I have an old flat white colored pickguard from my first guitar that I got signed by some guitarists I like with permanent marker. However, with age, the plastic has yellowed somewhat, which normally wouldn't be a problem (it's a nice cream color right now), except now I'd like to have the pickguard framed, and there are parts of it which were covered by the knobs of the guitar that didn't get stained, and I'd like it to all be a consistent color.

I've heard that you can soak yellowing plastic in hydrogen peroxide, and set it out in sunlight for a bit to restore it to its original color, but I'm concerned that this, and other methods like bleaching the pickguard might also remove the signatures on it. Thus, I was wondering if anyone knew a method that would let me restore the color of the original plastic without removing the signatures.

  • 1
    Hydrogen peroxide might bleach a pickguard but you definitely do not want to put plastic in direct sunlight as that will only accelerate curing and the associated discoloration and brittleness. Either way, anything that bleaches the plastic will also bleach the markers. I think you'll have to just suck it up and have the discoloration be part of the charm.
    – Todd Wilcox
    Jul 7, 2017 at 17:57
  • 8
    I think the natural discoloration due to aging adds intrinsic value and a more authentic representation of what it truly is (personal memorabilia). In my opinion, attempting to alter it, sanitize it, or otherwise change the nature of it might make it appear to be a "reproduction" of the original. I think he most valuable aspect of what you have are the original signatures. The aging adds to the historical perspective. (continued)
    – Rockin Cowboy
    Jul 7, 2017 at 18:13
  • But if you insist on making it look like it was signed yesterday on a brand new pickguard - take some exacting straight on photos so you can superimpose the signatures back on the new looking pickguard and re-create them if whatever treatment you apply causes them to disappear altogether. If they don't disappear altogether, a skilled artist could trace over the faded out signatures with a new permanent marker to make the signatures new looking to match the new looking pickguard. Or get a new pickguard and superimpose the signatures onto it and apply with permanent marker. Keep original too
    – Rockin Cowboy
    Jul 7, 2017 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


Please do not soak the pickguard in peroxide! That's highly likely to remove or damage the permanent marker signatures since peroxide is a bleaching agent. You might be able to carefully clean around the signatures using a mostly dry small tool with peroxide or other cleaning solution on it, but even then you would run the risk of some of it bleeding over onto the permanent marker and doing harm. I wouldn't recommend even trying it!

Instead, since you're planning on framing it anyway, consider adding another layer of glass between the pickguard and the glass in the frame. Then stain that additional glass layer strategically with a thin wash of paint or ink or dye to visually even out the pickguard that will be beneath it. Colors can be powerful. Try washes in various colors and shades of the same color to see how the pickguard looks through the stained glass. The eye can be fooled nicely with the proper colors.

The advantage to that approach is that you can experiment without any risk to the pickguard, and you can clean off what you did if you don't like it and try something else (glass is very friendly that way). You should be able to achieve the desired result without changing the pickguard in any way.

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