Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by bgartist, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. bgartist

    bgartist Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    I want to install new pickups in one of my basses but the soapbar size is wider. Do you think this is a task too big for a 1st timer? Of course, I would practice on scrap wood first. I've got a couple of estimstes to have it done for $60 -$75. I thought I could invest that same money in a router and learn for future projects. I've looked at Home Depot, Sears and Harbor Freight for routers in that price range. Any recommendations?

  2. 20YearNoob

    20YearNoob Guest

    Mar 29, 2012
    Do NOT freehand. Make or buy a router template for your pickups. With a template, anyone can do a 'good enough' job with a router and a bearing bit. Go slow, start shallow depth and work your way down.
    Doctor Hugocat likes this.
  3. bgartist

    bgartist Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks. I will absolutely use a template. I will get the pickups and template from BestBassGear.
    Is there a real benefit of using a plunging router?
  4. mapleglo

    mapleglo Warp Engineer Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    I would recommend against a new user using a plunge router. Its just another thing to go wrong. And I speak from experience. Or lack there of.
  5. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    That's a pretty tight budget to get a decent router. The Porter Cable 690 is a pretty solid router but it will run you more like $130. Then you have to figure in at least one bit. I don't see why a plunge base is any harder to use than a fixed one, but that's my opinion. My first router had a plunge base and they are very handy in luthiery. Of course, a plunge base will cost more. You may be able to get the job done with a laminate trimmer, but then you'd be limiting what you can do once this job's done.

    Long story short, you probably can't do the job yourself more cheaply than what you've been quoted, plus you'd be assuming any risk of damaging the instrument. All that said, if you think you might enjoy it, and you think you'll want to use the router for other stuff once the job's done, then why not go for it? The next thing you know you'll be planning your first instrument and shopping for a band saw. Don't say I didn't warn you.
    Jonny5bass likes this.
  6. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Don't buy a Craftsman router, the motors work fine, but the accessories and edge guides are junk. Porter cable or Dewalt are both good brands. Any used tool stores in your area.? If you only intend very occasional use, Harbor Freight has some cheap routers, not great quality, but useable.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
  7. Doc Mojo

    Doc Mojo Guest

    Oct 29, 2014
    Thoughts on using a Dremel with a route attachment?
  8. mapleglo

    mapleglo Warp Engineer Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    There was a guy in the Basses forum who was planning on using a Dremel with the router attachment to install a Jazz pickup on his P bass. Everyone told him it wouldn't work because they felt the Dremel would not be powerful enough. I was in that camp. He made it work though, and it came out fine. I would imagine that you'd just have to go a little bit more slowly, but apparently, it can be done.
  9. Doc Mojo

    Doc Mojo Guest

    Oct 29, 2014
    I've got all the items I need but I would prefer to let someone else do it. I'm having trouble finding anyone local.
  10. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Bad idea.
  11. JIO

    JIO Scott Lives Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I feel that a router is a serious shop tool not to be taken lightly because it can do major damage to your project very quickly and is really dangerous unless used correctly. If you have the patience and temporment to learn it's proper use, and a suitable place to operate it (it makes much wood dust and is loud) then proceed, and with a decent quality router as has been suggested. You'll need a work bench, eye protection, template material, a few bits (not cheap for good ones) and clamps (also not cheap if good ones). A router is not a tool to 'try' - it's something that if you're interested and have some experience working with shop tools - it is a very useful addition. (oh, and you'll need a band-saw to cut your templates…)
  12. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    If you have a template just mark out where you want the pup and any woodworker or cabinet maker can do it for you.