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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wood Wood stain Hardwood Table Plywood
I've been sitting here in my garage since 5:30am, drill in hand, trying to decide whether to go for it or not :) I have a Martin OM-21 Special that I'd like to install an LR Baggs M1 Active pickup in but, like most pickups, I'd need to drill a 1/2" hole where the endpin is. I've watched several videos, read several forums, and I know that I should put masking tape over the spot where I'm drilling so I don't mangle the area around the freshly-drilled hole, but I sweatin'... Haha.

I do NOT do most of my own guitar maintenance. I change strings, can swap out tuners--basic stuff--so is this something best left to a pro or should I just go for it?

Thanks.
 

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That’s a tough one. I’d be leery of doing it myself, with the possibility of marring that beautiful guitar. I’ve read that you can start drilling with the drill in reverse to help avoid tear-out when expanding tuner holes, but I’m not sure if that would work here, or even it would be necessary.
 

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I used a 1/2 inch step drill and it was a simple process on 3 Martins and 1 other guitar that was not as expensive.

Also held a small vacuum cleaner hose inside the guitar and up against the end block so it would suck up the drill shavings inside the guitar. That worked well.

Use a variable speed drill for more control.

Its really easy to do but if you have doubts then sometimes thats when things fuck up.

You can get the step drill at CT.
 

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I just did this on my HD 28 last year. I get the drill anxiety.

Even better is to buy a $10 stepped hand-reamer (home depot, etc), and even add a drop of dish soap when you start to feel resistance. Regardless of the drill, a second human being is recommended...someone to hold the guitar body flat down on a protected surface. If you really have ants in your pants and want to do it asap, use the electric drill in reverse, as mentioned above. I would never use a torque (electric) drill on mine, but I would on yours ; )

I wish I could send photos, but another tip is regarding the new Baggs endpin threads in your (hopefully circular!) hole; the threads are installed from inside the guitar body, and the goal is to have the perfect amount of thread sticking out, so that you can snug (but not torque) the new end pin cap. If you leave too much thread, it flops and will remove wood over time. If you leave too little thread and try to compensate by torquing, you will crush or crack the finish/wood.

So...old-timey trick: once the new, clean hole is drilled, stick a finger inside the guitar (oooh! Yeah!) to block the hole. Then, use an old guitar string as a measuring tool, and bend it (from the TAPED outside) to mark the perfect measurement. Transfer that measurement to the new Baggs thread by adjusting the nut, star and flat washer assembly until the remaining thread matches your bent string length. It is much easier to pre-determine thread length before install than to fiddle with it inside the guitar body. And, well...SCIENCE!

If you lived closer, I'd give you my hand tool...the electric drill makes me sweat bullets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I just did this on my HD 28 last year. I get the drill anxiety.

Even better is to buy a $10 stepped hand-reamer (home depot, etc), and even add a drop of dish soap when you start to feel resistance. Regardless of the drill, a second human being is recommended...someone to hold the guitar body flat down on a protected surface. If you really have ants in your pants and want to do it asap, use the electric drill in reverse, as mentioned above. I would never use a torque (electric) drill on mine, but I would on yours ; )

I wish I could send photos, but another tip is regarding the new Baggs endpin threads in your (hopefully circular!) hole; the threads are installed from inside the guitar body, and the goal is to have the perfect amount of thread sticking out, so that you can snug (but not torque) the new end pin cap. If you leave too much thread, it flops and will remove wood over time. If you leave too little thread and try to compensate by torquing, you will crush or crack the finish/wood.

So...old-timey trick: once the new, clean hole is drilled, stick a finger inside the guitar (oooh! Yeah!) to block the hole. Then, use an old guitar string as a measuring tool, and bend it (from the TAPED outside) to mark the perfect measurement. Transfer that measurement to the new Baggs thread by adjusting the nut, star and flat washer assembly until the remaining thread matches your bent string length. It is much easier to pre-determine thread length before install than to fiddle with it inside the guitar body. And, well...SCIENCE!

If you lived closer, I'd give you my hand tool...the electric drill makes me sweat bullets.
Thanks for all the great info. I really appreciate all the pointers!
 

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Before you drill you should ask yourself whether you really want the pickup permanently in your guitar...once you drill the hole and decide to remove the pickup at a later date.it will be difficult to find and endpin with a 1/2 ince diameter.
 

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Masking tape on the outside gives just a bit more resistance to tearing the wood fibres apart.

If it was a new hole I'd say consider a forstner bit, spade, or one of those with the fine point in the middle and wings on the perimeter, Brad Point or W I think they're called.

For enlarging existing hole the stepped bit suggestion is a good one. Reg wood bit on slow speed safe enough if you trust yourself ( practise on scrap). Safest is to use a tapered reamer or even a round/tapered file and take yer time.

Depending on the specific bit you have ( the center point/locator; some are bigger than others) a Forstner ( sometimes no center point) or spade might work well for enlarging; try it out on scrap first. Again slow speed, at least to start.
 
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