I received a Fender MIM Strat for my birthday with the intent of customizing it on my own. Today I received all of my mods and went up to remove the pickguard so I can be ready to solder in a new pickup this weekend. However, I've had a few problems so far: this thing was made in 1993, meaning it's as old as I am, and thus, alot of the hardware hasn't been moved out of place in seventeen years, apart from a changed volume knob. The pickguard is still attached to the guitar by the volume knob; I spent the last 45 minutes pulling and tugging on it with pliers but the damn thing still hasn't budged a bit. How the hell do I get this off? Any solutions?
Also, since the pickguard is partially disconnected already, I can see the body of the guitar and by the looks of it, this guitar hasn't been cleaned since it was last bought. What do people usually do to clean their guitars? Just a rag?
Thanks for all help in advance.

NOTE: the volume knob, in terms of being "different" is silver and made of metal, more like the knobs on my Schecter than the knobs on normal strats
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My Gear:

-Custom Fender MIM Black Strat
-Mesa/Boogie Rect-O-Verb
-Schecter C-1 Hellraiser
Does it have a set screw in the side of the knob?
Just call me Bobby
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Try getting a piece of cloth or an old shirt and slip the material between the knob and the body and then try lifting it off.
Quote by metalwarrior40
Does it have a set screw in the side of the knob?

thats the first thing i thought, so check that first!

if not, ive always had good luck using a butter knife to pry the knob up. slowly work your way around the knob using the knife as a bar. so dont stick the tip under it, use the edge so the back of the knife is against the knob. you can pull up on both ends of the knife and work the knob up. just keep moving around the knob and it should loosen.