s/n RR150002

Francis Rossi ‘Live Aid’ Configuration Replica
s/n RR150002 NOW SOLD

So, we have now come to the end of the build and this Francis Rossi Live Aid replica is now finished. I hope that the blog has been useful and that there is enough information here for you to go and build your own Francis Rossi replica. The most important thing when embarking on a project like this is research and attention to detail. It’s worth taking the time to really study all of the little details so that you can recreate them accurately. Taking this approach to all aspects of the build will ensure an overall authenticity which cannot be achieved be any other means.

Finished_Guitar1 Back_Close

There will be further Francis Rossi guitar builds on this blog in the future. Please check back regularly for updates if you are interested in following the progress of another build.

Headstock_Close Serial Number

Many thanks to everyone who has followed this blog as the build has progressed through to completion and a very special thanks to Status Quo who have linked to this blog from their official website.

Finished_02 Finished_03

Many thanks for your interest.
Roots Replicas
Blown_Out


Important Notice of Sale
1 November, 2015

  1. This Francis Rossi replica guitar (s/n RR150002) has now been sold.
  2. If you see the guitar for sale on or after 1st November 2015 it is being resold by a third party and not by me.
  3. If you have been directed to this blog via a link from an online and/or other sale or auction then the seller is referring you here and using this blog to assist their sale and/or auction without my consent.

All Text Copyright © 2015–17. Roots Replicas. All Rights Reserved

 

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Bridge

As mentioned previously, the standard three-saddle setup on a Tele is not conducive to setting intonation accurately, as a compromise must always be reached when two strings share the same saddle. In order to overcome this problem Francis fitted a Gibson Tune-o-matic six-saddle bridge to the OG to enable him to intonate the guitar properly. Once fitted, the TOM bridge enabled the independent and fine adjustment of each string when setting intonation. Being able to intonate the guitar properly is clearly a good thing for all players, but it’s especially beneficial to lead guitarists who spend a lot of time fretting those high notes.

We are fitting a high-quality copy of the Tune-o-matic bridge here as the purchase an original Gibson model would be cost-prohibitive here. However, the TOM-style copy that we are using looks really good, is well finished and sits nicely alongside all of our other hardware.

Bridge position
It’s worth noting here (just for info) that a six-saddle, fully adjustable TOM bridge has only a finite amount of adjustment and on some setups there still isn’t enough adjustment available at the bass end of the bridge to intonate the guitar accurately. To get over this problem it’s quite common to rotate the bass end of the bridge anti-clockwise by 3 degrees from the fixed treble post. Making this adjustment affords a little more freedom when setting intonation on the heavier strings. However, we are not going to do that as the bridge on the OG (see first pic below) looks like it was fitted roughly parallel with the tailpiece and bridge plate so we have done the same. Doing it this way means that there will still be intonation issues, but the setup will look right and that’s really the most important thing when trying to build a replica.

Rossi_Bridge Plate Bridge_Fitted_Angle

Orientation
When fitting TOM-style bridges the adjustment screws normally face toward the tailpiece. However, you will notice from the first of the two pics above, that on Francis’ guitar the adjustment screws face the pickup. The homemade tailpiece setup doesn’t allow much room to get a screwdriver in to make adjustments, so the bridge is fitted the other way round to allow the slightly easier method of adjusting the screws from the pickup side.

Guitar_Bridge Guitar_Bridge2

Francis eventually replaced the Gibson Tune-o-matic with a G&L bridge in the mid 1990s along with other major changes to the guitar such as the addition of three lace sensor pickups, 5-way switching and a 22nd fret! However, by the time of the 2013 Frantic Four reunion gigs the guitar had been modified yet again. This time the G&L had gone and a TOM had been re-fitted along with a Gibson stopbar tailpiece. This was the last incarnation of Francis’ guitar seen before it was retired towards the end of 2014 owing to problems with tuning as a result of wood softening. Francis’ main guitar is now a custom-built Status graphite model. But I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the famous green Telecaster.

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Copyright Notice

All text content and pictures of the guitar build appearing in the pages and posts of this WordPress blog are the exclusive property of Roots Replicas (except where stated otherwise) and are protected under international copyright treaties. The text and pictures of the build contained within this blog are made available for your personal viewing enjoyment only.

All Text Copyright © 2015–17. Roots Replicas. All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tailpiece

The tailpiece is the single most difficult part to replicate on a Francis Rossi replica guitar of this era. When Francis carried out all of his original mods to the guitar (see Home>A quick history) he decided not to route the strings, in the conventional way, through the body but instead opted to run the strings directly from a surface-mounted tailpiece which was simply screwed into the body through two drilled holes.

All we know is that the original tailpiece was taken from an old semi-acoustic guitar (make and model unknown) and subsequently adapted. My own opinion is that the donor part actually started life as a trapeze tailpiece and was adapted, so that’s how we are going to approach the task on this build.

The first of the two pics below gives you a fairly clear view of how the tailpiece looked on the original guitar for general reference. The yellow lines on the second pic highlight the very distinct shape of the tailpiece angled ends. These angled ends make finding a suitable donor part very difficult indeed as there are not many tailpieces of the same shape and overall proportions.

Rossi_Tailpiece Rossi_Tailpiece2

I’ve seen a lot of Rossi replicas with standard rectangular modern trapeze tailpieces which have been modified and others with Gibson-style stop-bar tailpieces with the lugs cut off either squarely or at an angle which makes the tailpiece a little too short in length and leaves very little room for drilling the necessary fixing holes. However, I have been using a particular vintage 1960s trapeze tailpiece which I feel is a fairly good match to the original.

If you take a look at the two pics below you will see the donor trapeze that we are going to use. This is a genuine 1960s part and does not need relic’ing as it already has a nice patina. The first pic shows that the main tailpiece section pretty much follows the right shape and proportions and whilst not an exact match to the original, looks pretty good.

The second pic shows the underside of the tailpiece and you will notice that there is a problem here. When this trapeze was fitted to the original guitar the strings would have been inserted through the six holes you can see in the picture. The strings then passed under the front of the tailpiece and up to the bridge causing the trapeze to be lifted above the body of the guitar by the tautness of the strings. We need to cut away the trapeze section of this part and then fix the remaining tailpiece firmly flat on to the guitar body. However, after the strings are inserted through the back of the tailpiece there is no exit for them to emerge at the front.

Tailpiece_top Taipiece_underneath

The solution to this is to do some very careful drilling. The first pic below shows the eight holes which need to be drilled. The six yellow lines represent the holes we need to drill in the front part of the tailpiece (matching up with the six holes already present in the rear part) and the two red lines show the positions of the two holes which will be used to fix tailpiece flat onto the guitar body using two ordinary wood screws.

Tailpiece to drill Tailpiece_finished

As you can see from the second pic above, we have drilled the six string exit holes which correspond the six entry holes and we have also drilled the two main fixing holes. It’s worth noting here that the two fixing holes do not have to be too precise in terms of position as the originals are quite off centre and so it wouldn’t look right if we were ‘too accurate’. So, as you can see from the two pics below, we have now fitted our custom tailpiece to the guitar body and that is another job done on the build.

Tailpiece_fitted1 Tailpiece_fitted2

Checkout this amazing clip of the Frantic Four rehearsing Backwater and Just Take Me prior to the reunion tour back in 2013. Even though this is just a rehearsal by four band members who have not played together in over 30 years it just sounds great and remains one of my favourite Quo clips.

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Copyright Notice

All text content and pictures of the guitar build appearing in the pages and posts of this WordPress blog are the exclusive property of Roots Replicas (except where stated otherwise) and are protected under international copyright treaties. The text and pictures of the build contained within this blog are made available for your personal viewing enjoyment only.

All Text Copyright © 2015–17. Roots Replicas. All Rights Reserved

Control knobs

Volume and tone controls
Today we are looking at the two volume and tone control knobs. Francis’ guitar features two standard flat top control knobs both of which are held in place by a small grub screw. There are a few different styles of control knob for the Tele including various dome top versions as well as a couple of styles of flat top. Some flat tops have a bevel around the top and some have a slight step. The knobs can be metal (finished in chrome or nickel) or brass, and all have varying knurling patterns ranging from quite fine to fairly coarse.

I am fairly confident that the control knobs on the OG are standard chrome flat tops, with a medium knurl, from the late 1950s. They are quite worn these days and looking very grey with little or no shine to them. However, in the 1970s–80s they were still in fairly reasonable shape.

Knobs_relic Tyre_NEW

You will see from the first pic above that we are using a pair of standard flat top medium knurled control knobs which feature a slight bevel and we have lightly relic’d the knobs in order to be consistent with the period. The second pic shows the famous ‘Lego wheel’ (or ‘Lego tyre’ to be precise) and we will go into more detail about that later on in this post.

The style of control knob we are using is widely available and is really designed to be fitted to a old style solid shaft. However, our control plate is fitted with brand new parts and therefore has modern style split shafts. Old style knobs with grub screws fit perfectly well over the split shafts, but due to the design of the modern shafts (slightly smaller diameter than solid shafts) and the fact that the knobs are held on by a grub screw which is tightened from one side, they tend to be slightly off centre when rotated. However, there are other options such as push-fit knobs which will fit better and will not wobble when rotated, but they don’t look as authentic as the old style/grub screw versions. As you will see from the two pics below, the knobs have now been added to the build.

Roots_Knobs_1_NEW knobs_oblique

The ‘Lego wheel’
Of the two main Status Quo guitars it is Rick’s Tele which is most synonymous with this unusual feature. In fact, Rick still has one fitted today. The original reason for fitting a tyre from an old Lego set was to provide a chunkier, easy to grab, volume control with more grip. (just for the sake of trivia, it’s worth noting that the volume is the only control at Rick’s disposal these days as the tone pot is now permanently set to full treble and was disconnected some time ago).

In 1984 (around a year before Live Aid), a small rubber tyre suddenly appeared on Francis’ guitar and was fitted to the volume knob. This feature was still present on the cover of the Rollin’ Home UK single (one of our main references for this build) and was removed around the time of Ain’t Complaining (UK release: 13 June, 1988). Lego have been producing tyres for their building sets since the early 1960s, but they have not really changed that much over the years and they are plentiful and easy to get hold of. Of course it doesn’t have to be an actual ‘Lego’ wheel. Any wheel from any toy car or building set will suffice, so long as it fits reasonably tightly and looks right.

Rossi_Knobs Roots_Knobs_NEW

If you take a look at the two pics above you will be able to make a comparison between Francis’ guitar and our replica build. The flat top knobs and the tyre are now in place and they look pretty close to the original.

ITAN_Dust_Cover_1986 LiveAid_Stage

The first of the two pics above is a close-up from the inner sleeve (vinyl only) of the In The Army Now album (UK release: 26 August, 1986). The second pic is another still from Live Aid. Both pics clearly show the ‘Lego wheel’ on the volume control of Francis’ guitar. There is still lots more to do on this build, so please keep checking back or alternatively use the link on the front page to subscribe to email updates for new posts.

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Copyright Notice

All text content and pictures of the guitar build appearing in the pages and posts of this WordPress blog are the exclusive property of Roots Replicas (except where stated otherwise) and are protected under international copyright treaties. The text and pictures of the build contained within this blog are made available for your personal viewing enjoyment only.

All Text Copyright © 2015–17. Roots Replicas. All Rights Reserved