Routing Jazz pickup cavities

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by budman, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    I've got a set of Stew-Mac jazz pickup routing templates. They work pretty good with their 3/8" diameter template bits if you plan on installing Bartolini pickups. The templates have a larger radius in the corners just like the Bartolini pickups. I'd like to make some templates with a smaller radius in the corners. Most other jazz style pickups have sharp or smaller radius corners and the Stew-Mac bit and template combo won't work very well. On the last bass I built I used Nordstrand pickups, which have sharper corners like the original Fender design. I had to use my Dremel tool, minus a template, after routing the get the corners right so the pickups would fit. I was wondering what others do for routing those tight corners. I'm aware of the recent Dremel style tool thread. I've never used my Dremel for routing. I bring this up because I can get a 1/4" straight cut bit for a Dremel tool with an 1/8" shaft. Also I can get a 1/4" diameter bearing for an 1/8" shaft from Once I've made the new templates, which I think I would make just a tad bit longer, I could use the 3/8" Stew-mac bit to remove the bulk of the material and then use the 1/4" Dremel bit to touch up the corners. Any thoughts?
  2. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I use the truss rod router bit to touch up the corners if I need it a bit sharper in the corners..........t
  3. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    I use a 1/8" oversize template with a collet guide in the router base and a 1/4" spiral cutting bit. The guide is 1/8" bigger than the bit, so you end up with an exact correct pickup cavity.
    Finding a source for 1/8" oversize templates can be tricky though.
  4. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    Yeah, I was thinking about something like that as a possible second option. I could use the existing templates with a .12 or .15 binding cutter bit to make oversized templates.

    I love your pickups, btw. They sound incredible in the fretless, early P-bass clone I built.