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Routing pickup cavity on high gloss finish bass


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Hello! I have an Ibanez Soundgear Gio p-bass and I'm considering replacing the pickups and adding an extra j-bass bridge pickup. The problem is that it has a black high gloss laquer finish (I don't know exactly which type of laquer).

Is it possible to route a pickup cavity without lifting the laquer and damaging the finish? And do I need to add some kind of laquer to the inside of the cavity to protect the edges? I've heard that when you're drilling a hole through a laquer finish you should start by going backwards to prevent the drill bit from lifting the laquer. Does this somehow apply when routing too?

Thank you!

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How to? Answer: Very, very careful!

You've heard right, drilling backwards can be more gentle.

This is just my logical thinking, take it with a pinch of salt: Before routing, cut the outlines with a sharp knife through the lacquer. Rather multiple shallower passes than one forceful to prevent cracking. Cover the entire area with masking tape before drawing and cutting the outline. Removing the lacquer from the area to be routed may also help. Then use a forstner bit to drill out most of the material. And then carefully route what's left. Before removing the masking tape you may also want to protect the routed edge with either lacquer or super glue. When removing the tape try to work towards the new cavity.

And be prepared for a major disaster.

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kind of surprised no one mentioned putting tape on the finish before routing.  I would think that if you combined all three advices: cut along the outline with a razor, masking tape the area, use a router and pass so shallow it hardly breaks the gloss - then another pass... you could hardly miss.

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10 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

kind of surprised no one mentioned putting tape on the finish before routing.

 

1 hour ago, Bizman62 said:

Cover the entire area with masking tape before drawing and cutting the outline.

I'll have to learn better English in order to be understood.

  • Haha 1
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the cheapest thing to practice on is going to be particle board... easily acquired at local hardware store.  In fact... I would def recommend you practive by building a template that mirrors your guitars shape... that way, once you get it perfect on the template, all you have to do is put it on the guitar and it will guarantee success afa centering.

just a thought.

 

edit: barring that - craigslist is where I'd look for guitar projects.

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2 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

the cheapest thing to practice on is going to be particle board... easily acquired at local hardware store.  In fact... I would def recommend you practive by building a template that mirrors your guitars shape... that way, once you get it perfect on the template, all you have to do is put it on the guitar and it will guarantee success afa centering.

just a thought.

 

edit: barring that - craigslist is where I'd look for guitar projects.

You're correct! But the thing I'm most worried about is the laquer finish, so I'd prefer to have something with a similar finish to practice on. I'm probably going to buy some plastic routing templates to get the shape right.

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11 minutes ago, Antonfage said:

You're correct! But the thing I'm most worried about is the laquer finish, so I'd prefer to have something with a similar finish to practice on. I'm probably going to buy some plastic routing templates to get the shape right.

fair enough and probably a good plan.  craigslist and offerup would be my best guess.  every now and then someone posts a dirt cheap guitar there.  I bought a dillion prs copy for $25 there once... no hardware, but a solid maple body and neck.  Those kind of deals are a bit few and far between but that's where I'd look for them.

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10 hours ago, Antonfage said:

I'd prefer to have something with a similar finish to practice on.

How about a table top? I suppose there'd be tons of cheap shiny living room tables made out of MDF in second hand or furniture shops. For practicing purposes a missing leg or some cigarette and beer bottle marks won't matter so the price tag might even say "free" if you check the backyards of said shops.

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