Fixing pickguard rattle noise on Hagstrom HJ-500

I happen to own a beautiful jazz guitar that sounds and plays really great. It is made in China, but make no mistake, instruments and music gear made in those regions can be of very high quality. Design and engineering may take place in Europe or the US, and then they are made in China. For various reasons, maybe a sloppy quality check, or just the change of temperature and humidity, you can sometimes experience poor sound or noise. But such things are easy to fix. As long as the material, design, and parts are high standard, there is no reason to reject such a good instrument. Let´s see how I fixed the rattling noise on my Hagstrom.

The rattling noise i had was not always present. Mostly when the middle strings were hit hard, and often in open chords. For a long time I held the pickup covers as the prime suspects, but I then realized that the pickguard was only mounted with two screws, and with almost no space between the pickguard and the neck. It is also just leaning on the pickup covers (not the pickup itself, but the plastic cover around the pickup).

See the picture for important details. And do bear in mind that all modifications and repair on your jazz box is at your own risk.

The shadowed circles show the three screws that hold the pickguard. I unscrewed the two located on the pickguard, but then realized it´s much easier if you only remove the top screw near the neck, and the one on the side of the body. The reason for this is that the screw on the lower part of the pickguard has a tiny washer underneath, and is pretty impossible to put in place unless the pickguard is removed from the guitar.

Hagstrom HJ 500


Here is the pickuard, up side down. The screw on the left side is the one close to the neck. There is no reason to completely remove it.


To minimize vibrations on the parts of the pickguard that touches the neck or pickguard, I put on some masking tape.



Here it is, with masking tape all the way. You can of course use a different color, and please note that I later on removed the tape from the section between the two pickups. This area does not touch anything else, and it´s also very visible to the one holding the guitar.


The end result was a success. Please remember that it´s totally up to you where to put tape or not. If you´re not up to taping your pickguard, or not even removing it at, you can also try to adjust how much the pickguard leans towards the pickup and the neck by loosening the brass screw on the bottom of the pickguard. Be careful not to unscrew it completely, because then the washer from underneath will fall of and you will have to remove the pickguard anyway.


Jazz away!