s/n RR140001

Francis Rossi ‘Live Aid’ Configuration Replica
s/n  RR140001

This was the very first Roots Replicas Francis Rossi replica guitar I ever made. Building this guitar took many months to complete and involved huge amounts of research, hours of careful attention to detail and lots of extremely precise comparisons with the original guitar in order to make sure that everything looked just right. I decided at the end of the process that the finished guitar looked so good that I just had to make more and that the process should be recorded to show how it was done.

 

The success of guitar No. 1 inspired me to create this blog and to start recording the progress of a new build, from scratch. Starting out with the build of s/n RR150002 the idea was to show any aspiring guitar builders, who may be contemplating their first project, just how it’s done using step-by-step descriptions, videos, images and those all-important close-up build pics (see Home>Guitar build No.2).

 

This guitar was built over the summer of 2014 and took several months of detailed work  to complete, but it was all worth it when the finished guitar was first plugged into my Marshall amp and sounded just like vintage 1970s Quo!

 

I hope you enjoy reading this blog and checking out the other builds, pics and videos. If you plan to build a Francis Rossi classic era (1970s–90s) Telecaster you will find all the pics, references and detailed info you need to get started right on this blog.

 

Advertisements

Stringing

Stringing
Following on from my last post which covered the bridge, there were only a couple of jobs left to do. The electrics had to be soldered, followed by the fitting of a new set of strings. The electrics have now been soldered into position and all that remains is to fit the new strings. The strings we are going to use are the same gauge as Francis uses (9–42). So, from top E the individual string gauges are 9, 11, 16, 24, 32 and 42 and we are using a set of nickel-wound Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings.

Body2_Close Headstock2_Close

It’s important to ensure that the strings are wound in accordance with the established procedure for vintage slotted machine heads. Each string should be measured out to a predetermined length, bent to 90 degrees, crimped and cut to length before inserting into the tuner and wound carefully with the wind going downwards and with no overlapping. Fender have a set procedure for this, detailing all of the cutoff lengths which can be found in any of the many Telecaster manuals out there. A particularly good source of information is The Haynes Fender Telecaster Manual (By Paul Balmer).

Plectrum
This is quite a small detail, but worth noting anyway. Francis usually has a spare pick inserted under the edge of the pickguard, as you never know when you might drop one! Over the years he has used different picks in various colours. However, in order to be consistent with our Rollin’ Home pic and the period in question, we are going with a single black Jim Dunlop XL nylon pick and I believe that Francis still uses this pick today.

Plectrum Plectrum_Close

The XL is a very heavy pick and not for everyone, so it’s just there, inserted under the scratchboard to look the part. You could use a much lighter weight black pick which wouldn’t deform the pickguard as much as this one does when inserted underneath. The ripple that the pick creates in the pickguard is pretty permanent and will never fully flatten out again. However, you will remember from a previous post (see Pickguard) that with the body-mounted neck pickup it is very easy to swap over to a new guard at any time without having to disturb any other parts

Pickup selector switch
At the time of Live Aid and for sometime after, the OG was missing the black plastic cap that sits on the end of the pickup selector switch. In more recent years the cap has been present, but for our build we are leaving it off for the sake of authenticity and I think that it looks better that way anyway.

Body3_Close Lever_Close

Go to next post


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

s/n RR160004

Francis Rossi ‘Live Aid’ Configuration Replica
s/n  RR160004 NOW SOLD

This guitar was built alongside No.3 and was put together in exactly the same way following all of the steps outlined in the main build page (see Home>Build No.3).

0004_closefront1s 0004_closeback

No.4 guitar is also strung with the same set of Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings and both guitars feature the same black Jim Dunlop XL nylon pick that Francis uses tucked under the pickguard.

0004_bottomside 0004_topside

Just like No.3, this guitar was also built using a 3-piece swamp ash body, is relic’d in the same way and features all of the same hardware, right down to the ‘Lego wheel’.

0004_head1 0004_head2

Months of work has gone into building these guitars and I hope that you enjoyed reading about how it was done. This is not the end of course, as there will be more builds in the future so please check back here regularly for updates, news and pics.

Many thanks to everyone who has viewed and commented on this blog worldwide and I hope that it may inspire you to build your own Francis Rossi replica guitar!

rr_ident


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

Belgian Quo Band

Francis Rossi ‘Live Aid’ Configuration Replica
s/n RR160003

No.3 guitar is now owned by Francis “Rossi” Wildemeersch of the Belgian Quo Band (www.belgianquoband.be) and is played by Francis on the band’s current tour in Europe.

Checkout these great pics of Francis and his Roots Replicas guitar in action during the Belgian Quo Band’s current tour, it’s uncanny how much Francis looks like ‘Francis’ on stage. If you want to go and see the band, checkout their latest tour dates by clicking here.

Pics 1 and 2 were taken at Graauwrock – Graauw NL (25th May, 2017), pics 3–5 were taken at Polderrock – Oudenburg (20th May, 2017) and pic 6 was taken at the Europafeesten – Tielt (9th July, 2017).

Click on the pics to supersize them!

Many thanks to Francis Wildemeersch for the pics.

Rick Parfitt Telecaster

If Roots Replicas were to build a Rick Parfitt Telecaster, which version would you like to see?

The guitar in the first pic is Rick’s Tele at the time of Live Aid. The pic is taken from the cover of the 7″ vinyl single of Rollin’ Home (UK release: 9 May, 1986). There is not too much wear evident at this point in history and only a tiny area of the black film that covers Rick’s white pickguard has worn away. The patch of wear from Rick’s forearm and the general wear and tear on the guitar was quite minimal back then.

The guitar in the second pic is how Rick’s Tele looks today (30+ years on from the pic on the left) and was referred to by Rick as his ‘Rock n Roll Range Rover‘ as you could throw anything at it and it would just keep going!

Which one would you like to see built?

 

And the winner is…
Some time ago I conducted a poll on this page to see which of the above versions of the guitar people would like to see built. The overwhelming response was that 87% of those who voted wanted to see the Rock n Roll Range Rover get built. Many thanks to everyone who took time out to vote in the poll.

If a Roots Replicas build of a Rick Parfitt guitar does go ahead, it will be the Rock n Roll Range Rover configuration of the guitar that will be created, as voted for by the followers of this blog.

Mapping Rick’s guitar
I am currently working on a set of highly detailed technical drawings in order to map every surface and contour of Rick’s guitar. It’s so important to get down to this level of detail when attempting to recreate a replica of such an iconic and unique guitar. There are literally hundreds of Rick Parfitt replicas Telecasters out there and some of them are really good, but I don’t think I have ever seen one that is exactly right when it comes to the relic’ing and general recreation of wear and tear. The challenge here is to build something that goes just that bit further in order to achieve the authentic look and feel!

Mapping Rick’s guitar without access to the genuine article is a complicated process and involves the careful study of hundreds of pics and video clips as well as taking detailed and precise scale measurements from various pics of the guitar, both old and new. In addition, it’s also worth delving back in time through some of the older pics of Rick’s guitar to see just how the wear and tear has evolved over time. We are not just trying to replicate the front and back of the guitar (which is challenging enough) but we also need an accurate map of the body sides too and some of the older pics from back in the day can be very useful in terms of checking how a small ding or dent has become more pronounced over years of gigging.

 

All of the detail in the drawings will have to be carefully transposed to the body of the guitar, following what is quite a complicated and multi-layered painting process. Building a Rick Parfitt replica guitar is simpler in some ways than building a Francis Rossi replica, especially in terms of the hardware involved. However, when it comes to the general relic’ing to the body front back and sides, a Rick Parfitt build presents a far greater challenge!

So far, some good progress has been made with the technical drawings, but no definite decision has been made on whether to go ahead with a build. If we do proceed with a Rick Parfitt Rock n Roll Range Rover guitar, all details will be posted right here on this page in due course.

Thanks for continuing to follow this blog.

s/n RR160003

Francis Rossi ‘Live Aid’ Configuration Replica
s/n RR160003 NOW SOLD

0003_closefront1s 0003_closeback

No.3 guitar is now complete and has been fitted with a set of nickel-wound Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings These strings are the same gauge as Francis uses (9–42) and suit the overall look and feel of the guitar.

0003_bottomside 0003_topside

It has been worth taking the time to apply all of the correct wear patterns, ageing and relic’ing to achieve a really authentic-looking Francis Rossi replica guitar. Read how this guitar was built here.

0003_head1 0003_head2

From start to stage! 

The story of guitar No. 3 in pictures from the very start of the build through to the guitar being used live on stage by Francis “Rossi” Wildemeersch of the Belgian Quo Band. The gallery below shows a snapshot of each detailed stage of the build.


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. Additional pics of Belgian Quo Band on this page by Bibit and Andy Maelstaf

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

Guitar build No.3

Scroll down to follow the build (most recent posts are last)

Background

So, here we go again with build number three of the iconic Francis Rossi Live Aid Telecaster! This will be the third build of ‘old green’ exactly as configured around the time of Live Aid back in 1985. Click Home on the main menu to find out more on the background and history of this guitar and how Status Quo opened Live Aid at precisely 12:00 noon on July 13, 1985.

The first Francis Rossi Live Aid Telecaster (No. 1) was built a few years ago, it’s owned by me and is still played every day. But, after completion of the first replica I thought it might be fun to build another one (No. 2), but this time to record each and every stage in detail… and that is quite simply how this blog was born. The idea to was to provide enough information to allow anyone to build their own version of this guitar. The guitar featured in the blog was s/n RR150002 (which was sold last year) and you can read the full story of its creation by selecting Parts used for this build from the main menu and following the build from there through to completion. I will be referring to various stages of the No. 2 build to provide context and to link in to more detailed descriptions, background and technical info, pics and contextual video clips to show the relevant details in action.

In addition to the build stages recorded here, I will also be tweeting the progress of s/n RR160003 on @RootsReplicas


The new build – s/n RR160003

Body talk

This time, we will be using a new 3-piece Telecaster solid swamp ash body, the perfect candidate for another build of the iconic green Telecaster. Francis’ original guitar (OG) is a 3-piece swamp ash, so having acquired this body is going to make the finished guitar just that little bit more authentic.

3-piece_Front 3-piece_Back

There will be plenty of sanding, drilling, painting, relic’ing and ageing to do before this body starts to resemble the OG and all of this will take time, so please check back here regularly to see how things are going.


Neck

The neck we are using here is a standard 1-piece (21-fret) maple neck salvaged from a used guitar. We’ve sanded off the modern factory-applied polyurethane finish back to bare wood and we are going to use a vintage amber nitrocellulose treatment to provide that authentic 1970s look before relic’ing the entire neck. Nitro will not adhere properly to modern polyurethane finishes, waxes or other varnishes so it is really important to remove all traces of existing finishes first.

No3_Neck_Sanded_Front No3_Neck_Sanded_Back

You can find out more about the neck on Francis’ original guitar by selecting Neck from the main menu where you will find some background information on neck colour, fretboard wear, hardware and serial numbers. I have also written a short piece on 1-piece and 2-piece necks, truss rods and ‘skunk stripes’ (see Parts used for this build)

No3_Neck_Amber_Front No3_Neck_Amber_Back

As you can see from the two pics above, the neck has now had a series of vintage amber nitrocellulose treatments and is looking really good. The next job will be to give the neck another rub down, but this time with some ultra-fine 0000 grade wire wool. This will smooth everything down in readiness for the Roots Replicas decals to be applied, followed by the final coasts of clear gloss nitrocellulose to give that rich honey-coloured 1970s look to the neck.


Neck continued

The decals have now been added and the top coats of clear nitro applied. Following that, the neck has been relic’ed and buffed up slightly, although not too much as it’s meant to look old and well-worn. You can also see a slight outline of the decal through the nitro top coat, just like on the OG (the decal was factory-fitted on top of the nitro finish). As you can see below, the fretboard has also been relic’d to replicate all of the same marks as present on the fretboard of Francis’ guitar at the 1985–86 period (see Neck for more info).

Neck_Finished_1 Neck_Finished_2

This neck can be stored away now until it’s time to join it with the body. We will still have to fit a string tree to the headstock and of course fit the genuine Kluson nickel finish tuners and the neck will be good to go. As the neck is played over time, the wear marks will dull down and get dirtier and more worn. The nitro finish will start to craze in time and any dings and dents it gets along the way will make it look even better.

Neck_Finished_3 Neck_Finished_4


Tuner ferrules

The tuning peg holes on modern Tele necks are around 10mm diameter and are larger than the holes on vintage models. For our build we are going to fit a set of genuine Kluson Deluxe semi-enclosed tuning machines in a nickel finish and with the words ‘Kluson’ and ‘Deluxe’ cast vertically into the backs, either side of a set of vertical lines, (exactly the same as Rick and Francis use on their guitars) and there is further info and detailed pics of these tuners on the Neck page of this blog.

Tuner_Bushings Tuner_Bushings_close

The Kluson Deluxe hardware is intended as a direct replacement for tuners on vintage guitars and so the ferrules (or bushes) supplied with them are designed to fit into an 8.7 mm diameter hole. However, the holes on the modern neck that we are using are just slightly over 10 mm so we will be using a set of adaptor ferrules, which are specifically designed for the job of fitting vintage size tuners to modern necks, problem solved!
As you can see from the two pics above, we have now fitted the adaptor ferrules (or bushes) along with a string tree complete with 3 mm spacer. Now that these little jobs are done we can proceed with fitting those vintage Klusons.


Neck complete

We are now going to fit the vintage nickel Klusons. When fitting these tuning machines to a standard modern neck you will have to add adapter ferrules as mentioned above, but it is also necessary to drill a set of pilot holes for the fixing screws. To do this, you need to finger-fit all of the tuners in place to mark the holes. When you finger-fit all of the tuners onto the headstock they should snap together to form a tight line. Then once you are happy with them you can straighten the along a straight edge or ruler to ensure that they are all in line.

HS_unboxing HS_Ruler

When lining up the tuners you are restricted by where the factory drilled holes are and these can vary a great deal, but there should be some play within the adapters, so you should be able to make some tiny adjustments to even things up. There are 7 pilot holes to drill as shown below. All of the existing and unwanted holes which are there to accommodate modern tuner fixings will be covered up by the Klusons.

HS_pilots HS_pilots_close

Once the holes are drilled it’s safe to start fitting the Klusons to the headstock with the supplied screws. The tuners should all be lined up as before so that they snap together in a nice straight line. Then the screws should be added one-by-one before carefully tightening each one evenly.

Blog_HS_1 Blog_HS_2

This neck will now be stored away, ready to be bolted onto the body at a later stage in the build. As you can see from the two pics below the nice amber colour of the nitrocellulose really sets off the tuners for a classic 1970s feel.

Blog_HS_4 Blog_HS_0


Body drilling

Today we are going to drill out all of the necessary conduits for wiring as well as a hole for the jack socket, and of course the iconic ‘mystery hole’ through the body. As you can see from the first of the two pics below, the body has been sanded and is ready for drilling. In the second pic you can see that we are drilling the ‘mystery hole’ using a standard 20mm bit.

Body_sanded Drilling

Mystery hole
The drilling doesn’t have to be too precise. However, the position of the hole is the most important thing. The position of the hole we are drilling is calculated using lots of careful scale measurements taken from pictures of the OG. If the hole is in the wrong position the whole thing will look wrong and there will be no second chances to drill it again! I have written a short piece on the mystery hole on the Home page of this blog and see also the Drilling page for additional info.

Drilled drilled_clean

Jack socket hole
Next, we are drilling out the hole to accommodate the jack socket. The hole will be covered with a square jack plate just like the ones that both Francis and Rick use on their guitars, rather than the traditional push-fit circular type. The jack hole is drilled using the same 20mm bit as the ‘mystery hole’.

Jack_undrilled Jack_drilled

There are two ways to drill out the wiring conduits to connect the various cavities in the body. One way is to drill directly in a straight line from the neck pickup cavity to the main control switch cavity as I did on the previous build (see Drilling complete with diagrams), but this does require a steady hand and a very long drill! Instead, we are going to use the other method which is to drill out the conduits by gradually conecting the various cavities with a regular sized drillbit.

Neck pickup cavity
As you can see below, the first conduit is drilled from the neck pickup cavity through to the wiring channel (not always present on some Tele bodies). This hole is only about 1cm long and enables us to push the two neck pickup wires through to the wiring channel.

Neckpup_undrilled Neckpup_drilled

Wiring channel
The next job is to join that wiring channel to the main control switch cavity. This involves drilling from the far end of the wiring channel through to the control cavity at a slight downhill angle (see pics below). Watch carefully that your drill chuck does not foul the wood as you drill, it’s probably best to lay something thin on the body between the drill chuck and the bare wood. If you do slip up and foul the wood, there’s a good chance that the damage will be covered by the pickguard anyway, but take it slowly and carefully. No that this is done, the two neck pickup wires can continue their route through to the main control cavity.

Channel_undrilled Channel_drilled

Bridge pickup
If you take a look at the two pics below you’ll see that we’re now drilling the final conduit from the bridge pickup cavity through to the main control switch cavity using the same method. It’s worth taking the same precautions as above (placing something on top of the wood as a guard) if you’re worried about fouling the wood with the chuck of your drill.

Bridgepup_undrilled Bridgepup_drilled

The ‘attempted’ mystery hole
The last part of this stage of the build is to add the ‘attempted mystery hole’. I wrote a short piece on this hole (see Drilling) for the last build (s/n RR150002). The hole isn’t really a hole at all, but rather the beginnings of a hole that Francis started to drill but then thought better of it before drilling the final hole that we all know in the now familiar position.

What we are trying to achieve, is to make a small slightly egg-shaped indentation in the body. The indentation is not very deep, but just deep enough to be seen. As you can see from the two pics below we have carefully marked the position with a pencil before drilling and shaping with a countersinking bit. The second pic shows the finished indentation.

Attempted_hole_position Attempted_hole_position_done

Now that all of the drilling is complete, we have a Francis Rossi Telecaster body ready to go the next stages of painting, and relic’ing. By the time we have finished with it, this body will look 25 years older than it does now!

Drilling_complete_front Drilling_complete_back


Bridge pickup assembly

Today we’re going to start work on adapting a standard Telecaster bridge plate as Francis did back in the day. For this job it’s best to use a genuine Fender bridge plate as any kind of pattern part won’t look right and probably won’t fit anyway. It’s really important to have that iconic ‘FENDER PAT PEND.’ text stamped onto the plate for a truly authentic look.

We’re taking a brand new shiny Fender Telecaster bridge plate and we are actually going to saw it in two! It’s important to take some careful measurements from close-up pics of the OG before doing this in order to get the cut in the right place. As you can see from the second of the two pics below, we have made the cut before smoothing and polishing the cut edges. To finish off we’ve rounded off the corners slightly.

Bridge_In_Pack Bridge_cut

The bridge plate is very shiny and new and so we’ve done some very light relic’ing to make it look older. It’s important to remember that at the time of Live Aid the guitar was only about 25 years old. The hardware on the guitar would not have been anywhere near as heavily relic’d as it looks now after 50 years hard use. So, we’ve just applied some very light relic’ing to the bridge plate which is consistent with 25 years use and it’s semi-protected position behind the strings.

As you can see from the first of the two pics below, the whole bridge pickup assembly has been put together and can now be stored away until needed. However, before we wrap the assembly up and store it away we should just check how it fits onto the guitar body for position and proximity to the pickguard. You can also see that we have drilled two new holes for fixing the whole assembly to the guitar body at a later stage.

Bridge_Assy_Complete Bridge_On_Body

In the second of the pics above, you can see that we have placed the assembly onto the body along with a vintage pickguard to check fit. The result is that we can just see a small section of the bridge pickup cavity peeking out from underneath the bridge plate just like on the OG from the period.

Back in the early 1990s when Francis switched to the three lace sensor pickups, the bridge pickup cavity had to be routed out some more to accommodate them and so the cavity is now visible on both sides of the bridge plate.


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. For much more on this detail (see Home>Tailpiece) on the main blog where there is lots more info and pictures of the tailpiece.

We are using a genuine 1960s trapeze from a semi-acoustic guitar to fabricate our tailpiece. I think that this is the way that Francis would have done it at the time, and if you take a look at the two pics below you will see that the main part of the tailpiece with its slanted edges bears a very close resemblance to the one Francis used on the original (see Home>Tailpiece for close-up pics). These vintage trapeze tailpieces are extremely hard to come by, so some very careful and precise work is needed.

complete3 complete3back

Making the tailpiece for this guitar is one of the most tricky parts of the build as there is only one chance to get it right. One slip of a drill or a saw and the whole thing can be ruined and another very expensive tailpiece will have to be sought. It’s best to take everything slowly and to make very precise measurements before doing any drilling. It’s also worth covering the surface of the tailpiece with masking tape over the areas which will be drilled to stop the drill slipping.

complete3standingback 3standing

If you look at the two pics above you’ll see that the tailpiece is designed to be under tension from the strings and should ‘float’. On the guitar that this tailpiece came from, the strings would have been threaded through the set of holes at the rear of the main section and would have emerged from underneath the front (as the main section would have been floating above the guitar body). However, we are going to eventually screw this tailpiece down tightly to the body, which means that it will be necessary to drill six holes in the front so that our strings can emerge to continue their journey up to the tuners. But first, we need to saw off and discard the rear section of the trapeze as it is only the front section that we need for our tailpiece.

3sawn 3sawnback

Now that we have carefully separated the important part from the rest of the trapeze we can get on with the job of drilling those six holes for the strings. Drilling the six holes to the front of the tailpiece is fairly tricky with lots of margin for error and we need to be very precise with spacing and alignment. It’s worth making some sort of template to test on a piece of scrap metal before carrying out the actual drilling.

3drilledfront 3drilledback

As you can see above we have drilled the set of six holes. We now need to drill two further holes which will be used to screw the finished tailpiece to the body of the guitar at a later stage. If you take a look at Francis’ guitar (see Home>Tailpiece) you’ll notice that these holes are not very precisely drilled. In fact they are quite asymmetrical, so we don’t need to be too precise. The holes will look better if they are slightly out of alignment.

3counter TRossi_Tailpiece003

After drilling the two fixing holes we have just countersunk them slightly so that the screws will bed in nicely when we eventually fit the tailpiece to the guitar.


Green and black paint

We’ve now added the first treatment of green paint to the body of the guitar. As you can see we have not painted the general areas which will be bare wood. These areas will be defined (and refined) further later on in the process. The paint and the wood both look very light and new right now and there is still a lot of sanding, ageing and relic’ing to be done before it looks like an old guitar. We’ll leave this paint for a week or so before we do anything with it.

greenpaint1 Black paint_1

As you can see from the second pic above we have applied the black paint to the edge of the guitar body. We have also added the basic layout of forearm wear and various other wear areas identified by doing plenty of research on the OG from the Live Aid period. Once the paint has dried and hardened we will be able to refine and develop the wear patterns further. After that we will be able to move on to some general ageing to give the guitar that patina of a vintage instrument.

When carrying out the painting, please don’t be too worried about achieving a perfect finish as this is (as was the finish on the original guitar) a DIY paint job. Both paints (black and green) should be applied freely with a normal paintbrush. If these finishes are applied with a spray gun or paint pad they will just simply look too good! We’re not aiming for perfection here, in fact we’re aiming for imperfections! It’s also important not to apply too much green as we need to see the grain of the body through the paint. Seeing the swamp ash grain is an important part of the overall look, and is why we are using a swamp ash body just like the OG.


Body (almost) finished

The body is now relic’ed and aged. The green paint has had a varnish treatment to give it that antiqued look and the bare wood parts are aged, but still bare wood. The only bare wood which will be treated will be the back of the guitar body which will have a light coat of wax to emulate the natural shine of wear and also to protect it. All of the other areas of bare wood will continue to wear as time goes on.

body3top body3back

If you take a look at the two pics below you will see that we have placed the some of the hardware onto the body just to give an idea of the final look. Our next item for attention (and one small modification) will be the pickguard.

The pickguard, as you may notice, is the correct period plate with no screw holes on either side of the neck pickup hole, the correct white-black-white 3-ply construction and the correct number of fixing screw holes. However, it’s not perfect yet. We will need to make a small modification to it, and that is to cut out a small notch in the pickguard where it meets the neck.

bodyscratchboard body3hardware

The notch would have originally been to allow access for truss rod adjustment at this end of the neck. Our neck of course has the adjustment at the other end, but this is a small cosmetic detail that helps with overall authenticity. I have covered the ‘notch’ in much more detail in the main blog (see Home>Pickguard) together with some background detail and some pics of Francis’ guitar for reference.


Pickguard modification

As mentioned above, we need to make a slight modification to the pickguard by cutting out a small truss rod adjustment access notch. Francis’ has changed his pickguard a few times over the years and some pickguards have this notch and others don’t. So, it doesn’t really matter if you don’t want to add this detail, but I like to include it on my builds. I have written a lot more on the subject of the pickguard in the main blog, so please take a look there (see Home>Pickguard) for more info.

pickguard plain pickguard marked

As you can see in the first of the two pics above, we are using a period-correct 8-hole vintage white pickguard. The guard is of 3-ply construction (white-black-white) and does not have screw holes for the neck pickup. The reason for the lack of screw holes is that old-style Telecasters had the neck pickup mounted directly onto the body rather than onto the pickguard (which makes removing and/or changing the pickguard very easy). In the second (close-up) pic you can see how we have made a semi-circular mark on the surface of the pickguard to use as a guide for cutting out.

pickguard cut pickguard cut close

After carefully cutting out the notch we now have a pretty unique-looking period pickguard for the build. I think that cutting out this the notch really adds something and is a nice little detail to include on this Francis Rossi Live Aid replica. However, as I mentioned above, making this modification is not critical as the guitar will look just as authentic without it, so it’s entirely up to you if you want to include it.


Hardware

We need to make the assorted bits of metal hardware on the guitar look as though they have been gigged for a decade or so, and to do that we will have to age and relic them. The first of the two pics below shows the shiny new hardware that we need to relic. The second pic shows the hardware after  a series of ageing treatments.

Hardware_unreliced Hardware_Reliced

All that’s necessary to age these various metal items is a fairly light relic’ing. They need to look ‘used’ but not ‘abused’. When relic’ing metal parts it’s best to exercise caution and not to overdo it, as over-ageing of guitar hardware never looks quite right.


Neck and hardware fitting

We won’t be able to fit any of the guitar body hardware until the pickguard is fitted and the pickguard cannot be fitted until the neck and body are joined. So as you can see from the two pics below, we have finally joined the neck and body. The first (and most important) thing to do immediately after joining the neck and body is to screw the pickguard into position, as everything that is fitted from this point onward relates, connects or aligns with the pickguard in some way.

body_neck_front body_neck_back

We have now completed most of the routine hardware-fitting jobs on the guitar and the last two parts to be fitted are the ToM-style bridge and the bridge pickup assembly that we put together earlier in the build. However, before we fit these parts we will need to make an earth connection between the bridge and bridge pickup assembly. This wouldn’t normally be necessary on a regular Tele, as the bridge, pickup and plate are all one piece. However, on this build the bridge is in an isolated position. To make this connection (and not have any unsightly wires show on the surface) we will need to drill a conduit from the pickup cavity through to one of the bridge stud holes.

The first of the two pics below shows the path of the (almost horizontal) hole that we have drilled. The hole should intersect with the vertical hole that we have drilled for the treble-side bridge stud (second pic).

earth earth2

It’s important to remove the pickguard when drilling this hole for two reasons. First, you will need as flat an angle as possible for drilling and secondly, the rotating drill chuck could damage the pickguard. However, it’s really important to refit the pickguard immediately after the hole has been drilled as it will be needed for alignment when fitting the bridge pickup assembly. The second of the two pics above shows how the earth wire is inserted into the horizontal hole and then clamped into position by screwing down the bridge stud. The free end of the earth wire can then be clamped down in between the pickup assembly and the guitar body.

topview1 topview2

As you can see from the two pairs of pics above and below, the neck pickup has been fitted directly into the body, and the relic’d control plate, knobs, ‘Lego tyre’ and jack socket plate are all now fitted. The special custom tailpiece we made earlier in the build from a vintage ’60s trapeze has also been installed using two ordinary wood screws. The bridge pickup assembly has also been screwed down and the ToM-style bridge has been fitted with the saddle adjustment screws facing the bridge pickup (just like on Francis’ guitar). We have even inserted the black Jim Dunlop XL nylon pick that Francis was using around the time of Live Aid underneath the pickguard for that authentic look.

hardware1 hardware2

Go to next post


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

 

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

 

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.

Go to next post


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.

Go to next post


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