Pilot Holes Necessary for Tuners?

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I'm replacing the tuners on a guitar with a totally different style of tuner and the screw that holds them in is in a totally different place.

Is it necessary to drill pilot holes for the screws or can I just screw the screws in to the wood?

I'm sure I remember doing it the latter way before but I may have just been lucky so don't want to take a risk if it could cause a problem.
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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 875
    Definitely go with drilling the pilot holes, and also a bit of soap on the screw thread.
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  • paulnb57paulnb57 Frets: 1145
    Yes! As above! Under no circumstances screw in direct, a broken screw is a world of pain compared to drilling pilot holes, I drill my pilot holes about a 1/4mm less than the size of the screw, good advice to lube the screw too......
    Stranger from another planet welcome to our hole - Just strap on your guitar and we'll play some rock 'n' roll

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  • WezVWezV Frets: 8883
    edited July 8
    Yes 

    it’s very unlikely you would get all 6 in without one snapping or stripping the head.  Then you have a much bigger job on your hands.

    Some will have done it without drilling and got away with it ( me included, many years ago) Just remember you need to be lucky at least 6 times to get through it.

    also, many modern screws appear to be made from cheese.... they need as much help as they can get
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3230
    If you are concerned about appearances, a straight edge will come in handy.

    On most machineheads, the locator screw holes in the metal are slightly wider than the screws that will pass through them. Unless you have a jig to precisely position all of the screw holes, it may prove easier to use the 'heads themselves to establish the screw positions.

    Fit the 'heads to hand tightness. Align them using the straight edge. Nip them up, THEN make the pilot holes.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • sawyersawyer Frets: 184
    I've pilot drilled for a string tree and the 5hitty screw still snapped. Huge pain in the behind. So definately yes to pilot and lube.
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 840
    Thanks for the advice.

    Not sure I've ever drilled anything as small as that before, might need to rope my dad in as a supervisor on this one lol
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32133
    In maple, under no circumstances try to do it without drilling. In mahogany you might get away with it, but I still wouldn't try.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 840
    ICBM said:
    In maple, under no circumstances try to do it without drilling. In mahogany you might get away with it, but I still wouldn't try.
    Cheers. It is mahogany but I'm not going to risk it, taking the weane to visit my dad later, he's going to help me do the pilot holes
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  • stevebrumstevebrum Frets: 4057
    A hobbyist hand drill is ideal for this - that’s the great advice I received on here when undertaking a similar task. 
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 840
    stevebrum said:
    A hobbyist hand drill is ideal for this - that’s the great advice I received on here when undertaking a similar task. 
    Hand drill was actually the first thing my dad said too, thanks :)
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32133
    And remember to mark the drill bit with some tape, to the exact length of the screw shaft below the head, *less* the thickness of the machinehead tab. You don't want to drill any deeper than you have to.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 840
    ICBM said:
    And remember to mark the drill bit with some tape, to the exact length of the screw shaft below the head, *less* the thickness of the machinehead tab. You don't want to drill any deeper than you have to.
    Cheers. Got them on now, was easier than I was expecting after taking all the advice on board.
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  • KalimnaKalimna Frets: 442
    Yes, as others say, drill pilot holes. I discovered this the hard way putting tunes into a rosewood neck. Whilst i’m glad of the learning experience of both removing a snapped screw and then attempting to camouflage the mistake, it’s much easier to just drill a small hole first.
    And lube the thread - soap, candle wax, polishing wax, whatever.

    Adam

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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1796
    Also, don't try and fit tuners with wider bushes without reaming out the hole first, especially not on a maple Telecaster headstock.
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 840
    Kalimna said:
    Yes, as others say, drill pilot holes. I discovered this the hard way putting tunes into a rosewood neck. Whilst i’m glad of the learning experience of both removing a snapped screw and then attempting to camouflage the mistake, it’s much easier to just drill a small hole first.
    And lube the thread - soap, candle wax, polishing wax, whatever.

    Uh oh, just realised I forgot about the lube - thankfully the screws went in fine. Will need to remember for next time!


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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 840
    Also, don't try and fit tuners with wider bushes without reaming out the hole first, especially not on a maple Telecaster headstock.
    Was surprised to find the tuner holes were exactly the same size despite the tuners being totally different (swapping out the vintage-looking green plastic ones for modern style Schallers).
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  • TheGuitarWeaselTheGuitarWeasel Frets: 3650
    Kalimna said:
    Yes, as others say, drill pilot holes. I discovered this the hard way putting tunes into a rosewood neck. Whilst i’m glad of the learning experience of both removing a snapped screw and then attempting to camouflage the mistake, it’s much easier to just drill a small hole first.
    And lube the thread - soap, candle wax, polishing wax, whatever.

    Adam

    When a bar of soap gets too small to be viable in the bathroom it migrates to my workshop ... so many little jobs it's useful for. In pickup building I use it to lube the threads of pole screws before installing (especially with butyrate bobbins as they can crack) ... and of course machine head screws, and scratch plate screws ... my machine head technique is to moisten the screw threads and rub a little dry soap on them ... means it doesn't go everywhere.
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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