Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

how do you drill string through holes

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by hopdybob, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2003
    Spring City, Pa
    If you make them perfectly uniform, people will know it's not a real Fender ;)
    cboutilier likes this.

  2. walsty

    walsty TDPRI Member

    May 25, 2012
    Atlanta area
    What would be the throat depth (drill press post to the center of the chuck) on a drill press needed to drill the string holes? Would it be about 7"?

  3. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Mar 3, 2003
    NJ via TX
    i think 7" would do, but marginally. i'd be a useless tech/luthier without my grizzly 17" swing press.

  4. Toriginal

    Toriginal Former Member

    May 30, 2012
    Here I'm drilling 1/8 in. holes from the front side using my template. You could also use a bridge plate to get the spacing right. Don't drill pilot holes with anything less than 1/8 in. I set the drill press stop for around 1 in.


    Is that template something A person could order from somewhere? My plywood template is less than desireable for sure.

  5. robbo II

    robbo II NEW MEMBER!

    Jun 11, 2012
    Bend, Ore
    Hi Everyone! My name is Robert, and I'm a newbie to this site. I joined this site to find this exact info. Thanks to all for your input. I've played with Teles and Strats for .. Well .. a few decades, but never "modded" any. SO, I have a few questions for ya'll:
    1) My Teles are MIM. I understand that makes a difference in string-through and bridge plate screw placement. True?
    2) The only "string-through" Tele I own is a MIK KOA with Seymore Duncans. Very fat, thick sound. Very little twang. Shall I expect this sound with my cheap-o (yet reliable) stock MIM Teles?
    3) To hell with it. I can't hammer a nail to save my life, let alone drill anything but sheet metal. What would ya'll charge me to drill them for me?

    Thanks, All!
    -Robbo II

  6. bcruise

    bcruise TDPRI Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Central Texas
    If you can drill a hole in sheet metal, you're half way there...uh...maybe 1/100 of the way there...

    Follow the excellent advise from folks on this forum, "close your eyes", and, give it a'll most likely be pleased with your results...and have the satisfaction that goes with it...

    ...and, the sound you get, will be primarily influenced by the pick-ups that you choose....string-through or not...

  7. Glen Smith

    Glen Smith RIP

    Aug 20, 2011
    Practice on a piece of 2 X 4 first.

  8. absrec

    absrec TDPRI Member

    Mar 15, 2008
    Atlanta, Ga.
    I know this thread is old but I was searching for info in this subject. I liked the method of drilling the 2 "E" strings and then flipping it over to do the rest. What I did was pretty much the same except mostly done with a hand drill.

    Here's what I did and it worked great. I drilled the outer 2 strings with my drill press. It just made it. And I mean JUST. Once I was there, I had no more room since my drill press is only 10". Next, I mounted the bridge on the body and used my hand drill to go halfway through the body on the inner 4 strings. I used a corded drill that I have had for years. It doesn't get much use because I prefer the convenience of my cordless. However, it's a Dewalt with a leveling bubble built in to the very rear for just this kind of thing. I first made sure it was sitting on a level surface and then slowly drilled while working to keep the bubble dead center on the drill. Then I flipped it over, lined up the 2 outer holes with dowels and drilled the same way until the bit met the holes from the top side. I stood back and couldn't believe it worked. The straightest I've ever gotten string-thru holes on any guitar.

    Hope this helps someone.

  9. tdale

    tdale Tele-Meister

    Aug 29, 2008

  10. metalicaster

    metalicaster Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 5, 2011
    I'm a wanderer...
    I marked the holes from the bridge with pencil, removed bridge

    Drilled clean through the body 6 times with a pillar drill - no machinists table needed, just slid the body around, touched the drill bit to the pencil mark and clamped back down.

    I counterbored the holes afterwards with a little hand drill, came straight and true - lined up with the holes on the bridge too unlike most Fenders so it must be a superior method to however they're doing it.

    EDIT: I just noticed this thread doesn't smell right... remove the head or destroy the brain.

  11. Jay T

    Jay T TDPRI Member

    Apr 2, 2017
    I just got offline with my first 5/16 hole. I guess I need to try and plug it with a dowel. I didnt do the drill press, pin method. Will a bench style drill press be accurate enough ? Im worried about wobble. I know I need to get one with enough body clearance. Thanks. Jay

  12. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

    Apr 17, 2007
    Big D
    my first thought, "badly".

    But there are a bunch of different option to get them straight. I usually use a Forstner bit and I also use a punch to get my holes started right where I want them.

  13. Jay T

    Jay T TDPRI Member

    Apr 2, 2017
    Heres what I have. The 1/8th holes lined up perfectly. I used a steel block with a 5/16 guide hole and lined it up with the e string and used a 5/16. brad bit. Not sure how I got that far off center. Do you use the forstner bit free hand ?. Stewmac makes a 3/8 flush ferrule that would allow me to completely cover the 5/8 hole if I could count on the bit not wondering. I was thinking of temporarily filling the 5/16 hole with a dowel, redrilling to 3/8 in order to try to get my straight line back. Any ideas would be appreciated

    Attached Files:

  14. Bakeacake08

    Bakeacake08 Tele-Meister

    Jul 23, 2016
    I was able to drill four holes relatively through 2" of poplar with no drill press. I started with a 6" long or so 2x4 and marked a line parallel to an edge using a square. I then flipped it over and drew a line from the same reference edge so that I had a line on the top and bottom faces that were both the same distance from the same side.

    Next, I measured from the end of the 2x4 and drew perpendicular lines with my square at about 1" intervals until I ran out of board. I did this on the top and bottom again, which left me with crosshairs that were lined up vertically on the board.

    Then it was just a matter of eyeballing my hand drill and the same size bit I was using (1/4" I think?) and drilling through the 2x4 at each set of crosshairs until I got one that exited perfectly centered on my mark. (It took a few tries.)

    Now I had a hole that was perfectly vertical, so I used that as a guide to make the holes on the guitar, making sure the 2x4 was oriented the same way each time so any errors were consistent. The board got me about halfway through the body, at which point the new hole was deep enough to guide it the rest of the way.

    I now have an 8" drill press, so on my next one I will probably do something similar except I'll use the press for verticality, and I'll probably do all 6 holes on one template, but that's how I figured out how to get it done without the fancy tools. Hope it helps!

  15. Jay T

    Jay T TDPRI Member

    Apr 2, 2017
    maybe I will give that a try. my 1/8 holes are perfect but somehow I got off on the 3/8 ferrule. I used a steel guide block but noticed lastnight that there is still a small amount of play when I insert the bit and the drill I used wasnt super tight at the arbor. I think I also got confused by reading the two different methods, one of using the pin for alignment on the press, and one that uses the bridge plate on both sides for a template.

  16. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    What this thread lacks, but needs IMO, is a sober reminder that there is no proof that converting a top loader to string through will improve the performance or sound of the instrument. Might help one guitar, and hurt another. Most don't really change much if at all.

    And. It is one thing to successfully drill properly aligned holes in a plain, unfinished piece of wood and seriously a totally different undertaking to do the same thing with a finished body. Finishes do strange and unpredictable thinks. It isn't like trying to drill a hole in plate glass but it trends in this direction.

  17. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Here here + 1000

    Not worth the bother for sure. I have a '95 Std. and LOVE IT.

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