The bridge plate
Not many people know this, but Francis’ guitar actually had the green paint job (and ‘mystery hole’ drilled) prior to any hardware modifications and retained the standard Fender bridge plate (with three brass saddles) just like the one shown above, for a brief period. An extremely rare (and fleeting) glimpse of it can be seen on Quo’s Doing Their Thing TV appearance (September, 1970). Checkout this clip and stop at 3:42 for a look.
The bridge plate setup was standard and featured the usual three brass string saddles. The standard saddles caused intonation problems (as described in an earlier post) and so Francis decided to switch to a six-saddle setup. The way this was executed is what we are about to replicate in the following steps using a standard Fender bridge plate as the donor. Francis decided to literally saw the standard plate in two and to use a Tune-o-matic style six-saddle bridge coupled with a tailpiece taken from an old acoustic guitar rather than run the strings through the body (as is standard). To ensure a correct cut we have taken detailed measurements from close-up pics of the OG. So, we are going to make a bridge plate that will no longer be a ‘bridge plate’ as such. It will just be the housing for the bridge pickup as we will be using a TOM-style bridge for the build.
Using a discarded piece of bridge from a previous build we now align with the new bridge (see above) in order to mark out where the cut goes. We then make the cut. After cutting we are left with some very rough edges which will have to be filed and polished. Also, the newly cut corners will need to be rounded off.
As you can see, we have ended up with a very nice, correctly sized, shiny (too shiny for the final build), bridge plate with rounded corners and polished edges to ensure that you don’t rip your hand to shreds when playing! After some light relic’ing and some extra holes drilled for fixing to the body, we are ready to assemble the plate with a bridge pickup.
The pickup is a standard aftermarket part and has been relic’d to look like Francis’ original (standard) Fender pickup. The other picture above shows the complete assembly ready to be fitted at a later point in the build. Note the holes (with loose screws in) drilled bottom left and top right.
Take a look at the two pics above to compare the general hardware setup. The first pic is a close-up shot of the OG from the cover of the Rollin’ Home 7″ UK single. The second pic is taken from a previous Roots Replicas build of the Francis Rossi Live Aid guitar.
This is Quo from 1971 on German TV performing Tune To The Music. This is just the year after the Doing Their Thing (September, 1970) clip I posted above where the Tele still had it’s original standard bridge plate and brass barrel saddles. This clip is from the following year and the bridge plate has now been sawn, the back end of it discarded along with the saddles and a Gibson Tune-o-matic has now been fitted. You will also notice that the strings are now anchored by the tailpiece and are no longer running through the body. Take a look at the guitar from 0:08 and you’ll see for yourself. Everything looks quite shiny and new in this video.
Thanks for looking. I will return with some more progress on the build soon.
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