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How to enlarge holes in a guitar's top?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by SixStringSlinger, Mar 8, 2021.

  1. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    I have a Reverend Tricky Gomez that came with slightly smaller, metric-measured pots, and I'm considering re-wiring it , likely using larger CTS pots. The mounting holes in the guitar top are just slightly small for that. How would you enlarge the mounting holes without splintering/otherwise damaging the top?
     
  2. MrCairo46

    MrCairo46 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    A reamer. It’s a tapered tool for safely enlarging holes. Any big hardware store.
     
  3. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I’d use a little diamond needle file (the round one or the half round one) and I’d be careful to only push down, not pull up.
    1F31CC1B-739C-4E99-91B0-5A6B9D8C8881.jpeg
     
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  4. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    Step drill bit to start and an appropriately sized regular bit to finish?

    I’m kinda asking here myself if someone wants to critique my idea.
     
  5. WingedWords

    WingedWords Friend of Leo's

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  6. Richie Cunningham

    Richie Cunningham Tele-Afflicted

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    I did this the wrong way once about sixteen years ago, and I ended up using super glue to fix it.
     
  7. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Are you gonna tell us which wrong way you tried? :D
     
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  8. Bob M

    Bob M Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    A reamer is the safest and cleanest way. If you end up doing any guitar work a reamer is a useful tool to have.
     
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  9. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    Reamers are good for that, or you could just drill it out to the right size.
     
  10. Richie Cunningham

    Richie Cunningham Tele-Afflicted

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    I can’t remember for sure, but it might have been a low-speed step bit.
     
  11. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

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    I assume that only pushing down and not pulling up, helps to minimize the risk of unexpectedly splintering and pulling away extra wood from the surrounding surface, right? And if that is the idea, might it help to also first protect some of that surrounding area with some tape? Or do something similar?
     
  12. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    It’s not the wood I’d worry about; it’s the PAINT. People who would drill this or use a reamer are putting a lot of faith in the adhesion strength of the finish, I think... Once you cut through any overspray that was on the inside edge of the hole, I think there is a big danger of lifting the paint on the top.

    Tape around the hole is not a bad idea. I don’t think it would do too much to prevent lifting/chipping the paint, but it can save yer butt when (not if) you accidentally drop the tool. Don’t ask how I know that...
     
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  13. drf64

    drf64 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Is it really necessary to change the pots? I think quality pots are useful on amps, but I've never been able to tell the difference on guitars.
     
  14. marshman

    marshman Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    It might depend on the guitar...than last reamer I saw had a ‘working length’ of at least 4 inches, which would be problematic in “Thinline” hollowbody type guitar. If that were the case, I might try to hand-spin a step-bit, presuming we’re only talking about 1mm or so of diameter.
     
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  15. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    Well I was messing with the bass cut control, trying to get a better response out of it, and this involved changing that pot from a 500k to the same 1meg reverse audio pot I use for a bass cut control in my Strat (this one fit just fine). I also decided to experiment with the cap value on the treble cut. But I screwed something up and now I get no sound from the guitar at all so at this point I prefer to wire it all up from scratch rather than chase down the problem. The volume pot has also always been scratchy at the low end, and the switch is one of those chunky import ones that seem to quit sooner than the Switchcraft type, so all the more reason to do start fresh. I always use CTS pots for this, but this is the first time I do it on a guitar where the hole are not only too small, but in the wood of the guitar itself (rather than a pickguard or control plate) as well.
     
  16. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    The Reverend has a back plate, so no worries there.
     
  17. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm no expert but I've drilled out neck pocket holes without damaging paint/finish. I'd chuck up a 3/8" drill bit and get in there.

    It'll be safer for the finish if you drill from the outside to the inside -- drilling from the inside might push the finish away from the wood.

    Tape the hole first, if you must.
     
  18. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    I like putting a slight chamfer on the edge of the hole before reaming, less chance of the finish chipping out or splintering any grain run out.

    36JF46_AS02.jpeg
     
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  19. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    You are inviting disaster using a drill. Hard finishes have a nasty habit of chipping out around the hole when drilling. Run the drill backwards until you get through the finish to prevent that happening.

    If you use a tapered reamer, do not force it or try to make it cut fast. Take your time and spin it with light pressure. Get in a hurry and you can flake the finish off the wood.
     
  20. basher

    basher Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Go to 33:57 here (but only if you're not easily disturbed (don't worry, it comes out ok in the end)).

     
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