Advice about drilling mounting holes in a neck for a beginner.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Jacob M, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. Jacob M

    Jacob M

    Aug 28, 2004
    New York
    I've ordered a Warmoth body and neck and all the other necessary stuff to make a bolt-on bass. Warmoth necks don't come with the holes necessary to screw them into the body drilled into them. When talking on the phone with the guy I ordered from, he assured me that drilling the holes would be a piece of cake, like someone might assure someone who just got their first instrument that changing the strings will be no problem at all. I talked to a friend who's going to a luthier school, and he assured me that there would be no problems at all, and it would be super easy to do. I talked to another friend who's drilled the mounting holes into the neck of a guitar, and he said he had no wood working experience and everything turned out fine for him as well.

    However, I'm not so sure. Do any real experienced luthiers want to reccomend a plan of action? I'm fine with the electronics and screwing the bridge in and mounting the tuners, but I don't have any wood working experience, so I'm hesitant to drill holes into a neck that costs like $300+. My main fear is I'll drill a hole at the wrong angle, or I'll drill the holes at the right angle, but I won't have the neck deep enough into the pocket when I do it and I'll never be able to intonate it well.

    Is it really so easy that anyone could do it, or should I pay a local tech to do it? What's a reasonable price to expect to pay a tech for this work?

    Thanks alot,
  2. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Do not drill in the neck of the beginner! It's lethal!

    The bass neck is another matter, tough.
    Ar there holes in the body, for the neck joint? If so, it is a piece of cake. Though you need to chew it slowly...

    Put the neck in place, and make sure that it is in the right position. Fixate the neck with clamps or similar. When you are abolutely content, check it again!
    Then, you use the screws to mark the drilling holes. Insert them in the holes in the body and push, to make small dents in the neck. Take the body away.
    Drill the holes. Since they are not to be so deep, the angle will not be so hard to control, just be careful. A drill press simplifies this immencely. Just make sure not to drill too deep.
  3. Jacob M

    Jacob M

    Aug 28, 2004
    New York

    There are holes in the body. I must re-iterate, I don't even know if there's an electric drill in my house, and I certainly don't have a wood clamp or anything simmilar. If I could borrow a drill/clamp or whatever, would it really be so simply easy?
  4. sb69coupe


    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
  5. Jacob M

    Jacob M

    Aug 28, 2004
    New York
    Thanks SB, I probabally'll end up PMing you when I get everything. Does anyone know of any step-by-step guides to doing this on your own?
  6. It's not so much the drilling of the holes, but how deep, straight and the size of the hole.

    Most screw holes for regular run of the mill Fender screws is a 1/8" diameter hole. Around 5/8" deep from the heel.

    Put the neck on, align the neck to the bridge, clamp it, recheck (run thread to similate the e and g strings, to check alignment from nut to bridge sadlle) and make reference marks for where to drill with the end of a bit the same size as the body hol (usually 3/16")

    Once the marks are there, you could make a drilling I do it is to take a piece of plywood, and two strips of straight wood (like 1" square, by 15" or so long) and put the neck fretboard down on the big piece of ply and take the strips, place them on the sides of the neck, clamp them toether with your hand (to get the neck level/centered) and anchor the wood strips in some way to the base wood. There, you have a levelling jig for drilling many necks now.

    Slide your neck into the new jig when ready to drill, until it can slide no farther, and hold it in place while you drill on a drill press. You can do this operation as a whole with a hand drill, where you won't need a jig at all, but you'll be hard pressed to get all the holes level * perpendicular to the heel.

    If you don't, you could snap the screw.

    And that's another thing: when you go to cut threads, take a drop or two of liquid hand soap, and apply it to the threads on the screw. Not too much, but enough to lube the screw as it cuts the threads...again, to lessen the chance of snapping the screw.

    If you are at all not sure of how to do it, I'd hate to ruin a new Warmoth neck.