Saturday, 12 February 2011

Battery compartment for EMG's

This is most definitely a ROCK guitar- it's a Dean Dime-o-Flage.
 The owner has decided to swap the stock pickups for EMG's and has gone for the classic 81,85 combination. 

He's going for the 18 volt option which gives the pickups a little more headroom He's fitted the pickups himself and intends to wire in the EMG pots etc. but has a slight problem:

There's no space for one battery let alone two. So he's brought the guitar to me to route a cavity and to fit a battery compartment.
 We're limited as to where it can go. The guitar has a narrow waist and the pickup cavities have been routed from the other side - I don't want to route through to one of those. I need to be able to drill a hole from the new cavity to an existing one to run the wires. We decided to put it just above the string anchor points.

Routing is not a job for the faint hearted  - if you've never used one and fancy giving it a go - get some tuition. I used to tell my students "no one ever had a minor accident with a router", not strictly true but it focused their minds.
 I'm using my 1/2" shank Makita router for this job.

 I'm using a 1/4" cutter and a 10mm guide bush to follow the template. My template is cut 2mm oversized to allow for the difference in size between the cutter and the guide bush.

 The template is made from 6mm clear plexiglass, it's hard wearing and being able to see through it helps with positioning it accurately.

I first route a test run on a piece of scrap to make sure it will be the right size for the new battery box. You can see I've used this piece of scrap before.

Routing is noisy and dusty and there can be flying chips - I never take any chances.

 I put masking tape over the area and mark the exact location on it. I align the template and clamp it in place.

 I check it after the first pass - all looks good. Then it's a case of gradually increasing the depth down to 33mm in this case. This guitar body is made of basswood so it's easy going for the router. I'm quite a fan of the loose, open sound of softer hardwoods like basswood and alder and of course they are kinder on the tools.

It's a big hole.

Here's the finished battery compartment. I've drilled a hole through to the control cavity and fed the wires through. The rest is up to him.