Pickup cavity too small - which dremel bit do you recommend?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by DodoBird, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. DodoBird

    DodoBird

    May 8, 2017
    Hi all,
    You know the story - I'm upgrading an indonesian PJ with a new set of pups (and neck, and harness...) . The bridge cavity is a tiny tiny bit too small (length only. Width is fine). Any recommendations about which specific sanding drum bit to use?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    This should do it.
    upload_2018-4-23_12-55-10.jpeg
     
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  3. DanBass81

    DanBass81

    Mar 26, 2012
    Ireland
    This should be done with a router.
     
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  4. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Dremel makes a 1/8” router bit. One was included with all of the accessories when I purchased mine years ago.
     
  5. Falsecrack

    Falsecrack

    Nov 21, 2017
    I’m glad I read this. I too have an Indo P/J, and have considered upgrading pickups (hardware, etc). I always thought the pots were the only potential obstacle to doing so.
     
  6. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Jun 11, 2011
    NYC
    It will be hard though not impossible to do a clean job of this with a hand held tool like a Dremel. A router with a template is the right way to go. If you are tempted to try with a Dremel, I would suggest you practice on scrap wood of the same type as your bass body. Only touch the bass when you get consistent results. Also if your bass has a poly finish it may crack when you work on it. Try scoring it with a razor knife.
     
  7. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    You can use a Dremel for slightly enlarging a pickup cavity, but you need to do it gently and carefully. You are cutting freehand, so you need to work slowly and keep it smooth and straight.

    Don't use the sanding drum, it clogs up too easily on hardwoods. I also don't recommend the router bit, unless you are using the Dremel in the router base. The router bit only has two cutting edges, so it digs and grabs more when cutting freehand.

    Use a standard Rotary File Burr, with multiple spiral cutting edges, like these:
    https://www.amazon.com/Carving-Hand...8&qid=1524579861&sr=8-29&keywords=dremel+bits
    Use the cylindrical ones, like the two on the right. That will give you the smoothest cut, with a gentle feel.
     
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  8. saltydude

    saltydude

    Aug 15, 2011
    boston CANADA
    Cylindrical style tips leave a smooth finish if you have the skill to hold it precisely with your hand. a teardrop style carbide tip is the easiest to use will give you the most control.
     
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  9. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    I have had success using the dremel cutting guide and clamping a carpenter’s square in position for the cutting guide to ride against (like a router template) to get good, clean cuts.
     
    Skillet likes this.
  10. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Maybe: Return the pickup and get a neck position jazz pickup. For a while there, Squier was using neck width pups in both locations, hence the smaller rout.
     
    NigelD likes this.
  11. DodoBird

    DodoBird

    May 8, 2017
    Thank you guys for your input. I appreciate it! I"ll report back when I'm done.
     
  12. ArtisanLuthiers

    ArtisanLuthiers Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2019
    Kennesaw, Georgia, USA
    Artisan Luthiers is a guitar repair and maintenance shop in Kennesaw, GA
    I just finished dealing with this exact situation on a PJ bass pickups upgrade. What has worked well every time is:
    (As RSBBass also commented) use a NEW razor blade to gently cut through the finish to prevent rip-outs. Use a straight metal edge as a guide and make multiple light passes to get depth. I recommend trying to go down at least 3/32". This gives you a bit more room for error when using your Dremel.

    Keep in mind you can always take away a little more but you can't put it back - go slow and easy. Take the precautions to protect the finish and make an even cut at the top. Anything in the cavity will disappear when you cover it with black conductive shielding paint.

    INSTALLATION TIP: Use the existing pickup screws as they will fit the existing threads in the body. This can save you from having to do a lot of unnecessary extra work.
     
  13. JohnArnson

    JohnArnson

    May 28, 2019
    If you don't mind you can just sand or file off some plastic from the end pieces of the pickup.

    Won't effect their functionality.

    Not if the screw "ears" of the pickup fits with the current pickup, traditional jazz bridge and jazz neck have them placed slightly different.
     
  14. ArtisanLuthiers

    ArtisanLuthiers Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2019
    Kennesaw, Georgia, USA
    Artisan Luthiers is a guitar repair and maintenance shop in Kennesaw, GA
    Keep in mind that the ears bear the main burden from screw tension. If the plastic is made too thin it will become susceptible to fracturing from pressure when you tighten screws.
     
  15. JohnArnson

    JohnArnson

    May 28, 2019
    The ears are on the sides not the ends of a Jazz pickup.
     
  16. ArtisanLuthiers

    ArtisanLuthiers Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2019
    Kennesaw, Georgia, USA
    Artisan Luthiers is a guitar repair and maintenance shop in Kennesaw, GA
    I think you’re missing the point. Location is irrelevant. Cutting on covers is a bad idea.