Questions regarding bridge thimble holes

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adamrobertt
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Questions regarding bridge thimble holes

Post by adamrobertt » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:38 pm

I'm planning a JM project and I might end up using a Guitarfetish body... only issue is that they come without bridge holes pre-drilled. I'm a pretty handy guy and I've built partscasters before, but I've never done this kind of thing.

1) Do I absolutely have to use a drill press? Obviously that would be ideal but I don't own one and I don't plan on buying one just to drill two holes. If I measure carefully and drill very carefully can it be done without one?

2) What kind of bit should I use? Forstner? Brad point?

3) Is there a pre-set bit size or should I just measure my thimbles when I get them?

4) Is the pickguard enough to make marks to place the hole locations? IE I'd fit the guard, screw it down as it is meant to fit, and then mark the holes using the guard as a template?

Thanks!

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Danley
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Re: Questions regarding bridge thimble holes

Post by Danley » Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:22 pm

Drill press - Yes. Or compromise with a stack of wood where you’ve measured/drilled holes in the same location, but this is dodgy

Bit type - Jesus, I never paid attention but ought to have

Size - I measured. Sure someone can say off the bat though

Pickguard as guide - maybe. Pickguards can be imprecise from model to model, ex I think placement slightly differs between MIJ, vintage, Allparts etc. I’d double up by diagraming it out on the body of the guitar so you don’t wind up with strings in weird places; pickguard fit is necessary but secondary to it not playing like shit
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Re: Questions regarding bridge thimble holes

Post by ThePearDream » Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:03 pm

Fender part # 0054447049 bridge thimbles are 8.97mm diameter. I use a 9mm brad point bit and the thimbles fit perfectly. Use a drill press if at all possible.

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timtam
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Re: Questions regarding bridge thimble holes

Post by timtam » Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:05 pm

There are a number of styles of drill guide if you can't access a drill press ...

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parry
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Re: Questions regarding bridge thimble holes

Post by parry » Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:08 pm

timtam wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:05 pm
There are a number of styles of drill guide if you can't access a drill press ...

Image
Image
Image
Damn it!
I'm kind of wishing I knew about these before I bought my drill press :squint:
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adamrobertt
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Re: Questions regarding bridge thimble holes

Post by adamrobertt » Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:12 pm

Oh. Shit. Mind linking me to a few of those? Do they work?

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Re: Questions regarding bridge thimble holes

Post by JVG » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:25 pm

Regarding question 4, I would NOT rely on the pickguard as a guide. The reason being that the bridge hole positions need to be fairly precise, or you’ll end up with alignment problems, and pickguards are rarely a perfect fit. Sure, the neck can usually be wiggled a bit to accommodate for holes being a little bit off, but not by much. So, i would advise bolting the neck on the guitar, and using that (perhaps with the pickguard as well) to find your centre line, then the mark post positions.

Cheers!
J.

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Re: Questions regarding bridge thimble holes

Post by timtam » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:08 am

adamrobertt wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:12 pm
Oh. Shit. Mind linking me to a few of those? Do they work?
Yeah they work. Even with a drill press they can be useful if the work is too far across the body that it won't fit on a drill press.

The disadvantages include that you obviously need the exact right size for your desired drill bit (there are metric and imperial guides, in various sizes), that they may need to be clamped (you may need a long welders clamp), and that when clamped they can mark the body if you're not careful to protect it ...
Image

Here's a few choices ...
https://www.ebay.com/itm/3X-6-8-10mm-Wo ... 2343755047
https://www.ebay.com/itm/90-Degree-Dril ... 3815299244
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Woodworking-An ... 3207936691
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Drill-Guide-Do ... 2753758029
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Milescraft-131 ... 2739729888
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Wolfcraft-Mobi ... 2311206963
Gator are probably the best known, but a little more expensive ...
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R ... e%22+gator

There's lots of YT videos on other ways to ensure a straight hole with various makeshift techniques, some nutty but some sensible ... eg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF8-JMMX_Wk
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adamrobertt
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Re: Questions regarding bridge thimble holes

Post by adamrobertt » Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:21 am

Sweet, thanks!

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