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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

At it again...this time it's an EVH Frankenstrat

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by John Nicholas, Dec 4, 2016.

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  1. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    I'm so confused!

    Usually in real life, away from guitar building, I'm decisive. But in this case attempting to build a Franky "replica" has gone around in circles for years!

    No matter what path I choose, it will upset someone... so if that's gonna happen, I'm gonna go big!! LOL Capturing the "exact" guitar is a moving target because Eddie changed this thing so often, it's not just one simple copy.

    I had this one Alder body that had been refinished three or four times. The last being daphne red, which didn't come out right. You could see the white under the red, the red was uneven and the clear was flat. So I figured I'd strip it down again and make a Frankenstrat.

    [​IMG]

    After stripping down the daphne red, white base coat, and primer, here's what was left.

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    There was this cool neck sitting on a shelf... it'll work great for this version of the Frankenstrat.

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    See, it's so easy to make one of these, I don't know why people make such a big deal out of it. You just blow up a photo and glue it on!! :lol:

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    Nah... just kidding....

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    This took quite a while to cut out this set up! A lot of file work and sandpaper later this is what was left...

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    In order to maintain the template in case it's even needed again, the edges were all treated to a CA bath...

    One other detail I thought would be important to maintain was to drill all the holes as if it was a regular Strat. The tremolo holes are not very deep, but I wanted to have them there... probably just being silly.

    Here is the body before routing...

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    Here's the after...

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    A close-up of the route...

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    I had these bits lying around so it seemed fun to "practice" getting them... umm... relic'd... (I hate that word!)

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    Using a bunch of photos some masking tape was used to mark where to cut...

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    Not too bad...

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    If you look closely at the tremolo route, you will see a pencil line. Out came the router again to make the opening large enough to fit a Floyd Rose. Like this....

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    One question for the experts... should I drill out where the Floyd posts will go to put in a harder wood???

    Then a bit of sanding sealer was sprayed on the body...

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    This is something I've been collecting for a while, in fact just found another one last night which didn't make it into this photo...

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    This build will probably take some time as it's getting colder and the only place I can paint is outdoors....

    Stay tuned!:D
     

  2. I_build_my_own

    I_build_my_own Friend of Leo's

    Mar 9, 2012
    New York
    Cool, I will be watching this.
     
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  3. trev333

    trev333 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Looks like a strat body I've got..... Alder as well.. could be a bhefner body...

    It was originally red then sanded back with a clear coat put on it...when I bought it off a local seller doing a workshop clean out.......

    I'm glad they sanded the red off to reveal a one piece body..... shame to paint it....

    it's sitting in my spare room atm gathering dust...:rolleyes:

    body 2 small.jpg body 1 small.jpg
     
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  4. Cat MacKinnon

    Cat MacKinnon Friend of Leo's

    Nov 13, 2011
    Colorado
    I already see where OP went wrong: he didn't hack the ever-loving crap out of it with a dull chisel! :lol: Seriously though, Franky builds are always fun to watch! I'm actually seriously considering getting a KnE Pacer-style body for my next build, mostly because it looks super-comfortable and I have a thing for the 5150 Kramer (although I will not be doing an EVH build and will probably go with a beak headstock.)
     
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  5. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    You do not need to drill out and put in harder wood. The problem that I've seen is that there isn't much wood in front of the inserts/ studs and that creates a weak spot in front of the studs due to short grain. Drill the correct size holes and press, not pound the inserts in.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
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  6. Cat MacKinnon

    Cat MacKinnon Friend of Leo's

    Nov 13, 2011
    Colorado
    Crap, that reminded me that I was going to bring that up too!

    OP, you don't need to reinforce that area, but I personally do it on all of my bodies that are softer woods (alder, basswood and poplar.) There's always the potential for a trem stud to break through on softer woods, and it was actually quite common on a lot of the Floyd-equipped Fenders in the 80's and 90's due to the way they routed the pickup cavity. I like doing it before paint goes on because it's not that difficult and it really gives some peace of mind later on. Repairing that kind of break is a major PITA, so I prefer to prevent it instead.

    Here's how I do it (also note that I prefer using a good sharp chisel rather than a router, but either works just as well as long as you're confident with that particular tool): first I'll cut out a rectangular piece of maple, between 1/4" and 3/8" thick. This piece is slightly wider than the stud spacing by at least the width of a stud; Floyd studs are spaced at 74mm on-center (84mm outside-to-outside), so I'd make the patch about 95-100mm wide. I also make sure to orient the grain in the same direction, so keep that in mind; that helps to prevent paint telegraphing later on, since the patch and body woods will expand and contract at slightly different rates. Also, since I do this with chisels I always make the patch first, because I want to trace around it and get a nice, snug fit in the body. It's the exact same principle you'd use to glue in a "Dutchman" patch in an old dining table or something. Also note that I leave the front and back edge of the patch (the edges that hang over the pickup and trem cutouts) oversized, then trim them flush later.

    After the patch is made and I'm happy that the sides are square to the bottom face of the patch, I lay it on the body in the trem stud area and carefully trace around it (usually just along the sides. I'll then cut just along the inside of both lines, so I can work up to them later, then chisel down a little shallower than the patch's thickness (ie, I'll leave the patch sticking up about 1/16" proud of the body to plane down later.) Since that area of the body is "short grain", a sharp chisel removes everything in just a few minutes, then I follow that up with some 150g sandpaper glued to a small block with square edges. Once I test fit the patch and find that it's snug, I'll baste it with glue, figure out how I'm going to clamp it (because I always forget to work that out before I glue it in!) then let it sit for at least a few hours before taking the clamps off. After that it's just a matter of trimming it flush and drilling your trem stud holes.

    It's actually harder to explain than it is to do. I can do the whole thing in under an hour, by hand with chisels. It's about as straightforward as you'd think, it's just not as easy to describe;). I've got some photos of one I did a couple years ago that might help, just let me know if you want me to post a couple. Oh, and yes, you can do it even easier: just get a Forstner bit (5/8"-3/4" should be perfect), and a matching plug cutter. Locate where your Floyd studs will be, then drill down about 1/4" with the Forstner, cut out a couple matching plugs from maple (or another hard-ish wood) and glue those in. The only hitch in this approach is that plug cutters in that size are surprisingly expensive and you may very well never use it again anyway.

    By the way, since we're talking about avoiding problems with Floyds (or any 2-post trem for that matter), make sure you're using the proper-size drill bit for the studs! Too many people use 3/8" and while you can bang the bushings in, those holes are a little too small and there's a higher chance you'll break through in the future. OFRs spec a 10mm (or 25/64") drill bit for the stud hole, which is slightly larger than 3/8" (not by much, but it's enough to matter on softer woods like alder!) Most of the good licensed Floyds also spec the same 10mm hole, while Gotoh Floyds (G1996T) require an 11mm hole. Spend the $9 on a decent brad-point bit in the proper size! 10mm (or 25/64") is a very common size when it comes to guitar hardware, so you'll get your money's worth in short order (it'll work for modern sealed tuners too!) I like the Fisch drill bits (go with a woodworking supplier, StewMac way overcharges for them), but even the WoodRiver brand from Woodcraft are okay too. Freud makes some great bits as well and those are a good option for something you can find at the hardware store (their Forstner bits are great too!) However, avoid DeWalt or other "construction site" brands, because they tend to be very aggressive and will grab and tear out chunks of wood in a heartbeat (I discovered that the hard way :mad:.) I've also had good luck with the Mibro brand of bits (they're kinda budget, often found on eBay for a few bucks each, but they seem to work just fine.) A brad-point bit will also leave a nice flat hole on the bottom too. The thing is, a lot of the "construction" brands (DeWalt, Milwaukee, etc) tend to be made for more of a "general purpose" use around the shop or construction site, where clean holes aren't a big deal. The flutes are cut differently than nicer brad-point bits and sizes over 1/2" tend to grab like crazy; not a big deal on a construction site, but potential major headache when it comes to guitars.
     
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  7. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Thanks Helmut!

    I may be asking you some questions... :D
     

  8. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    That's an interesting body! It's different from most in that the control cavity is more '50's style. Nearly all the others are the '62 style.

    That is a sweet one piece body. When you get around to finishing it, it'll look awesome!
     

  9. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Hey Cat,

    Yee of little faith!! Even though there is sanding sealer sprayed on the body, the cavity is not finished.

    I have a beautiful dull, chipped, and mangled chisel at the ready! :D

    The process will be kind of fun, because not all of the material has to be removed. A little heat gun to "burn" some of the wood, a screwdriver or two to dent the sides and the above mentioned chisel to give some character... it should look somewhat "authentic".

    Originally my idea was to build a Franky with the idea that Eddie was actually a decent woodworker instead of a hack, but every idea seemed to looked like the current EVH models...

    Something about that beak headstock disturbs my sense of "style"!! :eek:
     
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  10. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Thank you so much Marty!!

    I really do not like the idea of pounding anything in when working on a guitar.

    The tips are very appreciated!
     

  11. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    WOW!! You wrote a book!!

    I'd like to properly reply, but I have to get to work.

    I appreciate everything you wrote, thank you!

    Yes, I'm a stickler for the correct sized drill bits... still trying to decide on the patch... I'm thinking I'd prefer to not do that and drill the correct sized hole and press the bushing in.
     

  12. Cat MacKinnon

    Cat MacKinnon Friend of Leo's

    Nov 13, 2011
    Colorado
    Trust me, nobody knows just how pedantic I am more than I already do. :lol:
     

  13. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    Nice, John! Man oh man, I thought I was busy o_O I love that you ruined a perfectly good template for this build, very inspiring :twisted::D
     

  14. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    44
    Feb 24, 2015
    South Lyon, MI
    I dunno, I kinda like the look of that body with the photo glued on...extra credit for including the hand grabbing the trem arm!

    Glue it, then seal it up under some laquer!
     

  15. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    It's not that I'm busy, more like I'm scattered and can't work on only one project at a time!

    If you look a little closer, you will see that particular template was robbed for use in other templates and jigs! The good part of that template was the pickup cavities, so it was the perfect donor for this project!

    Me inspiring?... more like perspiring! :lol::lol:
     
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  16. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    You know.... there is another body lying around in the shop, one that Cat would be proud of, because it was attacked by a dull chisel... my first attempt at a Frankenstrat... the reason that body is no longer useful is because the chisel blasted right through the body and ripped a big hole through the center!

    I did glue it together, but it's a mess.

    Your idea would be perfect for that body!! When I get some time I'll glue it on and hang it on the wall in the shop!

    By the way the hand is Eddie Van Halen's....
     
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  17. Cat MacKinnon

    Cat MacKinnon Friend of Leo's

    Nov 13, 2011
    Colorado
    Dammit! I've been hunting for 1971 quarters for three years! Every single week I check my stash of laundry quarters (and whatever's floating around at the bottom of my purse), and you know how many I've found? One! One damn quarter! I stashed it away in my guitar toolbox for some future project, but I'd still like to have a couple more just because (at this point I'm not entirely sure why, it's just become a habit to look every week.) Like I said, probably won't ever do a Franky replica, but I'd like to put it on one of my guitars just as a little homage (maybe drill a shallow hole under the trem springs and epoxy it in or something.)

    It took me years to "get into" the beak headstock, but drooling over Suhrs kinda pushed me over the edge. I do like the banana headstock though, and I'm tempted to buy an Allparts neck and do it just like Paul Unkert did at the Kramer factory: chop off the bottom part, plane it flat, then glue on more maple and shape it. Or I guess I could just get a paddle head AP neck and save myself some work :D.
     

  18. mPacT

    mPacT Tele-Holic

    887
    Dec 23, 2014
    Burbank, CA
    I always think of the strat shaped headstock version of the guitar as "The" guitar for some reason. Good job on the build buddy!
     

  19. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    An easy way to collect more quarters... play cards with friends for money (change) you get a great deal more quarters passing through your hands and if you're nice, they will look in their stashes for you.

    The other option is to ask older folks to look through their change collection. My mom found 3 of them!

    I really tried to like the beak headstock, really I did, it just doesn't do it for me!!

    All parts has some banana headstock necks for sale... they are kind of expensive though...
     
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  20. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    It's kind of funny, depending on who you ask, what time they started listening to Van Halen and what videos they watched... you will notice a different choice in what headstock they remember or like.

    Truth is Eddie changed his guitar far more then people know. The dude played all the time, There is a silly quote from Alex, saying that Eddie played so much that he thought he brought the guitar into the shower with him!

    Anyone who plays that much would wear out the neck. Add to that the way Eddie treated his guitars (usually throwing them into the back of his pickup truck without a case) which most likely resulted in broken necks... and you have many neck changes and lots of guitars!!

    I did a little search during my information gathering... here are just a couple of group photos of a small section of the guitars Eddie owns (owned) and played over the years,

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    These are just some of the Strat style guitars Eddie played... here are a couple of the others, not including the various versions of the Wolfgang!

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    Plus he was known to play this thing in concert as well....
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    Love how he removed the neck pickup....

    So after pouring over all this stuff, I picked the one I liked best...

    Sort of based on the one on top of the piggy pile...

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