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I recently got my first selmer style guitar. The rainer mueller tailpiece isn't in good shape. Would this be easy to install myself if I got a new one?
If it's the same style then it's unscrew the old one, screw in the new one. Maybe see if the holes will line up before you take it off.
I constantly change tailpieces - usually for the cheap Chinese ones as these are more sturdy than most - and the problem is, as Buco alludes to, that often the screw holes don't match. I usually plug the old holes with a piece of toothpick and then drill new ones. It's not difficult but can be a bit scary to do first time.
If you drill pilot holes, don't drill the full length of the screw; leave some solid wood to bite into.
Good point pdg.
If you have to plug old holes, make sure your little WOOD toothpick or whatever is a pretty good fit to the old hole. A snug push fit is fine. Sand them down or whittle/sand your own if you need to. And use a little Titebond or other wood glue to hold them in place. After the glue dries nip or cut or sand them off flush trying not to muck up the finish. Carefully locate the new tailpiece and drill pilot holes. I like to make my pilot holes just about the same as the minor diameter of the screw thread. Watch the depth on the pilot holes use a piece of tape on the drill bit as a marker so you know when to stop. Don't drill all the way thru the end block just a little less deep than the screw length.
I'd do what Bones says; if new holes are needed, then after plugging them up use glue or a wood filler to make it as solid as you can. My experience is the drill bit will look for the easiest way in and that will usually be the space between the plug and the old hole edge so it can be very tricky to make a new pilot hole without going off the mark. What tricks do you use, Alan? Marking the depth of the hole by taping the drill bit is a great hack which I use too.
Another way is if the holes are just slightly off, drill the holes on the new tailpiece larger and look for the screws with a larger head or use a washer.
I usually use a smaller drill size than the screws which gives them enough wood to grip. As Buco said the drill will try and find the easiest way through the wood so any old holes need to be well plugged. Apart from that I do what Bones suggests - nipping off the end of the toothpick and then using a scalpel trimming them off before finally sanding the area - carefully.