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pickup routing...hole for leads

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by eastcoasteddie, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

    I'm going to be routing an ash bodied bass for a 2nd pickup (only has one) and I'm curious as to how to drill the hole for the leads. Is there a special mini/angled drill to use for this, being that you have to drill through the body axially?

    I am considering having my local shop do the routing & drilling because I just don't want to screw it up if I don't have the right tools. The bass has no piclguard so the routing has to be dead-on....

    I just want to see if I can do it myself before I really do...

    here's a simulation of what I want to do...

  2. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Test route on scrap first. Make a template and try it several times before taking the plunge (no pun intended). Insofar as the drilling goes, just drill at an angle and put something over the body to keep from scarring it...
  3. Rocky McD

    Rocky McD

    Jun 28, 2005
    San Antonio, Texas
    Very long small drill bits are avaiable and the box strores. They are about 15" long. Just make absoutely you get your angle correct. You don't want the drill bit to come out the back of the body.
  4. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    A friend of mine a while back showed me a great trick, take a nice long/small drill bit and hold your hand down on it and push down and you can bend the bit and get it to go close to 70 degrees or so. It works great for pickup and control cavity connecting.
  5. No special drill needed, but a bit at least 12" long keeps the drill far enough away from the body to get the angle you need. It's really not hard with just a little practice (like maybe two times) but definitely practice on scrap before you do the real thing.
  6. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

    while we're on the subject of routing....
    I don't have a "real" routing machine. Only a small hand-held mini router. Would you recommend NOT trying it with a hand router?
    I've experienced a problem when practicing on scrap wood, where the router bit would catch the 2 adjacent edges in a corner and skip around and damage the edge of the route hole....since the only thing holding the router in place is my hand, and not a steel jig. makes for a nasty look.
  7. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Small Handheld router? do you mean like a moto tool, or like a Laminate trimmer? Moto tool is a tough way to go, but taking your time, and removing thin layers will lead to more success. Laminate trimmer the same way, no more than 1/8" deep per pass will keep the bit stable, and the edges clean. As for the hole between.....goto Home Depot or your local Hardware store and get a 12"-15" long 3/16" drill bit, and you are set, just make sure to put a thin piece of wood on the body where you are drilling so as not to mark up the body if you get too close with the bit. Saves a lot of frustration.
  8. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

  9. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    You are a glutton for punishment:D....LOL But I wish you the best of luck:hyper: Many on here have done quite decent jobs with a drill and a moto tool, it's just about taking your time, and not cutting too deep or the little bits(even the 1/8" router type bit skips. Slow and steady. Thin layers, and remember the 1st 1/4" from the top is where you need to be the most precise, scribe out the outline with an exacto or razor knife to get a clean well defined edge, then it will look decent no matter how bad it is below the 1st quarter inch.:)
  10. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

    I just popped in to my local shop which has an in-house shop:

    the Luthier, Tom, estimated about $160 for the job, no extra for gutting my electronics and putting them back in afterward.

    Doesn't seem a bad price....at the risk of screwing it up....I haven't decided if I will do the job myself...
  11. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    $160 for 1 pick-up....I need to raise my prices....LMAO
  12. Freehanding with a Dremel is definitely going to take some time and attention. I would take Musicologic's advice and start with a razor knife to get a clean line, then go once around the edge just inside the line, second pass right at the line, then drill and chisel out whatever you can before going back to the Dremel. You might save the final times around the edges for a second session when you're fresh. If you have more time and patience than $ you can do it yourself, but I wouldn't try this under time pressure. Also, I wouldn't make this my first project with a mototool.
  13. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    This is what I did on my last build, I have a set of 18" drill bits (1/4", 1/2" AND 5/8). This is also provided that you have a side mounted jack. I ran the bit from the jack hole ,through the control cavity and to the pickup cavity. I used a block, where the bit exited the control cavity to keep it level.


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