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

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

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

  1. oldrebel

    oldrebel Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Oct 23, 2011
    Lynchburg Tennessee
    Looks great!!
    John Nicholas likes this.

  2. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    It turned really cold here in New York, so very little work got done until Sunday afternoon. In the morning it was Youtube time... today was on Fletcher's channel where he demonstrates polishing frets using a dremel.

    For some reason I had been doing polishing by hand. How silly!!Using a dremel is far superior. Got some polishing wheels from Harbor Freight... they are cheap and spewed lots of strings, but worked really well with the polishing compound.


    The frets really look nice...


    Next up was to install the locking nut and the tuners.



    These are Fender tuners I got from Christmas a few years back.


    richa and Ekko like this.

  3. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Since all the major pieces were on the neck it was time to bolt the neck onto the body. Of course I didn't have a neck plate at the house, so I picked one up at our local music store (30 minutes away!!)


    Once the neck is one, it's time to install the bridge... a Floyd Rose Special in this case.

    Of course you have to measure where to put the bridge and align it in relation to the nut and neck. So my handy dandy alignment tool was used.


    It was nerve racking to drill the holes for the studs. I used a piece of masking tape to mark where the holes needed to be drilled, then used a forstner bit to drill the holes.

    Then used the drill press to press the bushings into the body.



    Of course enough was completed so a mockup was in order...



    More work to be done....
    mux164, I_build_my_own, richa and 4 others like this.

  4. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Nov 18, 2010
    This is going to be really, really nice.

    I’ve been following it since January and when you fired up this discussion again, instead of clicking go to first unread as usual, I read it right from the beginning again. There’s so much great conversation and trading of ideas and VH memories... It’s already looking great!

    Back in about 1987 I built a VH frankenstrat out of an EPI Strat-like Guitar. I striped the trashed finish off with oven cleaner or poly-stripa or something really caustic and then did the tape and paint. I started with White and then did black and red or red and black... I don’t recall but it did look pretty close to Eddies. I didn’t know anything about building guitars or setups so it wasn’t a great guitar but it did look cool. I’ve still got the case for it but I have no idea what became of the guitar.

    By the way, I had forgotten what a great album 5150 was. I’m a huge early VH fan with DLR on vocals but 5150 has some really cool tunes. The video of 5150 itself really brought back memories. Great tune!
    John Nicholas likes this.

  5. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 24, 2015
    South Lyon, MI
    Fantastic! I've been waiting for this one to get some shop time!
    John Nicholas likes this.

  6. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed reading through the thread from the beginning. To be honest I was concerned that this thread would have missing images!!

    Van Halen is a fun topic on so many levels...

    I happen to be one of those weirdos who liked both early DLR and Sammy. Obviously at the beginning Dave was awesome, perfect screams and stuff to cover that he didn’t have the greatest voice...

    Some live stuff from back then shows a bit different story.... now he’s like a Vegas lounge singer!

    When Sammy joined the band I was very happy. In fact watched him play with Eddie at Farm Aid before they really worked together.

    Should be video on YouTube... they did Led Zepplin’s Rock and Roll... Sammy has some serious lungs on him!!

    I really loved 5150... it was an amazing record!!

    It was cool hearing Eddie explore and try new things. Keyboards and stuff can be cool... as long as it’s not overdone... again my opinion only!

    This version of Franky is one of my favorites... the guitar changed so much over the years and many other guitars were used throughout his career... for some reason this is the one that appealed to me.

    That said, do you have any photos of your guitar? I’d love to see them if you do.

    It’s strange that what happened to your guitar was forgotten over the years... there have been similar experiences for me.
    awasson likes this.

  7. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Hey Mark!!

    This one has been bugging me that’s it’s just been sitting without any attention. Glad to have it near playable... this is going to be a fun one to play!!

    I hope all is well with you and the family.

  8. Macrogats

    Macrogats Tele-Afflicted

    May 15, 2017
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I too read through this from the beginning. Great stuff John. I'm a big EVH fan as well. He's my second favourite all time guitarist after Jimmy Page. He (Eddie) also has the claim of influencing damn near a whole generation of guitar players.

    I love both the early stuff and the latter "Van Hagar" period. But I feel Eddies playing was a hell of a lot better - or should say mature - in the latter stages.

    Humans Being and the Respect The Wind instrumental from Twister movie are my absolute fave pieces! Poundcake gets a big nod too. But I do love listening to anything Eddie does!

    I got back into playing guitar just over a year ago, which led me to start fooling around with the only old gat I had at the time. It was/is an Ibanez Blazer I think. Anyway, I stripped it, sanded it back, painted it red and covered it with black and white masking tape a la EVH. Truth be told, I felt like I should be 17 when I strapped it on! :p
    Zepfan, awasson and John Nicholas like this.

  9. Newbcaster

    Newbcaster Tele-Meister

    May 10, 2015
    this is a sick thread. love it!
    John Nicholas likes this.

  10. reddy2300

    reddy2300 Tele-Meister

    Aug 25, 2017
    Dublin, Ohio
    I like both DLR/VH and Van Hagar, too. It's not weird but it is a bit uncommon. I just bought they first live video they did when "5150" came out. It's called "Live, Without A Net". So much great stuff on that from Eddie's solo, Hagar's vocals, Al's Whiskey Bass to Alex's kit sounding like a WW2 bomber starting up. Put the DVD in and crank it up. It's 1987, all over again!
    John Nicholas and awasson like this.

  11. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Some folks really dislike the Sammy period... I never understood that.

    So let's see some photos of your Blazer!!

    Thank you!!

    Yes, it certainly is uncommon...

    I watched Live without a Net when it was released, absolutely loved it. I'll have to see it again. Thanks for the reminder!!
    reddy2300 likes this.

  12. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    It was a bit of work to get the neck plane and tremolo to line up properly. For this task a High "e" and a Low "E" were installed. When the neck was properly shimmed, I noticed that the pickup cavity would mount the pickup so low, it probably wouldn't have any output.

    So a way to mount the pickup wandered around in my brain for a while. A bunch of Internet searching did very little to help in this area. Although FU-Tone has a pretty cool product made of brass that mounts to the body cavity and can be height adjusted.

    It was pretty expensive at nearly $50. so a bit of the idea was used to mount the pickup.

    I grabbed a piece of leftover maple, measured the pickup base plate and cut myself a pickup mount. This was done with no strings on the guitar, so a bit of guesswork was used.


    The screws that hold it to the body were countersunk, although it was probably not necessary. Then some small screws were dug out, holes drilled and the pickup mounted.


    This is not the permanent pickup for this guitar. It's a Mighty Mite pickup purchased on close-out from Stew Mac. Mighty Mite wiring diagrams are horrible!!


    Honestly it took nearly two hours to finally figure out the correct wiring diagram. I was using the multimeter all along!! Trouble is that Mighty Mite has different wiring diagrams for Neck and Bridge pickups!! So I was experimenting. What a giant pain in the butt!!

    For some reason (I wonder what that could be?) no photos of the soldering were taken.... strange!

    One issue that was discovered with stringing up the outside strings was the string height at the nut was too low!:(

    So it was off the Philadelphia Luthiery Supply to buy Floyd Rose nut spacers.


    The thickest one was used to space the nut to what I hoped was the correct height. Once the locking nut was bolted into place, a few more strings were added to determine where to mount the string retainer.

    During this process a great deal of time was spent searching for how to set up a Floyd. There is surprisingly little correct information. So bits and pieces were gathered from a number of sources.

    Does anyone know of a good guide or video on this?? Please let me know.

    The string retainer is very important to being able to properly tune your guitar. The retainer must push the strings down so they touch the base of the headstock side of the nut.

    Don't tighten the retainer down so much that it bends the strings down further then just touching the bottom of the locking nut at the front (top, headstock) This really helps to ensure ease of tuning and will prevent your guitar from going sharp when you tighten down the locking part of the nut.



    Hopefully you can see what I mean from the close-up photo above.
    R. Stratenstein, Ekko and Mat UK like this.

  13. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    The set-up strings were removed and a new set was installed. Once these were mounted up properly, I discovered that the locking nut was still too low. So an additional thinner shim was added under the nut. That worked a treat!!

    Next on the hit parade was to make sure the string height at the 17th fret was even across the fretboard. It was lower on the treble side, so the treble bridge stud was raised slightly to bring it all into alignment.

    With that set it was time to tune the guitar. Here is where people usually have some serious problems. Way back in the 1980's I had a Kramer Stryker with a Floyd... I hated tuning that thing. But there was no Internet then...

    What I discovered in my search is that you tune the guitar across the strings. Usually starting with the center strings and working out to the 'E' strings.

    Since this guitar is being tuned to Eb (EVH standard tuning) that's what was done here.

    The thing is, once you have the guitar in tune, there is a possibility that the Floyd is not "floating". The key is once you have the tuning set (mine had the tremolo strings a bit tight to begin with) you start to loosen the tremolo strings and re-tuning the guitar until the bridge is floating and the guitar is in tune.

    Surprisingly, this went faster then I thought it would. Once the guitar was in tune I played it for a while, using the wang bar and bending the strings as much as possible. It was re-tuned a few times. When it started playing in tune, it was time to tighten the locking nut.

    When tightening the locking nut, usually the guitar will go sharp. An interesting aspect of doing all this pre-setup, when the locking nut was tightened, the guitar was still in tune. I did not have to touch the fine tuners!! Wow! That was awesome!!

    One more small touch before finishing up... installing this thing..


    As you can see, I'm not into the whole relic thing. The guitar will age naturally, in fact there are already chips on the headstock!!

    Here are some photos of the completed guitar. Better ones need to be taken soon.



    In this photo you can see the tremolo base is level to the body, floating!




  14. Macrogats

    Macrogats Tele-Afflicted

    May 15, 2017
    Auckland, New Zealand
    The old Blazer has long since been stripped back. The neck is/was on my Dano project - yet to be finished.

    LIve Without a Net was way cool when it came out. Loved it to pieces. Would certainly love to see it again.

    Great looking project John, and you've definitely put me off ever wanting to install a Floyd Rose! :D

  15. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Didn't I read your comment correctly that you painted the guitar about a year ago?? If so, that was fast!!

    Well if you want to see Live, Without a Net, here you go!!

    As for the Floyd Rose, once you know what needs to be done, it's not so bad. The only thing is, I don't really play music that would require a Floyd!!

  16. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Nov 18, 2010
    Wow! That turned out so nicely! You’ve just got to be happy about the way it looks and how it holds tune too.

    It’s funny, as I was reading the setup and looking at all of the photos, Eruption and Drop Dead Legs have been looping in my head along with some other favourites (House of Pain and Good Girl Gone Bad). 5150 has been an auto play ear worm for the last week and a half too thanks to this thread. No complaints from me though.
    John Nicholas likes this.

  17. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Yes, I'm very happy with how this guitar turned out and plays! It's fun!!

    Now I just need to learn some VH licks so I can pretend to be Eddie!!

    Funny you mentioned Drop Dead Legs... that was running through my head earlier!!
    awasson likes this.

  18. Deneb

    Deneb Tele-Afflicted Vendor Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Ukraine, Dnipro
    Wow, that's the great job, John.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
    John Nicholas likes this.

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