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Drilling hole for pick up socket, safe?   You are logged in as Guest
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jonnyf

 

Posts: 8
Joined: Apr. 2 2005
 

Drilling hole for pick up socket, safe? 

Hi,

I've been using a Fishman pick up in my flamenco guitar on and off for over ten years, it's the one that has a cable trailing out of the sound hole which is getting a little annoying.
So, I'm contemplating drilling a hole in the base of the guitar so I can fit a 1/4 inch socket and eliminate the sound hole thing.
Generally, will it be problematic to drill this hole as far as the structural health of the guitar is concerned or should it be ok in people's experience?

Many thanks for any replies, Jon
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2014 16:50:11
 
Leñador

Posts: 5229
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Drilling hole for pick up socket... (in reply to jonnyf

I did it with no problem at all. Generally the end block on guitars is pretty meaty so it should be fine. Wouldn't hurt to take a peek though.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2014 17:24:00
 
Jeff Highland

 

Posts: 401
Joined: Mar. 5 2010
From: Caves Beach Australia

RE: Drilling hole for pick up socket... (in reply to jonnyf

There are two alternative positions for this.
You can go with a regular jack installed through the side like a Gibson hollowbody. In this case you would want to install a reinforcing patch to the thin side.
Or you can use a Fishman endpin jack installed through a 12mm hole at the centre of the tailblock. This is what I normally do.

In both cases, how you drill the hole is important.
Do not use a normal twist drill, even gradually drilling to size, it can catch and cause a lot of damage, as well as chipping out finish. I have heard of one catch actually splitting the sides and tailblock. You might be lucky......but.
My preferred method now, and I just did one this morning, is to drill a 2mm guide hole then a 6mm pilot hole with a brad point bit and then take it out to 12mm with a 12mm step drill with a piece of card on the shank to prevent the chuck contacting the side when it goes though.

I have used a 12mm brad point drill in the past but this is much safer and smoother. You can also use a reamer if you can get one the right diameter or the specialist (exxy) tool from stewmac.

12mm is good, 1/2" is too sloppy
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2014 22:43:51
 
Leñador

Posts: 5229
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Drilling hole for pick up socket... (in reply to jonnyf

I used a brand new paddle bit and it went super smooth, did I get lucky?

I blue taped the area, made the mark, made sure my drill was level as I could and just went for it. I tried to keep the pressure kinda light...........

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2014 22:51:37
 
Jeff Highland

 

Posts: 401
Joined: Mar. 5 2010
From: Caves Beach Australia

RE: Drilling hole for pick up socket... (in reply to jonnyf

Maybe lucky, the paddle bits also tend to make a bit of a mess when they break through.
I guess when you are doing this on other people's guitars as I do, you tend to look for more accident proof methods.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2014 23:18:43
 
Leñador

Posts: 5229
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Drilling hole for pick up socket... (in reply to jonnyf

quote:

I guess when you are doing this on other people's guitars as I do, you tend to look for more accident proof methods.

lol, that's fair, I'm sure it's appreciated. And yeah, I have no idea how clean the inside is…….

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2014 23:46:32
 
Jeff Highland

 

Posts: 401
Joined: Mar. 5 2010
From: Caves Beach Australia

RE: Drilling hole for pick up socket... (in reply to jonnyf

This is the step drill set I have
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/3pc-Metric-HSS-Step-Drill-Set-Cone-Drills-4mm-12mm-4mm-20mm-4mm-32mm-/201090048094?pt=UK_Home_Garden_PowerTools_SM&hash=item2ed1e6a05e

I only use the small one, at 12mm max it can go all the way through

The other good thing about the step drill is it works when a (steel String) guitar already has a small tapered hole for a endpin. In this case there is nothing to support the centre spur on a brad point or paddle bit
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2014 23:59:03
 
cathulu

Posts: 949
Joined: Dec. 15 2006
From: Vancouver, Canukistan

RE: Drilling hole for pick up socket... (in reply to jonnyf

I drilled mine with a new hss drill bit. First what i did was buy a couple of drill bits and tested then on a piece of scrap cedar that easily tears. Funny the special wood boring bit tore the cedar, the hss bit did not. Test your bit first! The hardest part of the operation is making sure you drill perpendicular and square. It is easy but you only get one chance so take your time setting up and then drill confidently.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 24 2014 5:15:12
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