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Best router bit choice for pickup and control cavities?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Flux Jetson, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. Hello. :) I got that Bosch 1617EVSPK router for x-mas...


    I'm preparing to install a 3rd pickup in my Squier VMJ ...


    I've been given a lot of great info by the goodfolk here at TB on it's use and safety considerations so far.


    So my question is, I need to buy a few bits to get started. This router has both 1/4 and 1/2 collets (jsyk). What type of bit is good for this type of work, are there sortof universal plunge bits that are best to have around for stuff like this?

    I have been instructed to hog out the bulk of the cavity with a drill press (flat bits? or some other type?) and then finish up with the router. For this first project I plan on making a universal ~bathtub~ cavity to deal with a few different types of pickups. This bass is a research bass to learn what types and brand of pickups I wish to use in the actual bass body that I'll order from Warmoth when that time comes. So the pickup cavity doesn't have to be surgically accurate, it's pretty much an oversized rectangular hole. I plan on trying P-bass "tetris block" pickups, J-bass pickups, and perhaps even some side-by-side coil humbuckers. So the cavity has to be fairly large to deal with installing all of those at one time or another. I won't even be using a pickguard for a while.

    Thanks for your help. :)

  2. Grant Bass

    Grant Bass

    Oct 14, 2010
    you need a couple flush/template bits;
    i would suggest the 1/2"-3/4" wide bits x 3/4"-1 1/4" long
    that should get you thru most routing applications with a template;
    stewmac sells a a 3/8 finishing template bit to get the corners tight, i got one, but i dont use it ; its still not tight enough for most soapbars and bass pickups;
    i use a standard 1/4" bit with its shaft as the bearing against the template;
    do your intitial route and then carefully go around the corners with the 1/4"

    hope i explained that good :)
  3. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars

    I'm guessing you have MDF or wood templates. Some of my templates are acrylic, I don't imagine they would last long with a router bit shaft spinning against them.
  4. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Whiteside bits are excellent. They make a ton of different sized (dia. and length) bits for you to choose from. For pickup cavities I like a stubby (1/2" dia by 1/2" - i think- length) flush trim bit (bearing on the bottom)

    Use a forstner bit to hog out the cavity.
  5. bassmanhamilton

    bassmanhamilton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 21, 2007
    Owner, J. Hamilton Guitars
  6. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    I use an amana 1/2" x 1/2" top bearing pattern bit for pickup routes, and a 1/2" x 1" for control cavities.

    I also have a 1/2" x 1/4" bit for routing the cavity cover recesses.
  7. Grant Bass

    Grant Bass

    Oct 14, 2010
    i have both!
    its not bad on the acrylic; cuz i barely graze it whilst cleaning up a 1/32" of wood;
    but yes; good point if you were hangin out in the same spot 4 a while :)
  8. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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