I would like to customize my squier '51 with a jaguar/jazzmaster tremolo tailpiece and a mustang bridge (in lieu of a ****ty jaguar one). Both of these require cutting out the solid body of the '51. I have to make holes in the body to fit the mustang bridge due to the pegs on the under side of the bridge. The tremolo tailpiece calls for a rectangular well to be carved into the solid body that's roughly the size of a humbucker well give or take a couple inches or whatever. I would like any advice on how to cut into a solid body electric guitar cleanly ensuring that I don't seriously f*** up the areas where I don't want holes or scratches or visible damage. Any advice or help will be appreciated.
I would have though that any attempt you make cut cut into your guitar would damge the finish around the outside. Maybe only a few little chips but it would ruin the look of it
You just use a razor blade to score the edge of the finish all the way through. I did this when I cut the neck humbucker route into my black '51.

Next you cover every part you want to keep with masking tape. This helps hold the finish in place and prevents you from slipping and F'ing it up.

The basswood they're made of cuts pretty easily. I didn't have a router (which is the best way) so I used a drill bit and drilled tons of holes down to the same length (taped off the bit so I could monitor my depth)

Once I drilled out 95% of the material with the big drill bit, I switched to smaller one. At this point it would be best to use a chisel, but again I didn't have the proper tool... so I ended up snapping a drill bit and put a scratch in my finish just past the end of my masking tape. Luckily the guitar is black, so I colored it in and nobody has ever noticed it.

Seriously though, the ideal way to do this is to make a template out of MDF or fiberboard or something. Cut it out and sand it to perfect shape. Stick it on the body where it needs to go with two-sided tape. Use a router or laminate trimmer with an end mill bit and some sort of guide (be it a template guide on the router, or a bit with a bearing guide)

Take a little at a time on each pass, maybe an 1/8th inch. Repeat process until the hole is deep enough.

You can finish the edges with some thin super glue (cyano acrylate) and it will seep into the wood to hold the paint down. I didn't have any issues with my '51 keeping the paint down. They did a good job of adhering it... so you could skip this step.
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