Pickguard Inlay

TK Smith

Inlay on guitars goes back almost as long as guitars have been made. Some people feel it’s vain to put your name on your guitar but I’ve never felt that way. While in high school, I worked at a machine shop and my first boss had his name neatly engraved on all of his hand tools and cases. A guitar or bass are tools, especially for working musicians so I think thats why I like inlaying a name or a custom design on them.

TK Smith

 I started doing inlayed pickguards for my guitars years ago before I ever considered doing it for other players. Pat Capocci was the first player to ask for it and it kind of snowballed from there.

TK Smith

I’m especially fond of the block letters done by Paul Bigsby and possibly a helper. All of our lettering is hand drawn and cut with my 1937 Delta Scroll Saw.

Bigsby-Keith Holter Steel Guitar with inlayed name plate

 Of course with custom builds, like most companies, we inlay our headstocks, fretboards and continue to do a lot of pickguards. I’m lucky to have artist Ernie Brooks in our shop who has taken over a lot of our inlay work and does an amazing job. We’ve taken hundreds of photos of some of the inlay done in my shop in the last few years. You can see many of them here and a few below. 

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