In the previous installment I showed you a bass guitar whose screws were so rusted there was no way to extract them. Since it was a very cheap instrument, I decided to keep the remains of the screws in it and drill new holes beside them. To do so, I moved the pickguard 4 mm towards the bridge and found out I now had to adjust the cavity where the pickup sits.
Once again, the pickup mounting screws were so rusted they broke their heads off. At least this time I had a little bit of useable metal, so I extracted them with the good ol’ Vice-grip.
In the picture you can see the marks I made to guide the router. It can also be seen how the body is made out of plywood. Not the best tonewood, but that’s not the point of this bass: it’s all about providing a low-cost instrument for a beginner.
To adjust the cavity, I used my Dremel 400 series with the 335 routing attachment, coupled to a #115 tool. The best move would have been to go to the hardware store and get the #654, but I was in a hurry and started to work with the one I had.
Since the #115 tool was somewhat slow, I applied myself a bit more to make a quicker cut. BIG MISTAKE! I just managed to burn the plywood, as it can be seen in the picture. That’s what I got for not having the right tool for the job. Grrr…
Once the routing was done I placed the pickguard to make the pilot holes for the new screws. The blue masking tape is a low-tack type, so it doesn’t leave sticky residues on the finish.
For the pilot holes I needed a 3/64″ drill bit. This time I already had the right tools for the job: the Dremel # 628 drill bit set, along with the 4485 smaller collet set.
Oh, the joy of using proper tools! In less than a minute I had all the holes ready and started to screw in the new ones. And then I found out their heads were bigger than the original ones, so they stood a little proud. To make them flush I used the grinding tool Dremel 952 at medium speed. The pickguard is so soft that it only needed a little touch to get a nice shape. The result is very pleasing to the eye:
After that, I went to the bridge and did the same trick: drilling new holes beside the rusty old screws. You can see the cords I used to set the bridge alignment. Since the lowest string is much thicker than the rest, the bridge has to be mounted slightly off-centered; otherwise the 4th string could be too close to the edge of the fretboard. Everything has a secret!
In the next installment I’ll show you the other smaller things needed to wrap up the work, such as the electronics overhaul.