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Partially Filling Tremolo Block Routing

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Hello, board.  First time poster here and I was wondering if you could offer any insight if possible.

I am in the middle of converting an Ibanez GRX20 from a non-locking FAT 6 tremolo to an double-locking Floyd Rose licensed Ibanez trem.

FAT 6:


FR Ibanez:


Everything is going good so far regardless of it's slow going because of my measuring up to 4 times for confirmation.  However, there is one thing that I flubbed on.

The original hold for the FAT 6 trem block was too small on the "first string" side.  I had to make some room for the tremolo arm coupling (much like some guitars with FR tremolos have that divot to compensate for the piece).  Well, unfortunately, I took too much off to where the whole extends past tremolo base on that "first string" side of the bridge:


I'm embarrassed to admit that I used a Dremel with a cylinder sanding bit, but you live and learn.

My question is, is there any way to attempt to fill that in with some kind of putty or filler so that I can go back and properly rout it out to compensate for the tremolo arm coupling?  Or...   am I just f@#%?

Like I said, any help, comments, advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.


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Hello fellow Imgurian!

I wouldn't use putty, however that might be far easier than any of the other options depending on your level of woodworking experience. I wrote an expanded tutorial on routing out holes for infills in the Tutorials section, however that might be a bit overkill since you'd be routing out maybe 90% of what you're backfilling....

How does the new trem look in place? I mean, if there's only a little bit showing then you can get away with a number of tricks....none of which would be regarded as best practice by most guitar builders, but get rid of the hole....

One that I would consider is pigmented epoxy. Not the glue, but a proper constructional epoxy like West System or Z-Poxy. The idea is to support the guitar and use gravity to put the epoxy where you want it to go.

Firstly, get some black dye. A spirit (alcohol) based black dye for wood should work nicely. Use a Q-tip or cotton swab and dye the exposed wood black. Let it chooch and then wipe up any excess. This is just to hide any wood that might not be covered with the epoxy. Take two pieces of good painter's tape and cover the area where that green box is both front and back. This tape will stop the epoxy leaking out and make a dam. Put a few more pieces of tape on to support it if needs be.

Mix up your epoxy and add a bit of black dye. Maybe 5-10%. Any more and it runs the risk of preventing the epoxy from chooching. With the guitar oriented so that gravity keeps the epoxy in the tape "dam", spoon epoxy in until there's enough to backfill the hole. Gravity will self-level the epoxy, so put a bit of work into getting the body level.

Once the epoxy is cured, take off the tape and you're good. It won't look perfect, but the alternative is probably going to be a lot less to your liking....involving loads of refinishing and wood butchery. :thumb:

Don't get epoxy anywhere you don't want it to be.

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It almost goes without saying that this is far from invisible. Black epoxy will not resemble the original paint. You can do paint touchups in that area, but since Ibanez' original paints are usually nuclear-proof catalysed finishes it's an uphill struggle.

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On 4/1/2016 at 1:42 AM, Prostheta said:

Take two pieces of good painter's tape and cover the area where that green box is both front and back. This tape will stop the epoxy leaking out and make a dam. Put a few more pieces of tape on to support it if needs be.

Oh, wow!  This is exactly what I was thinking could be done, but didn't know exactly how to word it.  Thanks, Prostheta!  I greatly appreciate your input.

Due to all of the other mods that I want to do to the guitar, I'm not all that worried from the "fix" being invisible.  My ultimate goal is to have the guitar look "industrial", slightly steampunk-ish.  So any imperfections will just give the guitar character.

I will definitely use this week to plan for and this weekend to execute your suggestions.

I shall keep you posted on my progress!  

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Yep, just let it do its thing. The painter's tape might stick to the epoxy (well, the other way around really) so I'd remove that once the epoxy has started to properly set up. You might not get a clean shiny finish off the epoxy because of the tape, but it's better than a hole anyway. There's a few other options other than tape that would work, but it depends on how deeply you want to jump down the rabbit hole.

Welcome to modifying your guitars. You'll be building them before you can blink. :thumb:

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