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  1. #1

    How to drill Bridge and tailpiece studs holes without a drill press?

    Good day! Very new to the forums and I'm excited to learn more on restoring my 1998 Burny LG480.

    I've recently gotten back into playing the Guitar and I managed to get me a deal on a Burny LG480 for $150. Neck feels amazing and the vintage Gotoh tuners still turn buttery smooth. Sadly, the bridge that came with the guitar has caved in and the tailpiece was installed incorrectly and one of the tailpiece stud holes is very damaged. For now I've managed to find a drop-in replacement for the bridge and tailpiece but I do plan on repainting the body so i can fix all the dents w/ some wood filler.

    The original bridge on this was an ABR-1 style Gotoh GE103B that's directly connected to the body, but because of the bad bridge and tailpiece the screws/studs have bent over forward. I couldn't get the tailpiece low enough so I had to top wrap my strings. the Tailpiece is a Gotoh 510Fa but the studs are crazy undersized. According to Gotoh's site they should be 11mm in diameter but when I measured them they were only 6mm. there's also a large gouge on the body besides one stud that desperately needs filling.

    I plan to plug the holes with dowels and re-drill the holes. I've managed to find the right drill bit size (11mm or 7/16") and I've found a temporary bridge and tailpiece set. My problem now is making sure I drill the holes leveled since I don't have access to a drill press. All of the videos and references I've read are guides for flat surfaces so I'm a bit lost on how I'm gonna do it on a curved top.

    Sorry for the long write up, looking forward to your answers!

    Cheers!

  2. #2

    Re: How to drill Bridge and tailpiece studs holes without a drill press?

    The right way to do it is with a drill press. You are messing with the most critical holes in your guitar, and even a small mistake will have a noticeable effect. That being said, if I had no choice and if I was unable to take it to a guitar tech, I would do it with a rotary tool with plunge router attachment. This would require some creative clamping and very careful jigging. Have you tried looking for local luthier who would do the job? OR maybe a local business that would do the drilling for you?

  3. #3

    Re: How to drill Bridge and tailpiece studs holes without a drill press?

    Plunge router?

    I’d use a drill press if possible. But you can do it with a hand drill.
    You can buy a cheap drill guide that’ll help you make straight/perpendicular holes.

    Just be careful and practice on a chunk of 2x4 or something.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member renderit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    9,343

    Re: How to drill Bridge and tailpiece studs holes without a drill press?

    You can get a cheap drill press for peanuts. Do it right. Or find somebody who can.

    I am reminded of my friend Bif who wanted a Guiness but drank a Pepsi instead.

    He was not happy.

    Coke would have been a better choice.

    I also have no idea why I remembered that...


  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Weston super mare , engalnd
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    100

    Re: How to drill Bridge and tailpiece studs holes without a drill press?

    You can a) drill the holes from the back straight through to the front of the guitar using one of the ways you've seen for flat top guitars, b) rip the maple cap off and drill through the back of the maple using method a) and glue it back on. (c) just close your eyes and go for it praying the god of bodgit is with you or (d) FIND A DRILLPRESS im betting someone your friends with on Facebook has or knows someone who has one , Facebook or Freakbook as i like to call it has its uses like that

  6. #6

    Re: How to drill Bridge and tailpiece studs holes without a drill press?

    I believe Harbor Freight has a 30 day return policy

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    820

    Re: How to drill Bridge and tailpiece studs holes without a drill press?

    Fill the ratted out holes with dowel. Drill a pilot hole first before drilling the new bridge post holes.
    The side to side measurements need to be more accurate than the scale length measurement. Designing a template would increase accuracy.
    See if you can mount the bridge and posts on a 2x4 first

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member darkwave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    301

    Re: How to drill Bridge and tailpiece studs holes without a drill press?

    If you have some decent methods for drilling square to a flat surface I'd suggest you build a "bridge" that spans over your arched top (with an oversized hole in the middle). That would give you a flat and square reference and then you can just drill into your guitar top through the oversized hole in the "bridge" you built. Look at the boxes that others build around bodies while they are routing neck pockets and guide passes for a proper carved top and you should get the idea.

    That said, if you don't have a drill press, you might not be set up to do this either. Good luck, learning to smartly improvise is an important skill when you are starting out with limited tools...

    -Douglas C.

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