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How to cut a P90 hole: archtops?

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by charlie chitlin, Nov 23, 2020.

  1. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I'd prefer not to buy a router and template for 1 job.
    I'm quite adept with hand tools of all kinds.
    Any suggestions?
     
  2. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I take it that you are using a dog ear P90. One could do an acceptable job for a dog ear with a keyhole saw and using a drill for a starter hole. Mask off with masking tape for your guide. I would want a finer tooth saw blade for this job.
    I also would never do this on most Gibsons or any higher quality guitar. I would be looking for a pickup that did not need a permanent attachment to the top of the guitar. Ommv.

    and...you would want to score the finish with a razor blade on the outline of the hole to prevent finish chipping.
     
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  3. wabashslim

    wabashslim Friend of Leo's

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    My old dogear is 1-19/32 wide. If you've already got a humbucker hole there you better measure to make sure it'll be covered.
     
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  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Soap bar or dog ear? When you say archtop is it hollow or solid? How are you going to mount it?

    Melvin Hiscock gives a pattern for a P90 route in the back of his book but doesn't call out the corner radii. They measure about 1/4 inch so you can drill the four corners with a half inch Forstner bit. Put a piece of tape on to act as a depth gauge or set a depth stop on your drill press.

    Drill out all the waste to the depth you have selected for your pickups and however you are going to mount them (many P90's screw into wood behind them). Use a sharp chisel to remove wood in between your drilled out areas - you might want to clamp some straight pieces of wood to the top to act as a guide for your chisel.

    Frankly its the perfect job for a small laminate trimmer and a home made template.
     
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  5. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Pictures? many will fit with no cutting. The pickup sits above the top and the screws etc project into the humbucker hole:
    [​IMG]

    Also, a shallower mounting can be done sometimes by using a dog ear cover with a soapbar pickup. You screw the pickup to the cover with small machine screws through the two center mounting holes.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
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  6. RomanS

    RomanS Poster Extraordinaire

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    If it is an acoustic archtop, make sure where the bracings are located before you start cutting - you don't want to compromise the stability of the top...
     
  7. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Okay...archtop? I figured we were talking a hollowbody. I took too much for granted....so...

    what kind of archtop.
     
  8. Danb541

    Danb541 Friend of Leo's

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    More info and pictures are needed to answer your question.
     
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  9. Danb541

    Danb541 Friend of Leo's

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    One approach is call a luthier. A good one will have a P90 template and router. I doubt it would cost much to have them route it for you and you'll be more confident your guitar wont be damaged. Definitely cheaper than buying a template and router.
     
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  10. Allan Allan

    Allan Allan Tele-Afflicted

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    If it's already got a humbucker just get a p-94
     
  11. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If it is a solid body...... lay it out, drill holes to the proper depth to remove most of the wood, then use a sharp chisel to finish the cavity.
     
  12. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    When I needed to cut the holes for two humbuckers to convert a Washburn jazzbox into an ES175-like beast, I epoxied a 2" section of heavy-duty coping saw blade into the end of a 1/2" diameter dowel 4" long. That gave me a blade about 1" long, and it worked perfectly. Faster than I expected, too. If you try this approach, put the blade into the dowel close to the side of the dowel, not in the center.

    [​IMG]

    I started by laying tape on the guitar top, drew the cutout shapes where I wanted them, and then drilled a 1/4" hole in each inside corner of the cutout locations. All that was left to do was 'connect the dots' along the lines with the little saw.

    This saw is also ideal for making string slots in acoustic guitar bridge plates.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    It's a hollowbody.
    And, yeah...dogear pickups.
    It's an ES225 that's been refinished, so it will never be collectible.
    I love the way the guitar plays, but its range of tones is so limited (and a bit weird, frankly) with the single, mid, mounted pickup.
    For years, I've been imagining a 3 pickup ES5-type thing with 3 volumes and a master tone.
    I would, of course, immediately trash the idea if it looked like there was bracing in the way or if it would otherwise undermine the top.
    Just one of those hare-brained ideas that tends to bubble up when I need a project.
    I may need to be talked out of it...I'll listen.
     
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  14. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Nice.
     
  15. RomanS

    RomanS Poster Extraordinaire

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    In that case, take out the middle pickup, and check where the bracings are located - should be fine, since there's already a pickup there.
    BTW, while you most likely will have to cut a hole for the neck pickup, for the bridge pickup you might get away with just a narrow slot for the pole screws, as most of the pickup will sit above the top of the guitar (for that reason, you'll need a spacer ring).
     
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  16. Flaneur

    Flaneur Friend of Leo's

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    This thread is what TDPRI is all about. The wisdom, which comes from experience: shared.

    Thanks, Gents. :cool:
     
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  17. dogmeat

    dogmeat Friend of Leo's

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    before you cut holes, maybe try a different pickup? I didn't know there was a version of the 225 with only one pickup.

    another thought is the Duncan P-Rail, it has 4 sounds in one. single coil blade, P90, humbucker series, and bucker parallel. I've put them in a couple guitars and when set right there is a bunch of good tones. might be able to buy a dog ear cover & cut it out to carry the P-Rail. then for controls without drilling more holes, a stacked tone & volume pot and a rotary selector for pickup choice. or, leave the controls alone and get the Triple Shot bezel that has the pickup selection on switches. you may have to make a plate of some kind either way
     
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  18. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Charlie, I have a late 1962 E’s-125T single pickup guitar. Through some amps, I do not like the guitar at all. Through others, I find it perfect as it is.
     
  19. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    One of those passed through recently.
    A mint '63 with original strings!
    I agree with your assessment.
    The mid mounted pickup, though...it just never sounds right to me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
  20. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's just an oblong hole. As Wally said, measure the baseplate, mark it in masking tape and make sure the cover obscures your lines. The homemade Shiv Peegoo made looks a good bet.

    As dogmeat mentioned, I have a P-Rails I mounted in a humbucker Jnr Joan Jett Les Paul Jnr - three sounds from the old single coil rail type Jnr, vintage SD P90 which is a good'un and a sort of JB59-like hummer - not PAF, not metal. I used 300k pots. Very usable tones, I used a 3pst switch but the dedicated mount superswitcher is unobtrusive looks-wise and works well..

    Needs a humbucker route, though.
     
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