One of the first and most exciting challenges of designing the Valkyrie™ model centered around how to have visually unique and functional pickup rings—though it’s great to just use a direct mount approach, especially with a finely figured top.
While traditional rectangular pickup rings and pickguards made of plastic or metal look reasonable on some instrument designs, they can also introduce contradictory lines or colors that aren’t truly in harmony with the other choices you’ve made as a designer. It is liberating to be able to make one-off designs that can be prototyped at the same level as a final production model. Everything about the design can be inspected and approved with a high degree of realism in the digital realm before any production costs are incurred.
Developing an original shape with unique artwork for each instrument is made feasible by 3D printing methods. The extra effort to introduce engraved effects on the part is bound up with the time to create new artwork (where it should be) instead of being bound up with both the artwork and the production method. Plus, there are many materials to choose from that outshine traditional PVC pickguards in terms of their presentational beauty over time. Pickguard swirlies aren’t inevitable.
Additionally, the control cavity cover can be precisely manufactured for both style and route depth–matching the materials chosen for the pickup ring or simply affording a unique look or style to an often overlooked part of an electric guitar.
One can make any design with an infinite range of finishes without sacrificing quality or originality.