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Thinline vs Keyhole routed f-hole

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Mark the Moose, Apr 19, 2021.

  1. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

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    Just about finished with a my first partscaster and it was so much fun I'm already planning my next build. I think I'd like to make my own body next time around and really love me an f-hole. I'm not sure about a real thinline design, instead I'm considering cutting out an f-hole then using a keyhole router to open it up inside a little bit.

    Any cautionary tales?
     
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  2. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    When I do an f-hole is it traditionally shaped because I only do them on guitars where I think they look correct. I reinforce the inside with surgical tape and thin CA - f-holes are prone to cracking at stress risers. I drill the end holes with forstner bit, and use a dremel with a template to do the actual wood remove. Many of mine get bound to match the guitar - either plastic or wood.

    F-holes do make the guitar a bit more prone to feedback - look at all the 335's stuffed with rags (and that is why BB's Luciles don't have them). In the violin and archtop world the points are usually put on the scale line - that makes it easy to put the floating bridge back on when it falls off.

    Throughout the years archtop builders have used their "f"-holes as a mark of their design, some almost become trademarks. Some look really good, some look silly (Trini's). F-holes have a definite function on an acoustic instrument and can be used to tune the body chamber resonance just as the sound hole size does on acoustic guitars.

    F-hole often provide access to the inside of the guitar for wiring - the harness for 335's is fished thru the hole and little strings pull the components into their position. Its a big hassle, if you are going to do that be sure everything will fit and plan how you are going to actually do it.

    The f-hole is a great place to install your label - just remember to do it before the top or back goes on. Try not to get overspray inside the holes, I also mask before closing the box.

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    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
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  3. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Friend of Leo's

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    Don't be afraid to think outside the box! I haven't done a traditional f hole because i don't really care for them. Here's my 3 thinlines in the order I made them. The first one was somewhat Rickenbacker inspired and the other two are purely out of my imagination and what I could draw.

    Screenshot_20210221-214008_Gallery.jpg 20191214_230231.jpg 20201126_193216.jpg
     
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  4. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Afflicted

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    This is Ashley, but her nickname is "Lil F-Hole" on account of the sound hole being significantly slimmer than Fender's.

    image.jpeg

    I didn't know what I was doing then (almost 20 years ago), and I know even less now.

    It was one of my main guitars for a while but now I rarely play it anymore. The pickup spacing is weird and I don't really like the bridge or the neck position sounds. However, the middle position is magical and I don't want to change anything.

    Anyway, I say go for it. I also say there's not much point in building a guitar you could buy any day of the week.

    Though I had plans to build more and started a handful I've never had a proper work space and things have been getting pushed for years now. I have two Teles in the works and one will be chambered (I think). I've had a few Tele Thinlines and have never had any feedback issues with them. I don't think a keyhole is necessary & I get to enjoy my Thinlines on the couch unplugged
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
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  5. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    image.jpeg image.jpeg
    My avatar guitar is a Thinline imposter!
    The F hole is just for looks.
    The guitar is not hollow.
    It originally just had black paint in the cavity, but I put matching tortoise shell pickguard material in it later.
    I don't care for the sound of Thinlines, but they look ultra cool!
     
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  6. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

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    BB FTW! OP, there’s your answer... go for it with a keyhole routed F-hole, if it’s good enough for BB it’s good enough for the rest of us (& it’s had me fooled for I don’t know how long!). :)
     
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  7. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Holic

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    That blue strat is one neat looking instrument!!!
     
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  8. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Friend of Leo's

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    Unfortunately that's the one in the bunch that got away. I gifted it to my best friend as a Christmas present. He plays the heck out of it though!
     
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  9. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    You aren't limited to just a "key-hole" bit :).

    You can use any type of bit that will fit.

    What you do is use the bit's shaft as your "guide bearing".

    But, you really should lube the shaft with something to keep it from burning the template edges.

    I use this stuff - "Trim Ease" - we used to use it when beveling formica edges back in the days before we had beveling bits with guide bearing on them.

    IMG_1214.JPG



    It's a waxy lubricant - just rub some on the template edges and it'll keep the bit's shaft from burning the template edges :).

    It really works, we used to rub a streak of it along the edge of a formica counter top and then let the shaft of the bevel bit guide itself right along the formica edge ;).



    On my 2021 BrotherHood Build I thinned the edges of the F-holes using this same method ;).


    edit: I know it looks like Rim-Ease and it's a lubricant - no off-color jokes please :).


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  10. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I just use a down cut router bit in my dremel. With the tool in a router base I set the bit so the shank rides on the template and the bit cuts the wood. The pressure on the template is very light, I'm almost free hand routing. More or less shows in my previous post.
     
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  11. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    I do the same as Freeman with a 1/4" double flute bit. Works very well.
     
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