Choosing a Strat Pickguard

So you’ve got a Strat®, and it’s nice, but sometimes you are just after something else from the guitar. A different tone, the ability to play completely different styles of music, or just the ability to just swap pickups with only the use of a few screwdrivers. Seymour Duncan can make your life extremely easy with their collection of Liberator pickguards for Strat®.

With a range of various loaded pickguards, and an unloaded one where you can install your own choice of pickups, tailoring your Strat® for every season has become so simple anyone can do it! The Liberator solderless potentiometer gives you the ease and flexibility to swap pickups to your heart’s content.

For the fans of classic Strat® tones there are the Classic Fully Loaded Liberator Pickguard and the Antiquity Fully Loaded Liberator Pickguard. The Classic is “stacked” with three noise free pickups, the Custom Stack Plus in the bridge position, Classic Stack Plus in middle position, Vintage Hot Stack Plus in neck position. If you are after authentic single coil tone the Classic pickguard has a coil splitting option to switch between noise-free stack mode and true single coil mode.

The Antiquity pickguard gives you the sound and the look of a vintage guitar with aged components, and each pickup is personally signed and numbered by Seymour Duncan himself.  Loaded with a Texas Hot Custom Bridge pickup, Texas Hot RWRP (reverse-wound/reverse-polarity) middle pickup, and a Texas Hot neck pickup, the Antiquity pickguard will give you smoking hot tones all day and night.

Sometimes all you want is heavy served with a side of metal. The Triple Rails Fully Loaded Liberator Pickguard for Strat® is ready to give you bone crushing heavy tones from your guitar. Loaded with a Hot Rails for Strat® Bridge pickup in bridge position, a Hot Rails for Strat® Neck/Middle pickup in middle position, and a Hot Rails for Strat® Neck/Middle pickup in the neck position, the Triple Rails pickguard will give you all the power and grunt you need for hard rock and metal mayhem.

Other times you might just be looking for a versatile setup. The Everything Axe Pickguard has been given the Liberator update and boasts the same classic combo of the JB Jr.  in the bridge, Duckbucker middle pickup , and the Little ’59 in the neck. These all give you the perfect range to cover most styles of music with minimal fuss.

You may be happy with the pickups that are already installed in your guitar, and just want to upgrade the existing electronics to higher quality items. The BYOP Prewired Liberator Pickguard enables you with the same easy no fuss solderless pickup wiring design as the loaded pickguards, and gives your guitar an easy to install upgrade path for your potentiometers, pickup selector switch and output jack.

And last, but certainly not least is something special for fans of the Swedish neo-classical master Yngwie Malmsteen. The YJM Prewired pickguard Set gives any Strat® Malmsteen approved tone, sans scalloped fretboard and brass nut.
Here’s the official Seymour Duncan loaded pickguards video, recorded at Winter NAMM 2012:

Seymour Duncan also has high-quality potentiometers including the YJM-Fury High-Speed Volume Pot, which allows you to use your volume pot for lighting fast starts and stops. If you want to be able to change pickups with only a screwdriver, check out our Liberator solderless pickup change system. You’ll be able to swap pickups in and out as easily as changing a set of strings.
So there you have it! Upgrading your Strat®’s tone is as easy as getting out your screw driver set. Change your pickguard (and pickups) to suit your your mood, or the season. 😉

Where to buy:

MacDaddy MusicSam Ash AMS
The Mad ApeMike’s MusicAudio Midi Plus
Sigler MusicJMI Music


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  1. Has anyone ever tried the JB Jr. and Little 59 with a quarter pound strat pup in the middle? I’ve really been pondering that.

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