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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. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Refin or not, they only made that guitar for what... 3 years? I had one and they can be pretty clean, sparkely sounding, not everyone's cup o tea. My guess is if you dont like one center pickup you wont like 3 and ruin some value.
     
  2. knavel

    knavel Tele-Meister

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    Here is the process of replacing a Gretsch HiLo Tron with an early 60s P90. A dremel. I don't have any photos of the dremel at work unfortunately. But you can see that care was taken not to cut the top bracing.
    IMG_0369.JPG IMG_0447.JPG IMG_0452.JPG
     
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  3. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

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    Yes.

    I've learned a lot, here.

    Thanks!
     
  4. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Dremel with some sort of router bit?
    I mainly use mine with a cutoff wheel or sanding barrel, but I'm me ainly doing automotive type stuff.
     
  5. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had a really sweet ES225 on my work bench not too long ago. It had an interesting piece of wood that was rattling around in the inside.

    1211191349.jpg

    1211191420.jpg
     
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  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I do that a lot. If you are very careful you can let the shank of the bit ride against the template. I usually finish it with small rasps

    IMG_2447.JPG
     
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  7. JRapp

    JRapp Tele-Holic

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    Yes, I've done that many times to use a soapbar base P90 with a dogear cover. Works fine and might even cut down on some low end feedback. Put a thin felt washer or two on the mounting screws between the cover and the top---helps decouple the pickup from the body.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
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  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    I'd avoid a 3 humbucker experiment. If you have another 3 H guitar you play and love then you know what you are getting into. If this would be your first you'll find the middle is not a lot different than the other two pickups and the pick or your fingers have something to hit now.

    I'd suggest the first mod is put a pickup in the current hole that you have split out to exotic switching.
    I have a Tele Esquire-H hooked to a 4-way switch for 'neck'/parallel/'bridge'/series humbucker. Using the tone knob I can fake a Tele neck pickup, it has Strat #2 Quack, Tele Twang, and LP bridge humbucker tones.

    A LP Junior I have I rotated the bridge pickup so the screw poles are more toward the middle of the guitar, lowered the pickup/raised the screw poles, and it gives a lot more P90 growl than a typically mounted humbucker. It's probably my most often played guitar because of the tone.

    .
     
  9. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    There's something that exists exactly for that "want." It's called renting.

    Rent a router and top-bearing flush trim bit, and make a template from scrap 1X and quality ply.

    Using 1" wood screws, screw the pieces of 1X (countersunk) into a sheet of quality plywood, to make a "box" the size of the hole you need. Forstner bit to remove the bulk of the ply. Top-bearing flush trim bit to cut to the edges. Transfer to 1/2" clear acrylic (though 1/4" will do, 1/2" is better) if you don't feel comfortable placing/locating the P90 hole "blind." Whether you use the ply template or an acrylic template, place spacers under the ends of the template to accommodate the arched top. Be sure to make the template large, even if the hole is small. You want enough extra room on the template to clamp it in place and still allow your router in.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
  10. Wildeman

    Wildeman Tele-Meister

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    Screenshot_2020-11-23-18-57-38-1.png They make a router attachment for a Dremel, i have one and it works well. Slow going on a solid body but i think perfect for your needs and fairly affordable. If you have a Dremel that is.
     
  11. JRapp

    JRapp Tele-Holic

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    To the OP: If I was you, I would sell that 225 to somebody for as much $$$ as I could get and buy what you really want. That hole in the middle kinda screws things up unless you're going full on ES5. I have played the single pickup 225 student models but I would never consider buying one because they are neither fish nor fowl. As you know...
     
  12. knavel

    knavel Tele-Meister

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    The tip was a freestyle mini circular saw. Basically like this:


    However I see there is a tip that looks more appropriate perhaps:
     
  13. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    You can also use an oscillating saw with a fine-tooth blade, and do plunge cuts. The round blade is too big for a job like this, but the straight/rectangle blade is ideal. With the guitar in padded clamps to hold it firmly on the bench, you can make very accurate cuts with one of these tools. Practice a little on scrap wood to get a feel for how to control it, and you'll be off to the races.

    The one I have is the Dremel Multi-Max 45 (there are smaller versions too). It's not really that great for sanding, but for cutting various materials--it does cuts no other power tool can do. I've had this thing for about seven years and it's seen a lot of hard use, and it still makes extremely accurate cuts.

     
  14. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have one of those but find it way too wobbly for any precision work and you certainly don't need the plunge for this operation (just drill a hole larger than your bit). I also have the non plunge StewMac dremel base shown in post 26 above - that is what I use for all of my inlay work. It will work for routing thin material like the top of an archtop (or an ES225) but I also remember the OP saying he didn't want to buy any router or template.
     
  15. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    Please note that @Peegoo has the blade teeth oriented so they cut on the down-stroke.

    That's important so you don't splinter the top where it shows.

    It would also be a good idea to score the cut-line with an Exacto knife or something similar :).
     
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  16. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I just got done making this tool.
    I'm not yet sure if I'll use it, but I did orient the teeth to cut on the downstroke ;)
     
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