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centering pickguard, control plate, and bridge holes

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Dpalms, Nov 23, 2020.

  1. Dpalms

    Dpalms Tele-Meister

    Jun 3, 2019
    is there a precise way to do this? or do i just make center punch holes as center as possible and hope for the best?

    wouldn't the holes have to be very accurate to prevent these parts from moving slightly once the screws are installed ?
  2. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 22, 2018
    The only part of this I care about is the bridge. Lay two straightedges on the sides of the neck and mark the scale length. Draw lines at both straightedges on the scale, then measure half way between them - the is the functioning center of the guitar. Position the bridge or a scaled paper drawing of it (or an accurate template if you have one) relative to the scale and centerline - different bridges have different criterial. Use a brad point drill bit that fits snuggly in the mounting holes and center punch each hole. Drill with the appropriate bit for the mounting screws.

    Use the same method to locate pickups.

    Since I don't use pick guards that is a moot point but if I did I would locate it AFTER the neck, bridge and p/u's are in place. Assuming it has holes for mounting screws, transfer them just like above. If the control cavity is a standard Fender metal one do the same thing - establish the center line and center punch the holes.

    It is a bad idea to use your plate or what ever to drill directly thru the holes - usually you want a smaller hole for the screw and so you should center punch.
    mfguitar likes this.
  3. Larkins

    Larkins Tele-Meister

    Feb 15, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    I always use a Vix bit, which is a self centering drill bit used for stuff like door hinges.
  4. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 2, 2017
    corner of walk and don't walk
    As I understand your question, you're concerned about locating the center-point of the hole precisely in the middle of the holes in your components.

    Larkin mentioned Vix type self centering drill bits which work pretty good.

    There are also self centering center punches which work on the same principle as the Vix bit and have the advantage of allowing you to select the correct size drill bit instead of relying on the limited selection that Vix bits provide.

    And then there is the eye-ball method, which works very well after you do a bit of practicing. It's not a hard skill to develop; if you have "normal" vision, our eyes are capable of picking up very slight deviations from what is "right" :).

    edit: Position your component carefully and accurately; clamp in place if necessary.

    Trace the hole locations with a sharp pencil, making a circle. Practice placing a dot with a sharp pencil precisely in the center of those small circles. Your eye will tell you when it's centered :).

    Then use either a sharply pointed center punch or a sharp awl (that's what I use) right on that little pencil dot.

    Be aware that the grain will sometimes try to pull your awl off the center-point and make adjustments accordingly ;).

    Careful planning and accurate layout is the first step in doing nice clean-looking work that you can take real pride in :).

    Last edited: Nov 26, 2020
    fenderchamp and RogerC like this.
  5. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

    Jun 2, 2003
    Good advice on bridge location above. As far as the holes are concerned, I place the component in place, (pickguard, control plate etc) then push a magic marker into the holes. Remove the component and you have a black dot on the body. Center punch in the middle of the dot by eye.
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