Post Number: 496
|Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 10:26 pm: |
Hey everybody -
I was just going to do a little work on one of my non-Alembics, and I thought I'd collect some input from the hive mind.
You guys know that I've got a big collection of instruments, including a lot of really exotic stuff. So, it might be a little surprising that my go-to bass for many years now is pretty pedestrian. It's a Modulus BassStar that's basically a P-bass clone with a Modulus graphite monocoque Jazz Bass neck and a single EMG P pickup. The body is "plain old wood" with Lake Placid Blue metallic paint and there's just volume and a passive tone knob. I love the way it sounds and feels, and I wasn't terrified to take it out until I realized that it was probably my #1 bass... It's fairly old (probably around 1979-80) and probably wasn't built at Modulus.
Anyway, because of the EMG, there's a 9V battery onboard, which was just crammed under the pots causing the pickguard to bulge up. I thought about routing a battery compartment in back, but didn't want to cut it up that much. I also thought about cutting a cavity on the front that would be hidden by the pickguard. But, after some measuring, I think it actually will work to deepen the control cavity rout a bit to create a little more room under the tone pot and jack, sort of where it's crammed in now.
While I'm in there, I will also fix some of the pickguard holes that cracked the body wood in the area of the bulge. In normal Fender style, some of the screw holes in that area are on little "peninsulas" of wood in the control cavity, and they've completely split over the years. So, I'll cut out the existing areas and glue in some new wood in it's place.
I still have to pull the pickguard to change the battery, so I decided I'd replace threaded inserts and machine screws where the wood screws are now, a la Alembic.
I found Mica's page on how they install threaded inserts (http://alembic.com/club/messages/16271/32492.html?1161211796) and have purchased the inserts and stainless oval head 4-40 screws for the project. The instructions are great, but before I start doing this, I was wondering about ways that I can minimize the chances of chipping the finish.
The threaded inserts are MUCH larger than the old wood screws, so I need to be very careful when increasing the size of the holes and getting all 17 of them right. On Alembics, the inserts are being inserted in areas that have finish, but the inserts are covered by plates when they're done. That's the case for my bass as well, but the pickguard doesn't extend all that far past the screw holes, so I really don't want to crack the finish. There's minimal danger from the drill bit tearout, but when screwing the insert into the wood, I'm concerned that that will put a lot of stress on the finish.
I definitely will do this with a new, sharp bit and I know that taping over the drill point helps keep things together. The safer way to do this is to hold a piece of wood down on the surface and drill through it first, but I don't think this is going to work for me since I'm not drilling a new hole, but finding an existing one.
Any suggestions are appreciated!
Post Number: 1241
|Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 10:59 pm: |
Have you thought about using a block or plate that's been predrilled ? .... lining it up to the existing hole.
Fine project David (gotta love threaded inserts), I really enjoy my BassStar fretless J-bass.
Post Number: 1617
|Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 10:22 am: |
david..I would go with elwoodblue, make a jig with a hole the same size as the insert, this is your guide, clamp it firmly over the finish to prevent it lifting.
Ideally if you have access to a pedestal drill with a very high speed, that way the hole will truly be vertical, there is always a chance that there will angulation if you use a hand drill.
By the way did you check out my back plate I made in the 'Alembic basses...' section.
Post Number: 497
|Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 4:12 pm: |
Thanks to both of you for the suggestions. I had considered using a predrilled block of thick plexiglass as a drill guide, but securing so it's firmly on the surface is pretty challenging - many holes, many near the curved edges of the body. The guide would help make sure the hole is straight too, as I don't have a drill press.
Maybe this isn't a good idea - there's only 1/4" between the pickguard holes and the edge of the pickguard, so for the 3/16" insert hole, there's only 1/8" clearance maximum...
Post Number: 2819
|Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 11:16 pm: |
Perhaps an option to get a new pickguard, with no holes pre-drilled. Install the inserts with a reasonable margin of comfort, then drill the holes in the pickguard to match.
If you can't find a hole-less pickguard, you could follow terryc's example and construct one out of a couple of wood veneers.
Post Number: 2820
|Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 11:26 pm: |
... and perhaps reduce the number of screws. Surely one does not need 17 of them to hold down a measly scratchplate!
Post Number: 1619
|Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 3:22 pm: |
adriaan..I agree 17 is just overkill