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Fixing a hole.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Brio, Jun 11, 2019 at 9:25 PM.


  1. Brio

    Brio

    Mar 10, 2013
    Kansas City
    Need a little help and not sure this is the best place for it. I recently picked up an MJT '54 style body with light relicing. Its great but the pickup wire hole wasn't drilled from pickup cavity to control cavity. MJT says this was an oversight from their vendor (surprised to find they don't cnc these themselves) and they're willing to drill it if I'm willing to send it back. I'm impatient and it seems easy enough so I take to drilling it out myself. Stop me if you've heard this one but I miscalculated the angle. Drilling from the input jack I made it most of the way but just barely broke the surface about 3/4" from the pickup cavity. On a clean body it would be ruined, but it doesn't look terrible imo with the relicing. What are my options for correcting it? I tried catching up with it from the pickup cavity but my drill makes too steep an angle and I'm not meeting up with the other hole.
     
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Pics?
     
  3. Brio

    Brio

    Mar 10, 2013
    Kansas City
    I can snap some in the morning, I had to walk away. I should also specify that I'm not looking to repair the surface break, just finish/correct the angle of the hole.
     
    Beej and Stumbo like this.
  4. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Ugh, feel your pain. At some point, this same snafu gets a lot of us.

    Many hardware stores carry extra long drill bits - often called an "aircraft" bit. They can be up to 12" or more in length. This is what you need; the extra shaft length lets you lower your angle when drilling, and you can avoid marring the surface with the drill chuck. I have one that's 3/16"x 12" (cut down to 10"), and it's usually plenty wide enough for a couple of cloth wires (thicker than regular wires). :)
     
  5. What kind of bit were you using? Typically, those channels are done with what’s called an aircraft bit, a really long drill bit. Home Depot, Lowe’s or your local hardware store should have them.

    Not sure where or how the incorrect holes lie. I did the same thing on a single coil P bass body and was able to figure out the correct angle from the other direction and drill carefully and met up with the existing wire channel.

    Keep us posted.
     
  6. Brio

    Brio

    Mar 10, 2013
    Kansas City
    I was using an aircraft bit. 3/16” x 14ish. I went back out and was able to start a new hole just to the right of the original and made it to the cavity but just barely. The new hole sits high in the cavity hole. Here are some pics where you can see my original blem. I’ll need to darken it to match the relicing.

    My backup plan was to route for a Darkstar.

    7B1DC791-340A-489E-80DB-3B29C5246729. F4F04071-1D43-4FA6-AA7C-E1FBE370BB98.
     
    Beej likes this.
  7. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Yeah, you can't even tell on that bass cuz of the relicing. Looks great BTW, love the green colour.

    I always drill from the pickup cavity to the control cavity. The location of the hole in the control cavity is less important to me than the location of the hole in the pickup cavity. :)
     
    Brio and Matt Liebenau like this.
  8. Brio

    Brio

    Mar 10, 2013
    Kansas City
    That’s a good tip. The pickup cavity is so narrow for the single coil that it made it hard to get an angle on it. Going in from the input jack was much more manageable but like you said, it was a guessing game on where it came out.
     
    Beej likes this.
  9. Yes. Always (almost always) drill from the pickup cavity. The exception would be if I’m connecting pickup cavities I’d drill from the neck pocket through.

    Fill it in with a little wood glue and sawdust and it will look like it’s supposed to be there. Funny note, I read that on the replicas of the Tractor bass that Fender made they did the same thing on the back because Berry drilled through on the original when he made it. So, you’re in good company!
     
    Brio likes this.
  10. I agree, and on this body it looks fine. If it helps make a story about an angry girlfriend shooting it with a bb gun during a gig and if it wasn't for a long strap it would have hit your sensitive bits.
     
    dwizum, Beej and Brio like this.
  11. Brio

    Brio

    Mar 10, 2013
    Kansas City
    FC1F00B4-15D0-4EED-80BE-437699F5DFB2.
    Wired up and roughly strung. Need to wait for the neck to settle down and I’m still deciding on guard or no guard but she sounds really good.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019 at 2:48 PM
    wraub and Joshua like this.
  12. dwizum

    dwizum

    Dec 21, 2018
    Just tell people that's where your fingernails dig into the instrument when you're doing your best Victor Wooten impression.
     
    Stumbo likes this.
  13. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Yeah,
    If you hadn't told us how it happened, I'd have assumed it was honest road wear. Fugeddaboudit. I'm OCD, so I consrtucted a drawing of the body thickness, pickup depth, and figured out the angle the drill had to go in. I cut a little "ramp" to that angle as a guide for an aircraft style bit. It worked, but most people just wing it, with occasional unfortunate results. I couldn't afford to eff it up on a Tru-Oil finish blinged-out bass.
     
    wraub and Brio like this.
  14. dwizum

    dwizum

    Dec 21, 2018
    I've had cases where even when you get the "right" angle going in on a long hole like this, the bit wanders and breaks out anyways because it follows the hard/soft grain patterns in the wood. I hate doing holes like this. I would be tempted to route a channel under the pick guard, from the controls upwards, and then drill a much shorter hole from the side of the pickup cavity to that channel.
     
    Brio likes this.
  15. Brio

    Brio

    Mar 10, 2013
    Kansas City
    My intent was to keep the pickguard off and I may still alternate between off and on. I didn’t expect the black guard to look so good with the green but I’m pleasantly surprised. I did think about routing the back for a plate, strat style, to run wires. Glad I didn’t have to.
     
  16. Brio

    Brio

    Mar 10, 2013
    Kansas City
    That’s smart. I’m much too impulsive for that level of planning but a lesson has been learned here for sure.
     

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