intention with the Craggy mod is this - you stick a 3 way switch in there. You run it like a Telecaster® - Bridge, Both, Neck.
Your bridge is your rock pickup - its big, its brash, its aggressive, its your typical uncovered humbucker
Your necks something a little more traditional, if or when you want cleans, or chords, or creaminess, and thats a standard single coil.

Volume pots miles out of the way of your strumming hand, and you've only got one tone knob.

Obviously, this is only how we think of the thing, and it is only a pickguard, so theres nothing stopping you pushing the boat out with the controls - but thats what we've had in mind when we've designed the thing.

beyond that, its business as usual - modern spec mounting, avallable in a nice range of colours and plys, and capable of taking all the high end electrics you'd expect.

Fender®, Squier®, Stratocaster® and Strat® are registered trademarks of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, Ibanez® is a registered trademarks of Hoshino Gakki, Ltd and Axesrus® has no affiliation with FMIC or Hoshino Gakki, Ltd.

A Closer Look and what to look out for

Difference between modern and 50s switch on a Strat

Mounting Holes

Where most of us will be familar with a Strat® sporting 11 mounting holes on its pickguard, its the culmination of the plates development by this point - everythings where it should be to stop warping - and it turns up absolutely everywhere - not just on Fender® instruments, but absolutely everywhere - anything that looks a bit "stratty"? chances are its using a modern spec plate like this.

1954 STratocaster counter sunk bolts

Pickup and Switch Bolts

Fender® stuck with counter sunk bolts up until about 1977, however, when production restarted in the USA in 1984, we see the introduction of dome head bolts on the pickups and switch - this isn't a straight swap over (with some countersunk versions still appearing up until about 1988, and the waters being increasingly muddied by the Japanese reissues kept the company on their feet) - but for the most part, post 84, an American Stratocaster® would have had dome head bolts for pickup height adjustment and switch mounting.

1957 STratocaster trussrod Without Notch on scratch plate

Truss Rod Access

Again, with USA production re-introduced in 1983, we see a change to the truss rods too (and again, Japanese imports/vintage reissues not withstanding!) - now this is a bit of a broader subject - but in short strokes - up until 1971, all Fender® guitars had the adjustment nut for the trussrod in the heel of the neck, and it was partially hidden by the pickguard (so pre 71, all plates had a notch allowing some access (not enough if you ask me!) in 71, they changed the necks to have the "bullet" truss rods in the headstock (which is great - easy access - and the remove the notch in the pickguard) and that ran until 77 when US production stops.

When production restarts in 83, we see a different type of trussrod (the nut is not buried underneath the fretboard!) and thats continued to the modern day. Hence, no truss rod adjustment notch on these plates.

thin, thick and 3 ply pickguards in profile


Because this plate, despite debutting in the 80s, has lasted until the present day - you do actually get a mis of single ply and 3 plys as standard - 3 (and 4!) plys are by far the most common, but single ply versions do turn up every now and then - so we carry both, but because we're getting pretty far from historical accuracy at this point, we only carry 1 ply THICK plates as well as the 3 and 4 plys, simply because they're more resistant to warping thanks to being 2.3mm thick (same as the 3 and 4s)

Fender®, Squier®, Stratocaster® and Strat® are registered trademarks of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation and Axesrus® has no affiliation with FMIC

Other Part Compatibility

The Fender® Stratocaster® is one of those guitars that turns up in a fair few versions "as standard" (think HSS, HSH, HH, Hard tails, locking trems - theres loads!) - but the after market mods available nowadays are about as wide ranging as you can get! Its, thankfully, pretty straight foward on the whole, but just for completeness sake, we'll link out to compatible parts for this pickguard.

Axesrus late 50s Single Coils


Being routed for single coils - this pickguard is obviously designed to take single coil pickups - which are pretty simple bits of kit really - a coil of wire wound directly onto the magnets, which are housed in fibre board tops and bottoms, and then a plastic cover fits over the top to keep everything safe.

This plate is an 80s (but is still in use on 99% of guitars today) and all of the pickup and switch height bolt holes are non-counter sunk - thats a pre 1977 thing.

Axesus Premium UFO Knobs


Usually, a Strat® comes with UFO knobs (1 volume, 2 tone) - our premium knobs are universal fit, so whilst these plates are drilled out for CTS pots (10mm), if your fitting Alphas, the knobs will still fit - keeps it nice and simple.

Axesrus Tremolos


Startocaster® guitars actually come in 3 different "flavours" when it comes to the bridge - the "norm" is a tremolo (either a 2 stud/modern version, or the traditiona 6 screw/vintage offering) but Hardtail versions of the guitar exist too (dating right back to 1954!) - thankfully, the route on the pickguard doesn't change - and will fit around Tremolo OR a hardtail withou any modification.

Axesrus Single Coil Covers


Single coil covers, thankfully, haven't really changed all that much with Fender® - the outside profile went through a few teething trouble changes early on, but they're always been the same size/mounting.

Just be careful with the pole spacing - most single coils are 52mm spacing (centre to centre on the E poles) - but you do see some weird ones (52.5mm is common coming out of the Far east, and you do see 50mm and, rarely, 48mm spacings)

Axesus Switch Tips


Tips see a fair bit of variaiton too weirdly - most guitars use a 5mm wide lever, so need a tip to match - BUT - 4mm is common on Japanese guitars, and 3mm turns up very often on anything Chinese or Korean

Axesrus 6 32 UNC height bolts


AS alluded to above, this is an 80s spec plate, so ise drilled to take dome head bolts on the pickups and switch - the "norm" for most guitars is 6-32 UNC - but sometimes, on far eastern guitars, you'll see M3 bolts.

Pickguard Screws


You do, weirdly, see some variation in pickguard screws - but for simplicities sake, we keep all of our plates working to the same size thread/head. Stops things getting confusing.

Axesrus Stratocaster Wiring loom


With this setup (a pair of single coils) and taking into account some level of histroical accuracy - you're best running a guitar fitted with this pickguard/pickup config with 250k Audio taper pots, a 5 way switch and a 0.022 cap- thats pretty much every strat made post 1977 (excluding historic re-issues)

We also offer wiring kits too

Axesrus Stratocaster Back plates - 1988

Back plate

Back plates for the modern Strat have an enlarged "slot" for feeding the strings though, simply because we see variation on the guitars string spacing at the tremolo (either 56.4mm, 54mm or 52.38mm) - the back plates are also slightly larger as we see a switch over to 3 ply back plates in the 80s (prior to that, they were always 1 ply)

1 ply plates have square edges, and 3 plys have a 45 degree bevel - however, the mounting screws on the back plate are recessed, so a 3 ply "vintage" back plate (available nowadays for completeness sake) has the counter sinks eating into the bevel - so to avoid this, 80s guitars - slightly larger back plate.

Why Can/Cant I move pot holes?

Right then - this has been in the offing for a while now, so probably worth explaining whats going on with the pot hole options!

We're, slowly but surely, switching all of our pickguard stock over to "No pot" versions - and that means we can drill them out to order - so if your in the mood for switching over to master tone, master volume? Just Volume? No holes? Or just moving the volume pot out of the way so you dont keep hitting the thing? You can - its an easy job, so its all done at no extra cost, and it gets you dangerously close to custom pickguards without the supidly long lead times and eye watering costs!

However - theres a few little caveats that are worth noting.


Lets get the elephant in the room out of the way first eh?

Once pickguards are drilled - theres no going back - so worth being aware that once its drilled, its yours - the pickguards come with a standard config loaded up, so whilst these are drilled to order, we will accept them back as a return/refund if you change your mind. (and obviously, if the plates shipped without any holes in there, no harm no foul - can come back!)

Any deviation from "the standard" (remember, thats no always 1V 2T "normal layout" though) - the pickguard is no longer returnable. Frankly, it makes selling the returns next to impossible. I wish it wasn't, but lets be honest - you can make some pretty weird setups here, so lets just be sensible about it. If its non-standard, its non-returnable.

So, its really worth using all the resources here to make sure its exactly what you want before commiting to buy the thing! Theres spec diagrams under the tech spec tab, theres photos of all the colours under the "Tortoise shell/whites/pearls explained" tabs - your as well informed with what your getting as you can be (and again, if in doubt? Just buy the thing without the pot holes and drill it out yourself - 10mm drill bit and a cordless drill - easy job - we'll even tell you where to put the holes)

Why cant i do it on all colours?

Put simply? Because some of the plates are already drilled out - we're switching the entire stock over as we get new plates in, but as you can imagine, its not exactly a quick process. Anything where you can customise, you'll be faced with the drop down menus to select what you want (and the picture updates to show what your getting) - anything you cant customise, will revert back to "standard" and show the "Please Note - The selected colour/material is currently not available for customisation" message - you can still order the plate, but you cant move the pot holes unfortunately.

What is Pickguard Style/Mount?

Rather then having multiple product listings on the site to cover "minor" variations within pickguards (especially in the more specialist stuff!) - we're just building them in as options within single products - so with common plates, like an Modern Strat? You can pick between left and right handed versions - more niche stuff? Like the Locking Trem plate - thats got loads more options in there, right down to pickup options (HBSCSC, SCSCSC and HBSCHB) - just keeps the site looking tidy, even if it does hide a few of the options a little deeper. Easier to dig deeper then have to trawl through 10 pages of completely irrelivent plates though!

Hole Postitioning

This is, despite my best efforts - dull as dish water! I'm describing the space between holes here, so dont expect anything life changing - but, worth having the details, and i'll try and include a few little tit-bits to watch out for. Just remember, that the holes are drilled out to 10mm, so they'll take Alpha, CTS and Bournes pots.

Volume pot

We do 4 volume pot hole versions

So, working from the back of the plate, up from the very bottom pickguard mounting hole.

Standard - the usual position, if there was a single coil there, the knob would be nearly touching the bridge pickups height adjustment bolt. 102mm centre to centre, angled at 54 degrees (approx)

Offset 1 - what i'd call the "Tom Delonge" offset - volume pot right down out of the way, nearer the switch. Personally, i dont like it with a switch - its just that bit too close - BUT - if you can live with it, it gets the volume out of the way AND you get to keep both tone pots.

97mm centre to centre, angles at 36 degrees (approx)

Offset 2 - What I'd call the "Ibanez®" offset - volume controls about half way between standard and the neck tone pot (so you cant have the neck tone AND offset 2) - personally, a better choice for getting the volume pot of the way, because it doesn't crown out the switch like Offset 1 does.

84mm centre to centre, angled at 50 degrees (approx)

No Volume Pot - what it says on the tin - no hole for the volume pot will be drilled.

"Neck" Tone

As we get away from the volume pot, things get a bit simpler thankfully - tone pots are either there or they're not - but for completeness sake, i'll put the dimensions/angles in. (Just remember that neck tone is the one in the middle between volume and the bottom tone pot hole - controls the neck pickup!)

Standard -60mm centre to centre, angled at 44 degrees (approx)
No "Neck" Tone -again, no hole for the neck tone.

"Middle" Tone

The bottom tone pot (NOT the one in the middle!) - controls the middle pickup traditionally - again, not a great deal you can do with it - its either there or it aint.

Standard -19mm centre to centre, angled at 31 degrees (approx)
No "Neck" Tone -again, no hole for the neck tone.

And in closing - Pickguards, once drilled away from the standard hole plan, come under the remit of Custom work and as always, if you've got any questions what so ever, please feel free to get in touch with us and we can talk through all the finer details of your proposed build.

Tortoise Shell Explained

You’ve probably noticed with the pickguards, we do A LOT of different variations in tortoise shells – and even then, we barely scratch the surface when it comes to completing the line-up.

Basically, Tortoise shell, originally, way back when, when it first started (long before the electric guitar was a thing) was just that – pieces of a tortoises shell, fixed together into a shape, and polished until semi-transparent (some of the early acoustic pickguards were actually made this way)

Now, obviously, none of us want to see a return to those practises, but seemingly, everyone liked “the look” – so with the advent of plastic in the early part of the 20th century, science found a cheaper way (it wasn’t until the seventies when trade in hawksbill turtle (the main source of Tortoise shell) shells became illegal!)

The first “plastic” Tortoise Shells were made from Nitrate plastics, usually Celluloid – and, frankly, it’s pretty gorgeous! Its semi-transparent, it’s got a sort of leopard skin look to it, and it soon worked its way onto guitars (again, most acoustics)

The problem is – Celluloid plastics are astonishingly flammable – they have a low point of combustion, and once they’re burning, they don’t go out until the fuels gone, or they flame is deprived of oxygen. As you can imagine, no one really liked working with Celluloid. It was risky to use (cutting = friction = heat) it was dangerous to store, and it wasn’t really suitable for the job at hand ( it changed colour when exposed to sunlight, it warped, it shrank, it was generally, pretty badly behaved!)
Never the less, it did eventually find its way onto electric guitars by the late 50s and early 60s, but was soon replaced for something more suitable and much safer.

Nowadays, you see Tortoise shells in either Polyoxymethylene (more stable as a material, but still very flammable) or PVC (which is fairly bomb proof, but does give off toxic fumes if burnt)

Now, getting to the modern day – Tortoise shell comes in 5 “variants” for us (ignoring the Celluloid offerings, they’re still out there, and great for historical accuracy, but just be VERY careful with them – not only in buying them/storing your guitar once its fitted, but also in actually sourcing the stuff, we’ve yet to find a factory who will even consider making a plate with it (too big a fire risk) and even when we do, its very cost prohibitive (more expensive to buy the things then we could ever dream of selling them for!) – there are guys out there making them though – but as a rough guide, expect to pay upwards of £150+)

Classic Tortoise Shell


Now this is a funny one. For the longest time, it was the only Tortoise shell we had access to, and honestly – its OK – turns up pretty often on mid-priced guitars, such as the Squier® Classic vibe and vintage modified lines – personally, I think of it was a cheats Tortoise shell, because it seems to be a screen print sandwiched between the layers of PVC, and as such, it looks a little flat. It is, however pretty uniform, so if you want all your tortoise shells to look the same, classics the way to go.

3 Ply Brown Tortoise Shell

3 Ply Brown

Now we’re talking – rather then a “flat layer” brown tortoise is the real deal – layers of semi-transparent PVC (one yellow, one brown) over laid to give that characteristic look. For whatever reason, the 3 ply version shows a little more yellow in the mix then the 4 ply. It shows a great depth of colour as a result, and if pressed, I’d say it was my favourite of the shells.

4 Ply Brown Tortoise Shell

4 Ply Brown

Slightly darker then the 3 ply version, less yellow bleed through in the mix (presumably because the yellow “layer” is thinner)

3 Ply Red Tortoise Shell

3 Ply Red

Similar to the brown version really – yellow and red, one on top of the other, but it’s the same principle, same results, just a little more vibrant then the brown.

4 Ply Tortoise Shell Pickguard

4 Ply Red

Where the brown 4 ply shows a little less yellow, the red version pretty much cuts it out completely. Its almost bordering on a red pearl for us, and certainly not without its charms. Ideal if you really hate the idea of the yellow peeking through.

Celluloid Tortoise Shell Jazzmaster Pickguard


For completeness sake, heres a photo of a celluloid plate too - i think we can all agree, it looks absolutely glorious, and theres a real depth to the "shell" effect - but if you look closely at the photo, you can probably see that the plate (in this case a Jazzaster) has badly warped, its been kept in the same conditions as the PVC plates above, for the same amount of time, but its way past being usable now.

Pearls Explained

Pearloid plates are similar to the tortoise shells, but theres a little less subtly between them, and they dont really have anything overly interesting in their history - as far as i can tell, they're always been PVC, and the variations in colour and pattern are pretty easy to follow.

So lets take a closer look.

White Pearloid Scratch Plate

White Pearl

The most common pearloid you're going to see - "white pearl" - i think its safe to say we all know the look. Interesingly, Pearl pickguards are actually made from a material intially intended to be a faux "mother of pearl" (which is the inside of an oyster shell)

Parchment Pearloid Pickguard

Aged Pearl

More common then you'd think strangely - fairly safe to think of it as the Parchment version of white pearl. For whatever reason, the pearling is a little tighter, with fewer blank spots between the reflective sections.

Ivory Pearl back plate for a Strat

Ivory Pearl

If Aged Pearl is the Parchment, then Ivory Pearl is most definately the Ivroy to the white - much more creamy in colour. Usually, you only see if in a 3 ply triple Ivory - not very common nowadays, but does occasionally turn up.

Avalon Mother of pearl pickguard for a stratocaster


This is a fairly new pattern as far as we can well - actually a much closer representation of that "mother of pearl" look that the original pearloids were going for. Rather then being broken up into reflective "squares", its more bothches and swirls, gives it a nice crisp finish.

Faux Abalone pickguard for a Strat


If Avalon is getting closer to mother of pearl, then its probably only right that we've got one thats getting close to its opposite number, abalone (which is the inside of the shell of a few species of marine snail) - its certainly a very "unique" pattern, and again, is more swirls then squares.

Black pearl AM standard back plate

Black Pearl

Black pearl is always a bone of contention for us - its not "really" black - its more a dark grey colour - there is a blacker version out there (not that we can find it!) called "Moto Pearl" - but yeah, they've both got their place.

Purple pearl strat plate

Purple Pearl

Hardly an all time classic, but not without its charms. Nice tight pearling, very few gaps between the squares, so nice and uniform - a love it or loathe it colour i suppose. Pair it with a black body and black plastics, and its a nice little statement piece though.

Blue Pearl Strat Back plate

Blue Pearl

Colour aside, its a fairly traditional pearloid - reflective squares, blue tint - looks a bit crackers on its own, but with the right body, it can work really well.

Green Pearl Tremolo spring cover

Green Pearl

Again, a bit of a novelty colour for me - not exactly what you'd call a classic, but if thats your thing - more power to ya.

"Whites & Creams" Explained

Ok, even i'll conceed that this isn't the most thrilling of toics at this point, but there is actually plenty of confusion when it comes to the "off white" pickguard colours, so seeing as we're ticking off pearls and tortoise shell varients, we might as well address the parchments, mints and creams too.

So lets get stuck in

White Pearloid Scratch Plate


We carry all our white plates in the above "shade" - its a completely opaque pigment, and is what you expect really, a very clean, crisp, pristine white.

Parchment Pearloid Pickguard


Occasionally called "aged white" in the trade - parchment is the next shade in from white, slightly darker with a very slight creamy/yellow tint - think of it like old news paper.

Ivory Pearl back plate for a Strat

Ivory 3 ply

As called aged white (and a source of much confusion!) - Ivory is the only plastic that differs in colour in its 3 and 1 ply forms. The 3 ply above is quite a yellow, almost buttery cream, almos shades of nicotine staining.

Avalon Mother of pearl pickguard for a stratocaster

Ivory 1 Ply

And, for completeness sake - Ivory 1 ply. Strangely, never called Aged white - differs from the 3 ply version quite drastically, its much more a cream colour.A little softer, much less nicotine yellow.

Faux Abalone pickguard for a Strat


Now, Mint is where things get really fun.

Mint was originally designed to mimic the "greening" of white celluloid plates as they age, but as they've become more popular, tastes have changed a little, so you see some variations within mint, so we differentiate between these variations.

At the bottom, you've got Mint "B" - the original Mint - its quite dark, and quite green. Any guitar you see online with a mint plate, is likely to have a mint B - its the most common of the mints.

Slap bang in the middle, you've got Mint "A" 3 ply- this is a slightly ligher then B, and is a half way house between parchement and Mint B for me - a little more subtle, a little less green.

And right at the tip, we've got 1 ply Mint "A" - slightly different to the 3 ply version, a little less green again.

Sound Clips

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