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Author Topic: should I drill my Martin or leave it to a pro?  (Read 3389 times)
sunburststrat
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« on: April 12, 2006, 08:33:38 PM »

I just put an Baggs M1 in my Martin (000-17S) soundhole yesterday and it sounds great.  I like this pickup more than the B-band in my Larrivee LV-03RE.  It is warm, mellow and quiet.  Of course I know the guitars are very different, nevertheless I like the Baggs.  So, about the endpin jack - should I drill or hire a pro to install? 

Are there any gottcha's I should be wary of, or do I simply remove the endpin, drill a larger hole and install the jack?

Also, anyone know a good source for a gold (colored) jack? The tuners on my Martin are gold.  Does Musicians' Friend carry this type of thing? I need to place an order from them anyway, but couldn't find it in a search there.

Bob
 
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2006, 08:46:33 PM »

I'm certainly a fan of DIY, but be sure you have a good high-powered drill.  Some of the battery-powered or 7.2 and 9.4 volt drills can get caught in that solid block of mahogany, causing slippage and finish damage - sure others disagree or have other opinions.
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« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2006, 08:54:48 PM »

You can certainly do it yourself if you are careful.  Get a good stepped drill bit that goes up to 1/2" (the size of the endpin).  Don't just try to use a 1/2 metal bit because it may get snagged and chip the finish or wood around the endpin hole.  I learned the hard way that it is best to have good, sharp bits and don't try to jump right up to 1/2" (luckily it wasn't a very nice guitar).  You can't really go wrong if you use a good stepped drill bit.  J
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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2006, 09:28:59 PM »

I'd let a pro do it.  Wouldn't cost much.  And unless you've ever drilled into a -tapered- hole before, you can't be sure what sort of kick-back you will get.  My .02.

E. Shoaf
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2006, 10:27:34 PM »

If you are going to drill you have two options:

1) Remove the endpin and use a tapered reamer, specially designed for the task. The reamer will slowly enlarge the hole with no chance of catching or running off center.

2) Leave the endpin in (if it is loose, glue it in place) and cut the strap head off, almost flush with the body. Drill a small pilot hole through the center of the endpin. Drill the correct size hole (15/32) using a forshner bit, for a nice clean hole. Use moderate force on the drill and don't pull it out of the hole until the drill has come to a complete stop.

If you are not 100% confident in completing the job cleanly, go to a pro.
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2006, 06:01:56 AM »

If you are going to do it yourself, get a 1/2" Forstner bit. It is worth it! I've done three Larrivees and two Yamahas with mine. Not a single problem.
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2006, 07:10:42 AM »

I'd let a pro do it.  Wouldn't cost much.  And unless you've ever drilled into a -tapered- hole before, you can't be sure what sort of kick-back you will get.  My .02.

E. Shoaf

Yes, I think I might call and get some quotes.  Gryphon (Palo Alto) has worked on this Martin before but they have a $40 minimum just to take it into the shop (keeps out the riff-raff I guess).  But still, better to pay that than damage the finish.  I hadn't thought about how big this hole was until "forstner" bit came up.  I was looking at those to countersink a lock the other day.  That looks like it could really tear up a finish.  But they do have a built in pilot drill in the center.

Bob
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2006, 04:53:24 PM »

Yes, I think I might call and get some quotes.  Gryphon (Palo Alto) has worked on this Martin before but they have a $40 minimum just to take it into the shop (keeps out the riff-raff I guess).  But still, better to pay that than damage the finish.  I hadn't thought about how big this hole was until "forstner" bit came up.  I was looking at those to countersink a lock the other day.  That looks like it could really tear up a finish.  But they do have a built in pilot drill in the center.

Bob


Because of the way the Forstner is designed, it cuts a perfect circle with a very sharp outside edge cutter and a centre point to keep it aligned. If you cover the finish with masking tape and go medium slow with the drill until you are through the finish, then you can speed up to get through the block. It worked perfectly on my L05.
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« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2006, 01:45:12 PM »

Do not use a drill to enlarge the hole. You will most likely chip the finish around the hole if you are lucky, or splinter the wood if you are not. As someone else said, use a tapered reamer.

Since this is a Larrivee forum, I'll point out that Larrivee endpin holes are already 1/2".

Jim
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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2006, 04:45:06 PM »

Do not use a drill to enlarge the hole. You will most likely chip the finish around the hole if you are lucky, or splinter the wood if you are not. As someone else said, use a tapered reamer.

Since this is a Larrivee forum, I'll point out that Larrivee endpin holes are already 1/2".

Jim

If the guitar already has a 1/2" hole, why would anyone want to drill a new one??  :huh:

Larrivee (at least the three I've purchased... L03, L03-12, L05) have no endpin jack hole unless they are purchased with electronics (eg. L03E). As I've said earlier, I have installed endpin jacks on five guitars (L03, L03-12, L05, Yamaha FG150, Yamaha FG720-12) with a Forstner bit and drill all without incident. Two of the guitars were gloss finished. A tapered reamer works too. However, I like the clean, cylindrical hole you get with a Forstner myself.

As always... YMMV (especially if you aren't good with tools!  :TON>)
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2006, 05:10:45 PM »

Since this is a Larrivee forum, I'll point out that Larrivee endpin holes are already 1/2".

Jim

This is only true of the newer (does anyone know when this started) guitars. My 2005 OM had the 1/2' hole predrilled and came with a removable endpin, making pickup installation very easy (and stress free!).
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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2006, 06:23:54 PM »

I think this may have only started in 2005.  Maybe the -03 series had them before, but the old rule was that the -05 and higher series had no holes in the end at all.  (This was the case with my 2001 D-09.)
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« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2006, 08:44:03 PM »

I called the shop.  Their min is $45 now!  A lot of money for a hole, but I know I'm being cheap.  It's the amateur handyman in me that says I can do this (ignoring all previous experience with my finish work!). 

After playing the Martin w/ M1 for two days I actually moved that mellow-sounding pickup to a very bright-sounding guitar and find it's a much better match.  The other guitar has no endpin at all, so I'm assuming it's a much better match for the forstner bit, given the pilot bit will now have something to sink into.  On the other hand the new guitar sporting the M1 is so expensive it is absolutely ridiculous for me to grumble about the "hole" fee.

I had never seen a tapered ("step") drill bit before.  That looks like a good approach with the Martin after removing the endpin.  The thing I don't get though is that the entire bit must be pushed through the block to get that 1/2" dia all the way through.  However, it doesn't look like the shaft of the bit is long enough to extend that far.  At least on the bit I found with google.

What Larrivee is currently doing (predrilling the endpin at 1/2") is very smart.  They're really anticipating their customer's (potential) future needs well.

Bob
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« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2006, 07:13:50 PM »

If your going to do it yourself with a drill.Step drill in increasingly larger drill bits until reach 1/2".A hand reamer is better but you still need to drill to use the reamer.Spend the dime and have it done by a pro,one slip and you'll hate yourself.
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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2006, 03:40:42 PM »

If the guitar already has a 1/2" hole, why would anyone want to drill a new one??  :huh:

Larrivee (at least the three I've purchased... L03, L03-12, L05) have no endpin jack hole unless they are purchased with electronics (eg. L03E). As I've said earlier, I have installed endpin jacks on five guitars (L03, L03-12, L05, Yamaha FG150, Yamaha FG720-12) with a Forstner bit and drill all without incident. Two of the guitars were gloss finished. A tapered reamer works too. However, I like the clean, cylindrical hole you get with a Forstner myself.

1. The original poster was talking about a Martin. They do not come with 1/2" holes. The endpin holes are smaller on Martins.

2. All the Larrivees you purchased DID come with an endpin jack hole. It was filled with the endpin.I have never seen an L03, L03-12 or L05 that came without an endpin. In fact, the only guitars I have ever seen without endpins are classical guitars.

3. You got lucky if you were able to enlarge a hole witha  Forstner bit without chipping the finish at the edge of the hole, you got lucky.  The purpose of a Forstner bit is to create a square bottom hole, not enlarge holes without chipping.

I like to follow the steps listed in this link from frets.com:

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Luthier/Technique/Guitar/Pickups/Matrix/matrix1.html

Jim
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« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2006, 03:43:15 PM »

What Larrivee is currently doing (predrilling the endpin at 1/2") is very smart.  They're really anticipating their customer's (potential) future needs well.

They are also making it easier on themselves. This way, they can drill all bodies the same and do not have to worry about which guitars will get electronics at that stpe of the manufacturing process. Martin, OTOH, has to track which guitars will have electronics and which will not when they drill the endpin hole.

Jim
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« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2006, 04:40:40 PM »

2. All the Larrivees you purchased DID come with an endpin jack hole. It was filled with the endpin.I have never seen an L03, L03-12 or L05 that came without an endpin. In fact, the only guitars I have ever seen without endpins are classical guitars.

Larrivee did not install factory endpins as standard until very recently.
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« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2006, 05:48:03 AM »


3. You got lucky if you were able to enlarge a hole witha  Forstner bit without chipping the finish at the edge of the hole, you got lucky.  The purpose of a Forstner bit is to create a square bottom hole, not enlarge holes without chipping.

I like to follow the steps listed in this link from frets.com:

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Luthier/Technique/Guitar/Pickups/Matrix/matrix1.html

Jim

OK, so to avoid confusion, I'm now installing a UST in a Seagull, but thought this discussion thread would still be relevant.
Here goes:

Just went to the hardware store to buy a step bit.  Don't really see how this could work, since the shaft is too short to extend the stepped drill "head"(?) through the end block.  So I bought a Forstner bit instead (before reading this post!).  Also bought a flexible thin-blade Japanese saw to cut off the end pin, as advised many posts ago.

I had to laugh when I got home, got out the Seagull and saw the metal endpin.  I unscrewed it and the screw-hole was tiny.  Tiny enough to still work as a pilot for the Forstner, without it wobbling all over the place.  Then I thought, 'how is that Forstner an advantage (in this situation) over a standard 1/2" wood bit?'  So I tape the spot, used a standard drill and it was so easy.  Stupid-easy really!  So much thinking about how to do it and what to buy, and I had the $2.99 tool in my garage all along.  Now I wouldn't use this approach on my Martin.  Having just read the link to Gryphon (my local shop, btw), I can see that a proper reamer (for guitars) is the way to go.  At least, I'll take their word for it.  They reset the neck on my Martin and you could not tell any work was done.

But for now, I've got the right hole in the Seagull and no scratches.  I probably got a little lucky with that one.  It has a satin finish anyway and the face was beat (bought it used), so I took the chance that it I wouldn't make the guitar much worse than it is.

Oh yeah, as a bonus, I get $24.99+tax back from OSH, since I don't need those tools.
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« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2006, 11:08:30 AM »

Glad to see that this worked out for you. One of the key determining factors to success in this type of operation  is confidence that you can do the job properly. You need to attack the job firmly, with confidence to get a nice clean result.

The proper tool doesn't hurt, either. TAS is another expensive affliction! :GRN>
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« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2006, 04:52:55 PM »

I'd leave it to a pro. I tried to install one on my Breedlove, figured it wouldn't be so bad as it already had a 1/4 hole all the way through and I could save the $25. Needless to say, the drill caught on the binding and messed up the finish all around the whole. Worst twenty five dollars I ever saved.

Andy
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