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Soapbar into a Tele neck

Onioner

Member
Messages
2,860
I've got a Blacktop Baritone here. I want to put a soapbar in the neck. The route is plenty big enough. I just need to cut the guard, and mount the P90s.

Cutting the guard I'll figure out, one way or another, but I'm happy to hear any suggestions on how a guy with limited tools can best cut that plastic.

Mounting the soapbars should be easy too. I just need two holes, right? My 50's Tribute LP has metal mounting plates at the bottom of the route to hold it. That seems ideal, but I have no idea where to buy those. My Agile just goes directly into the wood.

If drilling two holes is indeed the way to go, anyone know what size bit, and how deep to drill?
 

tikabear

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
407
The best way is to just buy a PG Routed for a P90 but a Dremel or some other brand of roto tool is best for this; if you don't have access to a router. I did a 'bucker route on a G&L Legacy for a guy about a week ago with my Dremel. I used another pickguard with a 'bucker route for a template along with the new pickup itself. Cut less than you think you need to and test fit often. This way you can be sure everything is straight and then clean the edges up with sandpaper. If you don't have a Dremel or can't borrow one, you might be able to get by with a drill and a grinding bit but it won't look as pretty because it's not precise.

Some P90's mount just like other pickups using 2 screw holes on either side of the route in the PG. This is my preference. Place the pickup in it's slot and use something to go through the screwholes to mark the guard from the back. Choose a bit the same size as the mounting screws in this case. Mount the pickup in it's route not forgetting to install the springs.

If this isn't the mounting option you have just mount them into the wood. I can't tell you the size bit, but use one slightly smaller than the diameter of the screws. Those screws are long because the go through the pickup and into the body. "Test fit" the new pickup in the route. Insert a screw into one of the mounting holes. It will stop at the bottom of the route. Measure how much of the screw sticks out above the pickup and write it down. This measurement will be the deepest you will need to go into the body. Measure this distance from the tip of the bit and use masking tape wrapped around the bit as your marker. Stop drilling when the bit goes in up to where the tape starts. Before you drill at all, measure the distance from the head of the screw to the tip while it's in the pickup then measure the width of the body. Hopefully the first measurement will be less. If not, you should be OK because the pickup is going to stick out a bit above the top. Don't forget to install the springs over the screws before you install the pickup and it's also a good idea to scrape the threads over a candle since the wax acts as a lubricant.

Good luck! I've often thought about trying a P90 in my tele.
 

Onioner

Member
Messages
2,860
Thanks for chiming in. Efforts have been made, and, well...

The best way is to just buy a PG Routed for a P90...
Which is what's gonna actually happen...

but a Dremel or some other brand of roto tool is best for this; if you don't have access to a router.
I read this and thought "aha! That will work!." Sadly, my complete PoS Dremel was not up to the task. This is the first time I've used it, and I've been doubtful it would work since it showed up (I didn't buy it, since I'd rather spend more than $20 on a tool and get something that isn't a complete PoS). Anyways, I tried it, and the damn thing couldn't handle a thin piece of plastic. Ended up trying to force it to work, and it didn't, so I mangled my pickguard...

I've also decided that the route is a bit too deep to mount the pups directly into the guitar. There's probably enough clearance, but instead of pushing it, I'm just gonna glue in a little block of wood. Seems the safer option, rather than risk either not drilling deep enough, or god forbid, drilling right through the body...

Good luck! I've often thought about trying a P90 in my tele.
Heck yeah. I've been thinking about it for a while. I love the Tele neck pup, and I love P90s in the neck of a LP. I think it's gonna work real well with the long scale of the baritone.
 

NoahL

Member
Messages
1,423
Just a couple thoughts here -- although I think it's wise you just bought the pre-cut pickguard. Freehanding with a Dremel is dicey. It's so easy to go to far, because it's almost like the resistance of the material is "audio taper" rather than "linear," as it were: all of a sudden the Dremel will start cutting faster than it was. Probably just my bad dexterity, which carries over to my playing, but you get my point. You can always invest in a plexiglass template and router bit if you think you might be doing this often in the future. Anyway, I decided the next time I wanted to use my Dremel, I'd find a small piece of steel maybe 5 inches long and 1 inch wide and tape it securely to the pickguard exactly wherever I was Dremeling a straight line. Then I could let the bit slide along the metal without fear of overcutting. Sort of a poor-man's template.

The other thought: Sometimes people will use a piece of dense foam under a pickup that screws directly into the body, or springs. I suspect you might get a slightly different tone from these than from a solid wood shim. EVH's bridge humbucker and GE Smith's Tele bridge pickup are screwed right in, and folks say it affects the tone. Might be a fun experiment for you.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
34,687
Dremel in plastic..you have to have the router attachment and create a jig to cut a straight line as N^ says.
Any Dremel equivalent should be up to the task.
A rout in a pickguard is a pretty soft task.
 

sollophonic

Member
Messages
77
I had a P90 in my Tele for a while, sounded pretty sweet, I didn't keep it in as I go hold of a set of Lawrence Microcoils.



Its a simple mod to do, I cut my own pickguard but you can get hold of pre-cut ones.

With a P90 (or any Tele to be honest) you just have to try a 4 way switch. The sound of a P90 plus a Tele bridge pickup in series is huge, you could eat your dinner off it!!!
 






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