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Eddie's Frankenstrat History

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by 1 21 gigawatts, Oct 13, 2020.

  1. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Meister

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    So, I've been reading/watching a bunch about EVH and his Frankenstrat since last week. For whatever reason, I find the history of famous guitars (Page's Dragon, EVH Frankenstrat) fascinating. I think that most people know the basic Frankenstrat story.

    Eddie bought a seconds body and neck from Boogie Bodies, installed a single humbucker, gave it a white/black paint job, then later painted over it with red. What bothered me about the story was that he said that he bought the seconds parts because it was all that he could afford, but there are early photos of Eddie with other strats (sunburst, black, raw). If he had a bunch of strats, why did he need to buy a seconds body and neck for Frankie?

    I came across some videos from Johnny B Guitars about Frankie's history. While it is all conjecture, he has laid out some pretty impressive evidence that suggests that the raw and black guitars are Frankie.

    He matched the wood grain and the body seam from Frankie to the raw guitar. It was a two piece body, but the seam was 5 degrees from horizontal (high in the back and low in the front). This was most likely done to try to cut out the knot in the wood blank in the lower horn cut-out. All versions of Frankie show the remnants of this knot (which is why the body was a second).

    The black start was matched by the indentions from this knot visible in a photo of the black strat, and by a screw hole in Frankie from the rare 11-hole (early style) pickguard that was on the black strat.

    So it looks like Eddie put the strat together and played it in the raw, then black, before painting it with the white/black stripes that became famous. Not sure why I find this so interesting, since we know that it was a raw body that was painted white over black. I guess that I just assumed that the white/black was the first iteration. Anyways, kudos to Johnny B for his research and sucking me down the rabbit hole on this one...
     
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  2. The Angry Possum

    The Angry Possum Tele-Holic

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    I'm glad you created this thread, very timely. Give this just 5 minutes of attention, with respect to Eddie's Tone. Staggering to say the least... I learned much from this, and perhaps I'll seek to find an ES335 pickup that Eddie used in his first Frankenstrat.

     
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  3. bluescaster72

    bluescaster72 Tele-Holic

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    Obviously he had other good guitars guitars we all wish we had LOL Back then they were just used guitars. I think that when he made that statement it referred more to the fact there was nothing like what he wanted in the market at the time and had limited resources to make it happen . So he just took what he had and made it work. I think the neck was 130 bucks and the body 50 . Not chump change in the early 70s . He probably had to save up a bit.
     
  4. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    Is a 335/PAF pickup any different from what would be in a Les Paul? ( of the same year(s)

    It would not have any more variation than say the difference between two humbuckers from similar vintage Les Pauls, would it?
     
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  5. The Angry Possum

    The Angry Possum Tele-Holic

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  6. The Angry Possum

    The Angry Possum Tele-Holic

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    Eddie used an older ES335 PAF that he actually potted himself with Parafin wax. Read my other post. Post #5. And supposedly the other side of that humbucker wasn't functioning 100% correctly in what I have read. Needless to say, I do have an Epiphone DOT a 1999 made in Korea, that has incredible tones for rock n roll. Its insane.

    Hence Ted Nugent s Byrdland also.... Great tones..
     
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  7. Flakey

    Flakey Friend of Leo's

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    If anyone has access to old back issues of Guitar Player magazine. In late 1979 he did an interview where he discusses his guitar and gear. He was not the cover story and this particular issue may have been when Kiss was featured. I know the first album had just dropped about a month before and they were still relatively unknown. He also talks about how Gene Simmons help them get connected to the label, producing their demo and what not. He also talks about the new vibrato system made by a guy named Floyd Rosen.
     
  8. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Meister

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    First photo of Frankie?
    EVH raw.jpg

    This is the raw body that Johnny B matched to Frankie with the wood grain, crooked seam, and knot on the lower horn. The pickup looks like the same that is seen on the Black strat (in a white pickguard). The black pickguard later shows up on the white and black Frankie; it is homemade and has an unmistakable chip on the edge under the tone knob. Looks to be a rosewood neck though, which is also in color photos of the black strat.
     
  9. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Meister

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    Found another piece of the puzzle- maybe the missing link. A photo of the white Frankie with a white pickguard and rosewood neck. Is this the same neck and pickguard from the black strat?
    evh white white.jpg

    Plausible Timeline:
    1. Eddie builds the initial version of Frankie with a seconds body, a rosewood neck that he already had (maybe from the sunburst strat?), and the homemade black single humbucker pickguard
    2. Eddie paints it black, puts the white pickguard on
    3. Eddie paints it white (masking off for the black stripes), keeps white pickguard
    4. Eddie swaps to the homemade single HB pickguard from the raw body photo and the neck to maple
    5. Eddie repaints it red and removes pickguard

    Whether these are all the same guitars or not, one thing is certain: Eddie was the consummate tinkerer!
     
  10. PARCO

    PARCO Tele-Meister

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    Eddie was from the same general area as where I grew up. Wayne Charvel had a guitar repair shop in this area. Wayne and Lyn Ellsworth (Boogie Bodies) were good friends. Wayne's shop was a great place and Wayne is a really cool guy. Wayne's shop was the kind of place where you could hang out. Wayne did a lot of guitar refinishing at his shop and he also started building guitars from bodies and necks that were built by Lyn Ellsworth. Eddie had this idea that he wanted a Strat with a humbucking pickup. (This was not common at the time). He went to Wayne's shop and sorted through some bodies and necks and picked out the ones he liked and put the first Frankenstein together. I saw Eddie play many times and almost every time I saw him play he was playing a different guitar. For a young guy such as myself this was impressive. It was hard enough to get one guitar let alone the many guitars that Eddie seemed to have. The other impressive thing was that no matter what he played, Eddie sounded like Eddie. He could make a Les Paul sound like a Strat and vice versa.
     
  11. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Afflicted

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    There's plenty of information online about his guitars, just do a web search.
     
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    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Meister

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    You would think this would be the case, but outside of a few photos and internet forum conjecture, very little information of the bare wood or black strat exists. It seems that the accepted lore is that the white/black painted body with maple neck was th e first iteration of Frankenstrat. The photos posted would suggest otherwise.

    Anyways, it is fun to play history detective and piece together the clues. Crazy that we have to though, considering that it is one of the most famous guitars ever, and Eddie was alive up until a week ago...
     
  13. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Meister

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    So I found a suitable candidate local to make a White Frankenstrat- an older black Hondo with maple neck. The neck is already worn, so it looks right (other than the painted headstock). Might go check it out this weekend.

    Anyways- one thing that I just noticed about the photo posted above. There are no pinstripes on the white Frankie. I've seen people mask them off for painting along with the thicker stripes, but since they aren't in this photo or on the red version, they were clearly just pinstripes stuck on.

    Looks better without them in my opinion. If I make one, I'm leaving them off.
     
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