Placement of Hardware on undrilled body

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by paul kirton, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. paul kirton

    paul kirton TDPRI Member

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    Hi all!

    I am building a tele out of bought parts, and the body has arrived completely undrilled!

    1) How do I locate the standard placement for the bridge? Are there schematics available anywhere? I'm concerned that if I fit a wonkily positioned bridge I am going to run into some intonation / height issues that won't be remedied without some additional holes in my lovely arctic white ash beauty!

    2) Same for control plate and scratchplate, however less of a functional issue I imagine.

    3) Finally, it is not drilled for thru body stringing. I have a bridge that will string both ways, but am concerned I'm going to jeopardise tone by not drilling, countersinking and fitting ferrules. Any thoughts?

    Thanks Paul.
     
  2. LocustPlague

    LocustPlague Tele-Holic

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    I'd say not drilling the string-through holes would have more of an effect on how the strings feel than the tone. Longer string length behind the bridge tends to feel a bit slinkier than a shorter length.

    To place the bridge, you should find the center-point of the usable travel on the bridge saddles. This should be 25.5" from the nut (on the edge closest to the fretboard -- where the string should be lying). Mark this line on your body.

    Next, use two pieces of string to line the bridge up. Basically, put the string through the E slots in the nut and run them down the neck to the bridge. You want them to look right to you. If you want them centered, center them, if you want them to be offset to give a little more bending room on the high E, then offset a little to the bass side. If you want a little insurance that you won't push the low E off the fretboard when playing barre chords, move them a little to the treble side.
     
  3. paul kirton

    paul kirton TDPRI Member

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    Thanks!

    Guess I'll have to wait until the neck arrives- I'm glad I didn't act before reading this...
     
  4. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    It might also be easier to measure 12.75" from the 12th fret, rather than 25.5" from the nut, but you get the idea. I'd do both.

    Also - assuming the rear pickup cavity is routed - mount a pick-up to the bridge before you line up the strings as posted above.

    Oh, and put the pickguard in place (even if it's not screwed down) before you settle on the bridge position. You want the top edge of the bridge plate exactly parallel with the rear edge of the pickguard.

    I would only recommend making it a string through if you have a good drill press. If you try it with a hand-held drill you're almost guaranteed to mess it up. :cry:
     
  5. paul kirton

    paul kirton TDPRI Member

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    Once again- many thanks!

    Yes- unfortunately my woodworking resources do not extend to a drill press.

    It's a shame because I will lose some of that vintage vibe :(

    Couldn't I just drill guide holes through the top of the body (once the bridge is in position) and then countersink the holes on the back manually to fit the length of the ferrules?:?:
     
  6. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    Well, you could do that but don't expect them to all come out the back in a nice neat line :rolleyes:

    Apart from the problem of keeping the drill bit exactly perpendicular to the body, variations in the wood tend to make the bit "wander" a little.

    My advice would be to go with a top loader, at least for now. Anyway, many 1960's Teles were top-loaders so you won't really be sacrificing any "vibe". If in teh future you want to make it a string-through, you can always have a luthier, cabinet maker, etc do it for you.
     
  7. paul kirton

    paul kirton TDPRI Member

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    very good point! sounds like the voice of experience.:)

    I'll stick with top loading then.
     
  8. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    There are a couple of fantastic drawings on TDPRI. One is in EHawley's '52 Build thread I think ( could be '53). That should give you the standard dimensions. TDowns has a great one too. I think his may have come first, but I can't remember the name of the thread.
    Marty
     
  9. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    And you can just tell everyone you modeled your guitar on a 1958-59 example with a top loading bridge. :rolleyes:
     
  10. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    The Vintage Toploaders were only made in ´59 , I think...
    Still , Im a fan , and dont believe all you hear about giving anything up with a Toploader.
    Please dont try to drill string through holes without a proper drill press ! You simply cannot do it with a handheld drill.
    Out of line ferrules might not do anything to the function of the guitar , but it looks AWFUL , IMO...
    Even with a drill press , it can go wrong.

    Place everything on top of the guitar , pickguard , controlplate and bridge incl pu. What makes assembling a tele special , is the placement of a part in relation to the other parts.
    It doesnt take much to make the pickguard come out of line with the bridge , neck or the cut-out for the controlplate.

    Everything is possible with pre-made bodies of several makes. Sometimes the controlplate will never fit properly in the cut-out of the pickguard because the route for the controls are cut in the wrong place .Dont laugh , its not uncommon at all !

    Place everything on the body , and see if you can get everything aligned, while still being able to set the intonation , and have room for the pick-up in the rout under the bridge without it touching the sides of the body.

    You can use masking tape to secure everything so it wont slide around on the body while you align all these parts together.

    Remember , the high e-string will be closest to the neck , I usually just measure the scale length right where the e-string breaks the saddle , and just have a bit of thread for forward intonation. All the other strings will be further back from there
     
  11. Casual_Reader

    Casual_Reader Tele-Holic

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    No original ones, but pointers to a couple of threads. Out of curiosity, is it the Wilkinson bridge from guitar fetish?

    The Terry Downs drawing as PDF - opens with Adobe acrobat reader:

    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home-depot/74504-generated-d-size-tele-body-blueprint-5.html

    the latest revision is D on page 5.

    Note that not all bridges drill the same - the drawing is for a vintage style bridge. Check the hole spacings to check for differences.

    Secondly - this thread:

    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-tech/141044-how-do-you-drill-string-through-holes.html

    Without a drill press and/or nice jig, the idea of drilling through halfway from both sides using the bridge itself as a guide makes a lot of sense. The rest of the thread is packed with great tips making it worth reading... in your case, especially the jwells393 pic of the forstner bit he uses to avoid damaging the finish on the back.

    Once done, you can string it up both ways and compare... or top load a couple or three, and through string the rest.
     
  12. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If you take two pieces of wood and join them together so that they form an interior right angle that is also at a right angle to the workbench, you can place the drill bit in up against the inside corner as a guide to help you drill straight down into the wood. Look at a room where two walls come together at 90 degrees as an example of what I mean.
    marty
     
  13. Casual_Reader

    Casual_Reader Tele-Holic

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    Good Idea... though the thought of a perfectly square corner in a house made me grin as that's never been my experience.

    another way would be to take two pieces of scrap wood (say 3/4 thick and an inch wide) and use a combination square* to score 2 lines the width of the bit apart in both of them. Then angle the utility knife about 45 degrees and gouge them out. Line up the two pieces and glue or screw them together and bore the hole round with the bit. The bit will follow the path of least resistance.

    With a normal length bit, the wood jig on top of the bridge plate will keep you from drilling all of the way through.



    * to check if a square is perfectly square, put it up to straight edge of scrap wood and score a line... then flip the square and check to see if the edge and the scored line matches.
     
  14. dugg

    dugg TDPRI Member

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    I have a drill press, but I still measure both sides (or use the bridge) and use the 'drill and flip' to meet holes in the middle because, as KevinB points out, bits just wander even forstners. I'm confident that you, or I could do the same with a hand drill. On my current build, I used an inset brass plate with six holes instead of ferrules. I'm pretty sure you couldn't hear the difference between the plate and ferrules, but the plate looks really beefy and that's got to add some mojo, don't you know ;)
     
  15. jinx667

    jinx667 TDPRI Member

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    The top loader on my CS '59 sounds and plays great. I would save myself the hassle and go top loader.
     
  16. shoretyus

    shoretyus Tele-Holic

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    I did a toploader and didn't notice the sound difference.
     
  17. bolt5

    bolt5 TDPRI Member

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    Stewart MacDonald has some good build information in the free information section of their web site http://www.stewmac.com/freeinfo/Building,_general.html. Check out the bolted neck and electric guitar assembly articles. Our body (from StewMac) was routed but not drilled and we used the set up info from them. They also have dimensioned drawings of the bridge plates they sell.
     
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