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Slotted Pegheads – Full Text

One of the problems with having a slotted peg head on your guitar is how to quickly and accurately drill the tuner holes on the side of the peg head and then remove material from the slotted area. Here is a jig from LMI that makes both of those operations a breeze. The first thing you need to do is cut out the shape of your peg head. This can be done by hand or with a router but this needs to be done first before using the jig. Next I place my tuners along the side of the peg head and mark where I want the tuner holes to be drilled. You can use a square to transfer this line to the opposite side on the back of the peg head. To set up the jig first remove the screw that holds the center hole locking pin in place. This will be the first to tuner hole we are going to drill and everything is going to index off of that. Next place the neck into the jig as I’m showing here. Then loosen the screws that secure the hold-down piece and place it on the back of the peghead. Tighten the screws to secure the peghead in place. As you tighten the screws the other side of the peghead will lift slightly. When that happens tighten the middle hold down screw. When placing the peghead into the jig make sure that the center line that you marked indicating the position of your tuners is aligned with the same line on the jig. This jig is designed to drill the appropriate size tuner holes for either classical or steel string guitar. Here I am showing the template for drilling classical tuner holes. For steel string tuners just swap out the template. I have clamped the jig and peghead to my workbench. This secures it as I work and it also brings the side that lifted slightly as I tightened the hold down screws back into contact with the jig. Now you can adjust the tuner hole template up or down so that you will drill the holes in the center of the peghead. Use the allen tool to adjust the set screws so that you have the same gap below the tuner hole bar as you do above the tuner hole bar when looking at the side of your peghead. After that, lock the bar in place with the screws as I’m showing here. I will be drilling the holes using a 13/32nd size drill bit. This is standard size for classical guitar tuners. If you’re drilling holes for still string tuners then you will want to use a six millimeter bit. To determine how deep to drill just place your tuners over the peghead and mark where the rollers end. Then place your drill bit over that. You can mark this depth on your drill bit using a piece of masking tape. With the correct depth clearly marked on my drill pit I begin by drilling the center hole. You may need to remove the bit of skosh while drilling to help eject the chips. Once the center hole is drilled reinsert the center pin and lock it in place with the set screw. You can now drill the other two tuner holes. Now that the holes are drilled you can unclamp the jig, turn it over, and use a router to remove the material where the rollers go. I’m going to be using a plunge router with a quarter inch spiral cut bit and either a 3/8 inch or 5/16 inch guide bushing. If you want a smaller opening then use the 3/8 inch guide bushing. Use the 5/16 one if you want a little larger opening. With the neck and jig clamped in my vise and using the proper safety equipment I place the router on the jig and plunge slightly into the area I want to remove. With the guide bushing up against the edges of the slot cut into the jig, just run the router around the edges of the template. Don’t try and cut the entire depth in one pass. You want to make several passes until you’re all the way through the peghead. When you are finished making the cut, make sure to either let the drill bit completely stop spinning or retract the bit back into the router housing before removing the router from the jig. This is what it looks like after the cut. It really is a quick and clean way of cutting out the tuner slot. Now on to the other side. I remove the set screw that secures the center locking pin. I then remove the pin and loosen the screws that are holding the peghead in the jig. I spin the neck around and place it back on the jig making sure to align the mark I drew earlier that indicates the correct position of my tuners with the line on the tuner hole bar. Then clamp the neck in place using the same method I showed earlier. With the neck secured in the jig and clamped to your workbench go ahead and drill the first tuner hole. Afterwards insert the center locking pin and secure it with the set screw. Now go ahead and drill the other two tuner holes. You may find that you drill into the other tuner holes you already drilled from the other side. If this happens, it’s okay. Now, with the jig and neck clamped in your vise, use your router to remove the material where the rollers go. Remember to take small bites plunging a little more after each pass. When finished, remove the jig from the vise. You now have drilled the tuner holes and cut off the slots in one simple, quick, and precise operation. It doesn’t get much better than that after removing the neck from the jig, insert the tuners and admire your work.