Jay Scott Guitar

Private guitar and bass lessons, jam camps, guitar building and repairs in West Chester, PA

Guitar Building: Bigsby Tele With Humbuckers, Part 5

In which I solve a small problem: I wanted to install my completed wiring assembly, with the jack. When I tried to fit the jack, screwed into its Electrosocket, into the hole in the side of the guitar, it didn’t fit. Much swearing followed. I found my shop ruler and measured the hole, which turned out to be a sixteenth of an inch narrower than it should be. I needed a hole 7/8″ in diameter, and I didn’t have it.

So, I’ve drilled these holes before, and the right bit for the job is a Forstner, a fearsome-looking thing with teeth and points that is actually very easy to use, even in a hand drill. You mark the hole’s location with something sharp like an awl, and the center point of the bit goes into that mark. You have to hold the drill reasonably straight, but the bit basically guides itself, and drills a beautiful, smooth-sided hole, right where you want it.

What a Forstner won’t do is enlarge an existing hole. If I’d tried that, the bit could have gone anywhere, and would definitely have torn up the side of the guitar. Not cool; more swearing. Finally it occurred to me to fill the hole with wood, mark its center, and drill a new hole. I found a stub of 3/4″ dowel, and built it up by wrapping it with masking tape. When it was almost too big to fit, I tapped it into the hole with a mallet, marked the center, fired up the drill, and got a perfect hole. I was definitely holding my breath, but it worked great, and didn’t damage my finish at all. I felt kind of proud of myself!