I do like the look without the pickguard. I might just keep it that way. I certainly do not want it covering up the guitar.
I think you are right about the scratches. I have a couple of mint guitars and I do not play those any better than my old beat up ones.
Hey Pete, I did notice my bridge pickup looks just like yours. It doesn't line up with the highest strings at all. Mine is a 2010 model so perhaps that is just normal. My 5120 with TV Jones Classics lines up perfect. It doesn't seem to hurt the tone any. I actually prefer the Filtertrons. My wife likes the cleaner tones of the Classics. Sounds like a good excuse to keep them both