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Routing a hole for a Jazz Pickup, without a router.

guitarguytim
December 19th, 2010, 01:09 AM
Well, I got my Christmas present early! My wife surprised me with a P-Bass kit by Saga (I'm in dire need of a bass since I sold mine a few months back). This is going to be my first build :)

Anyway, I'd like to add a Jazz pickup at the bridge, in addition to the split P-pickup.

Question #1 - Where exactly should I place the pickup? How far is a jazz pickup from the bridge on a jazz bass?

Question #2 - Once I have the placement figured out, what is the best way to route the hole without a router? As of right now I'm planning on building a template for the hole with MFD. Then I was planning on mounting that to the top of the bass as a guide. I'm going to use my drill to take out most of the wood, and then use a dremel to remove the rest - good idea or bad idea?

I'm planning on painting the bass Arctic White, so If I need to use wood filler it shouldn't be noticeable.

Thanks for any tips in advance!

Birdmankustomz
December 19th, 2010, 01:16 AM
I have a Saga P-bass, I love the thing, its beast. When I get on my laptop I'll post a pic, as for the Jazz pup I can't help, sorry.

4string
December 19th, 2010, 01:21 PM
I can give you the placement of the bridge pickup as it is on a '62 jazz bass. Fender moved it closer to the bridge in the late '60's. Let me know if interested.

I think you could use a Dremel with your outlined approach if you have the router base for it. An 1/8" dia end mill with a 3/4" cut length could work if you let the smooth shaft of the bit ride on a 1/4" thick template that is not plastic. You would need to be careful as a lot of heat is generated from a spinning shaft riding directly on a template.

Tim Armstrong
December 19th, 2010, 01:35 PM
I don't have a router, but I do have some nice sharp wood chisels (and plenty of practice using them). I'd think that would perhaps be a better way to go than drilling a bunch of holes. Here's the pickup in my bass "Hoss", in a hole I chiseled:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v311/tarmadilo/Hosspictures003.jpg

Tim

Bolide
December 19th, 2010, 03:16 PM
I don't have a router, but I do have some nice sharp wood chisels (and plenty of practice using them). I'd think that would perhaps be a better way to go than drilling a bunch of holes. Here's the pickup in my bass "Hoss", in a hole I chiseled:


Tim

Concur.
You can get a good mortising chisel sharp and have the waste knocked out in a fraction of the time it would take to turn the waste into sawdust with a router, let alone a Dremel.

It takes a bit of knack to get the knock right, but the knock is a learnable knack.

Al Watsky
December 19th, 2010, 03:41 PM
Yes indeed. Chisel's work.
Practice on scrap first.
I worked with a fellow who liked the control offered by working with hand tools.
Before I had routers and templets I did many of my own guitars with chisel's and fostner bits. Works fine if you take it slow.
By the time I had started working on guitars I had all of the tool skills under control.
Sharpening and etc. , working with grain and cutting against and cross grain.
Most important . Lay out the job ! Measure twice cut once !

guitarguytim
December 21st, 2010, 12:04 PM
I don't have a router, but I do have some nice sharp wood chisels (and plenty of practice using them). I'd think that would perhaps be a better way to go than drilling a bunch of holes. Here's the pickup in my bass "Hoss", in a hole I chiseled:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v311/tarmadilo/Hosspictures003.jpg

Tim


Hey Tim, can you post a full picture of your tele bass, I'd love to see it :razz:

So chisels are the consensus huh... I've got a set on my tool bench, I hadn't even though of using them... How to you measure depth when using chisels? Do you just go slow and measure a lot?

Thanks,

-Tim

guitarguytim
December 21st, 2010, 12:08 PM
Also, I'm only planning on putting 3 knobs on my bass, 2 volumes and 1 tone (I used to have an Ibanez bass setup this way that I loved), but I could be persuaded to go 2 volumes and 2 tones (although right now that seems like overkill to me).

What are your thoughts, is one tone knob sufficient, or should I plan on adding a second one?

Ricky D.
December 21st, 2010, 01:14 PM
...

So chisels are the consensus huh... I've got a set on my tool bench, I hadn't even though of using them... How to you measure depth when using chisels? Do you just go slow and measure a lot?

Thanks,

-Tim

Sounds like you are just starting out with chisels, so here's a few thoughts:

-Don't touch a chisel to that body until you can make an acceptable cavity in a piece of scrap wood.

-In the words of my 9th grade pattern shop teacher, "Keep your meat behind the blade."

-If you aren't set up to put a proper sharp edge on your chisels, set that up before you start. The sharper they are, the better (and safer) they are.

-You can use a combination square to check the depth. Just set the head at the proper distance from the end of the rule.

-There's actually nothing wrong with using a drill to hog out the center of the cavity, and just cleaning it up with the chisels.

Bolide
December 21st, 2010, 01:19 PM
I think two indispensible instruments anyone doing electric guitar should own are a basic multimeter, and a pair of student grade dial calipers, but depth measurements can be done with some confidence with just a scale, or better a combination square.

Practice is everything when mortising with chisels, but with practice you will develop a deal of confidence and "wood sense" that will enable you to get depths remarkably accurate with just a few passes. But for this job you nailed it with "go slow and measure often."

guitarguytim
December 21st, 2010, 01:40 PM
-There's actually nothing wrong with using a drill to hog out the center of the cavity, and just cleaning it up with the chisels.

That was actually what I was thinking, I'll still use the drill, but then go with the chisels instead of the dremel for cleaning up.

guitarguytim
December 21st, 2010, 01:42 PM
But for this job you nailed it with "go slow and measure often."

I have a buddy who builds guitars, and he keeps telling me, "The slower you go, the less mistakes you'll make. And when you do make one, it'll be small and easy to fix."