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Routing under pickguard to save weight.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Deepwoods, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. Deepwoods

    Deepwoods Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2003
    St. Louis
    Has anybody tried this with a Pbass? I would like to shave a pound if possible. I'm sure I would need to get ultralight tuners to maintain good balance. If you have done this successfully could you post some pics w/o the pickguard? Thanks!
  2. joinercape

    joinercape Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    One pound of wood, be it alder or ash, is a lot of wood. A typical P body weighs about 5 pounds, so one fifth of the whole thing seems like a lot of routing! Seems more sensible to sell your body and buy a lighter one, maybe chambered?
  3. bass_snake

    bass_snake Banned

    Aug 13, 2008
    Stouffville, Ontario
    My first bass which was a precision had a whole/ chambered in the pick guard area. I guess you can do it...good luck!

  4. Tylerrr51


    Nov 28, 2009
    Milford, CT
    That is a lot of wood to be loosing, and a huge decrease in value, id go with what joinercape said.
  5. Hans Gruber

    Hans Gruber

    Jun 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    I'm really interested in trying this for a Lakland Skyline. It's not something I'd perceive as a vintage Fender going up in price majorly.

    Also considering maybe doing a rear rout cavity with cover to make it look active, though it's only for weight.

    Any other thoughts on this?
  6. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Bad, bad, bad idea.
  7. RockBoxBass

    RockBoxBass Supporting Member

    Agreed. Embrace it as it is, find another bass. More work than its worth, and what if your not happy with the results?
  8. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    I think if you're going to do it, the best way would be the "active" cavity route that you can cover up. But the location of that route would be directly under the pickup cavity, so you'd essentially be punching a hole right through your bass. The cost/benefit analysis seems to weigh in favor of not doing it, but if you can manage to maintain the structural integrity of the bass, go for it. Keep in mind that lighter tuners will probably not make up for a pound of lost wood, so you're most certainly looking at severe neckdive should you proceed.
  9. mikecd1

    mikecd1 Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2009
    New England
    I agree - too much wood to remove. Most bodies are two or three pieces and the best way IMO is to chamber the body. Sadowski has been very successful at this, but I'd get a warmoth body as already suggested. Some folks like heavier so you could sell yours and get a lighter body.
  10. maurilio

    maurilio Musician - Owner Mo's Shop & MBD - Tech Nordstrand Commercial User

    May 25, 2003
    Redlands, CA
    I did the same mod on my first Nordy (long story). Big cavity around the neck pup and under the PG treble side and the rear ctrl cavity... it was a very heavy northern ash (former customer/owner request) and I was able to shed down maybe about a pound or less, total final weight 11.5lbs!!!

    In a ~10lbs bass it would probably take down 1/2lbs max… not a big difference in weight and not really cost effective.

  11. Hans Gruber

    Hans Gruber

    Jun 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Hey Mo, how much you think doing a rear rout would shave on a 10 lbs bass? Even the 1/2 lb could make a significant enough difference to me. Are you saying both the FRONT AND BACK routs would only give 1/2 lbs on a 10 pounder?

    Of course, I'm asking you because you're going to be the one possibly doing it ;)

    BTW, I've ordered some parts and when they come, I'm calling you for a job.
  12. maurilio

    maurilio Musician - Owner Mo's Shop & MBD - Tech Nordstrand Commercial User

    May 25, 2003
    Redlands, CA
    Brian, only the rear cavity will not shed 1/2lbs and even with the front ones I can't guarantee it will be 1/2lbs.

  13. Hans Gruber

    Hans Gruber

    Jun 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    What about speed holes? Will this help?



    How much would you charge for that?
  14. wideload


    Apr 15, 2004
    Salinas, CA
    You'd do better spending the time at the gym so that a pound of wood on your shoulder wouldn't be such a burden. Seriously.
  15. maurilio

    maurilio Musician - Owner Mo's Shop & MBD - Tech Nordstrand Commercial User

    May 25, 2003
    Redlands, CA
    .. the speed holes? :D
  16. Hans Gruber

    Hans Gruber

    Jun 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Yeah, how much for the speed holes? Do you even have a pick axe to make them? I know you have some nice tools, but I've yet to see a repair shop with pick axes.

    And oddly enough, it was my time at the gym that messed up my shoulder some. It's fine, but even when I was in my most prime shape, after a few hours, even the lightest basses take a toll.
  17. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    I did that with one of the many Squier CV Jazz's that I had ... sold it on here a while back .. very neat clean job, chambered it under the pickguard around the neck pup about half the depth of the body thickness ... it was probably a hair under 1/2 pound and it was a fair amount of work to carefully do and of course the body needed to be stripped of all bolt ons prior ... also, on that bass, I had changed the heavy brass saddles 'high-mass" bridge they come with to a vintage threaded saddle bridge, and that shaved off again nearly as much weight as the chambering ...

    I can look and see if I can still find pics of what that looked like ...
  18. pudge

    pudge Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    I dropped half a pound using a forstner bit and plan to do a tummy and forearm contour that should get it down to a more reasonable weight.Thin vint. style bridge, light tuners and plastic knobs and maybe a plastic control plate.
  19. Hans Gruber

    Hans Gruber

    Jun 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Excellent looking speed holes!
  20. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I had a 57 RI P that a previous owner applied the under pickguard routing to. It was a nice light weight instrument when done and sounded great. Particularly after installing a DarkStar in it. Depending on the wood, you may be able to turn a boat anchor into something better.

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