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Carved Top Questions

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Firstly, thanks for reading! I'm building a semi-hollow and I have some carving questions. Please Please Please help, I rarely am able to use my friends shop so I need to work efficiently when I can! Thanks!

-Is there an easier method of carving than the router/wings technique (from here) or a spokeshave? Any tips?

-Do I route the neck pocket (it's a set neck) before or after carving?

-Do I route pickup cavities before or after carving? If its before, will I angle them to match the neck angle after carving?

-The TOM bridge and stop piece are going to be on an uncarved portion (right?) so it shouldn't matter if I drill those first (right?).

-Bridge and stop piece:

What are these measurements:

*Gotoh TOM - M8 x 1.25

*Gotoh Stop - M8 x 1.25 (both have bushings)

What size whole do I drill and how deep?

How do I connect a ground wire to the bushing?

How far back from the bridge should I position the stop piece?

How do I angle the bridge?

These are all questions that I've searched for the answers to, to no avail, so thanks alot for your feedback and I'll be posting pictures soon!

Edited by FlashBandit
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I'm sure we all proceed in various ways. In short, here's a few comments:

1. Neck pocket prior to carving.

2. Pickup routs after neck pocket, but prior to carving. Flat bottom like normal. The rings are tapered.

3. Fit the neck and locate your exact bridge post locations.

4. Doesn't matter if the bridge is on the carve or flat because it rests on the posts.

Don't be too anxious to drill stuff, and be sure holes won't disturb your carve attempt. (I drill last, even after clear coating)

On a TOM the bass side of the bridge is set back 1/8" or so further from the nut.


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I do things differently:

1) keep area under bridge, pickups and neck pocket flat, but carve first

2) then sort out the neck angle and neck pocket

3) finally, pickup routes and bridge position

Reason? The shape of the carve, the angle, etc. varies from guitar to guitar, from piece of wood to piece of wood, and according to my own whims. I suppose I could plan it out completely, but it doesn't work terribly well for me. As long as the area in the pickup and neck pocket area remains flat, so I can double-stick things to it, it's absolutely no problem. All the holes go in after carving, because it's too easy to 'dip' into them with the tools I use (angle grinder, random orbit sanders...)

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