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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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

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Neck pickup

In this post we are going to fit perhaps the most unused component of a Status Quo guitar… the neck pickup! However, our Francis Rossi guitar would look very odd without it, so we still need to fit it, wire it up and have it fully functioning.

Old style pickup installation
As mentioned in a previous post (see Pickguard) there are no screw holes in the pickguard for mounting the neck pickup. This is because the neck pickup on older Teles was mounted directly into the pickup cavity in the body rather than screwed in through the guard. So fitting/adjusting the neck pickup isn’t quite as straightforward as it is on a modern Tele.

In order for the pickup to be fitted correctly and to allow height adjustment to be carried out, we are going to use two standard screws threaded through two mounting springs sandwiched between the pickup and body. The pickup will float on the two springs and a certain amount of height adjustment will be possible if required. The body has already been drilled to accommodate the passing of all necessary wiring between the three main cavities (see Drilling) so there is nothing to stop us installing the neck pickup at this stage in the build.

neck_threadin neck_threadout

The two pics above show the wires of the new pickup being threaded into the pre-drilled conduit in the neck pickup cavity and out the other side into the control panel cavity. These wires along with the two from the bridge pickup can just be coiled up in the control panel cavity in readiness for soldering into place at a later stage in the build.

Spring mounting
After drilling two holes in the base of the body cavity we can assemble the pickup, screws and springs as shown in the first of the two pics below. The pickup is then carefully screwed into position, making sure that it can still be freely adjusted at any height and that it does not get stuck anywhere. The second pic shows the pickup fitted nicely into the cavity. We are now ready to cover all of this up with the pickguard. It’s worth noting here that the pickguard should not need to be removed again as all of the wire ends are now hanging loose in the control panel cavity.

neck_springs neck_fitted

Final adjustments
If pickup height is critical it should be adjusted before screwing down the pickguard as any further adjustment is impossible on older style Teles once the pickguard is fitted.

As you can see in the first of the two pics below, we have now refitted the pickguard. The second pic is taken from down low to show how the pickup has been left adjusted fairly high for now. The height is fairly unimportant if you’re playing Status Quo songs anyway, but it’s nice to know that the pickup is fully wired up and operational, should you ever have the urge to use it.

neck_topview Neck_long

Check out this clip below of Quo performing A Mess Of Blues from 1984. There are many excellent views of the guitar throughout the performance (especially during the solo) and even more after the song when Francis (who has a broken string) and Rick are chatting to Noel Edmonds and we get to see extended views of the guitar including a few glimpses of the back.

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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

 

Pickguard

We’re taking time out to have a look at the pickguard which will only be fitted once the neck and body are joined. There are a couple of details to be considered where the pickguard is concerned and we are going to use a vintage white pickguard (pictured below) to which we will make a small modification.

If you take a look at both pics below you will notice a very important detail… there are no screw holes in the pickguard for mounting the neck pickup. This is because the neck pickup on older Teles was mounted directly into the pickup cavity in the body rather than screwed in through the guard. However, it’s not going to be a case of just fitting it to the body as this guard will need a slight modification…

If you look closely at the second pic (of Francis in action) you will see that there is a small notch cut out of the pickguard at the heel of the neck to allow for truss rod adjustment. In order for the guard to look authentic we will need to incorporate this tiny detail.

The notch isn’t always visible in pics of Francis’ guitar from the 1970s–80s, sometimes this is due (depending on camera angle) to it being obscured from view behind the heel of the neck and sometimes the notch isn’t even there! I suspect that the latter is due to the fact that various pickguards have come and gone over the years as they are easy to swap over (especially with body-mounted pickups) and access to the truss rod is not really a daily requirement for any guitarist.

Scratchboard_NEW OG_notch

So, after some consideration on whether to include the notch or not, I’ve decided to go with with it, as I think it’s a nice little detail. So we’re going with a 3-ply (white/black/white) 8-hole pattern vintage white guard without neck pickup screw holes and the truss rod adjustment notch. The addition of the notch is purely cosmetic, as our neck has the truss rod adjustment at the headstock and pickguards with the truss rod notch cut out are not widely available, so… we will have to modify the one we have.

As you can see from the two pics below, we have carefully cut out the correct style notch prior to relic’ing and fitting. Once the neck is complete and has been joined to the body we will be able to fit the guard. It’s worth noting here that the final positions of all body hardware are determined by their proximity to the pickguard, so it’s important to get the pickguard screwed down as soon as the body and neck are joined.

Scratchboard_CUT Scratchboard_CLOSE

Take a look at this video of Quo in 1977 performing Rockin’ All Over The World on German TV. The truss rod adjustment notch can be seen clearly from about 1.10 for a few seconds. This is enough of a view for you to pause and take a good look. Here’s the clip.

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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

Neck

Neck (phase 1)

The neck we are using for this build is taken from a modern Tele and therefore has the usual polyurethane finish which is applied to new guitars these days. However, for our build we are going to need a vintage amber nitrocellulose lacquered finish in order for the neck to look the part.

The neck that we are using on this guitar was rubbed down in an early stage of this build (see Parts used for this build) and is ready for its first coats of lacquer. To replicate the look of Francis’ guitar we need an initial application of a warm vintage amber nitro lacquer. There is no other way to get the right look other than to use nitro as it has a unique look and feel and will yellow and crack with age, all of which will add to that vintage Tele feel as the guitar continues to age with time and use.

Amber_1 Amber_2

As you can see from the two pics above, we have applied several coats of amber nitrocellulose lacquer to the neck. When these coats of lacquer harden we will apply Roots Replicas decals and then finish with a clear nitro top coat to seal everything.

When the finished neck is fully hardened we will relic it by replicating all of the wear marks present on the fretboard at the 1985–86 period. It’s important to note that at various stages Francis has had the fretboard refinished and so the wear marks have come and gone over the years. However, I believe that the wear marks from our time period (see below) predate any refinishing and are original.

Neck_wear1_Rossi Neck_wear2_Rossi

The clip below is a performance of Down Down taken from Top Of The Pops back in 1975 and provides some good views of the neck for reference.


Neck (phase 2)

Work on the neck is progressing nicely and as you can see from the pics below, the amber colour is now slightly darker with the addition of more lacquer coats. We have now added the decals but we still need to add a few coats of clear nitrocellulose over the next week or so. When this is done we can start adding the hardware to the neck prior to fitting to the body of the guitar.

Neck and decal 1 Headstock decal

Hardware
When the neck is eventually finished and hardened up we will be able to start adding hardware. The most important element of which are the 6 in-line tuners. We can’t even consider using modern Fender-style chrome-plated chunky tuners on this build as they will compromise the entire look of the finished guitar. Instead, we will be fitting brand new genuine Klusons which are identical to the ones used on Francis (and Rick’s) Teles originally.

Quite often, Rossi replicas are fitted with lookalike tuners, which are pretty good in the main but are not quite right. In fact there are even some genuine Klusons out there which are not quite right either. In order to be authentic the casing on the back of each tuner unit should be stamped with Kluson Deluxe (as below), all in capital letters and set out in two vertical lines of text with the distinctive lined pattern in between.

Klusons Boxed Klusons Close up

Most Kluson copies have no wording on the backs and/or just the lined pattern and one or two genuine Klusons don’t have the wording set out exactly as above. There are of course plenty of excellent quality copies out there too, but the tuners that we are using are the same as the ones on the OG.

The genuine Klusons we are using are also nickel-plated. This is important because they need to have that correct nickel colour to look right. Some lookalike tuners are chrome-plated and whilst they do a perfectly good job as tuners they do not have that vintage nickel colour which we need here and which adds so much authenticity to a rebuild such as this. Francis and Rick both kept the same sets of original tuners on their guitars for years, but these days they get changed once per year on average, so I believe.


Neck (complete)

Headstock
The neck is finally finished and has been slightly buffed up, although the finish is not really ‘shiny and new’, it’s more ‘vintage’ and ‘well used’ with a few dings here and there.

As you can see from the first two pics below, we have now added those classic Kluson tuners to the headstock. The Klusons really complete the classic period look, and are well worth the extra expense in my view.

Headstock_Complete Headstock_Complete_2

Neck
You’ll see from the first pic below that the neck on Francis’ guitar does not feature the inlayed dark wood ‘skunk stripe’ inlay which covers the truss rod on modern Tele necks. As already covered (see Parts used for this build) on this blog, Francis’ guitar has a 2-piece maple neck (correct term is maple board neck as the fretboard glued to the maple neck can also be made of dark rosewood) with the truss rod inserted prior to fretboard fitting, resulting in no ‘stripe’.

Our neck (second pic) is a much more economical 1-piece copy but with the bonus of not having the stripe (as the truss rod channel has been drilled out). The adjustment for the truss rod is at the headstock instead of at the heel, but the overall look, coupled with the truss rod adjustment notch (see Pickguard) and the Klusons, is pretty close.

Rossi_Neck_Back Roots_Neck_Back

Fretboard wear
If you take a look at the two pics below you will be able to compare the various wear patches on the fretboard to the OG as seen on the cover sleeve of the Rollin’ Home single. We have replicated the wear as closely as possible using the Rollin’ Home pic as the primary reference for the period. Other references from the same era which could be referred to are the In The Army Now tour programme (section entitled The Armoury) and of course, pics and footage from Live Aid. If you look closely at the two pics you will notice that the spacing of the two dots (11th/12th frets) is narrower on Francis’ guitar. This is something that we have not been able to replicate, but it’s a detail worth observing if you were making a neck from scratch.

Neck_wear1_Rossi Roots_Wear_Marks

From 1950 onward there were many changes to the specifications of Broadcaster/Telecaster necks and if your interested in finding out more there are many books on the subject, one of which is The Fender Telecaster: The Detailed Story of America’s Senior Solid Body Electric Guitar (By AR Duchossoir)

Now that the neck is finally finished and has had all of it’s hardware added, we will be able to join it to the body very soon. Many thanks for continuing to follow this blog.


Body and neck (joined)

Neck plate
We have now joined the finished neck and body together and locked them together with a neck plate. The part we have used is a standard Fender un-numbered ‘F’ plate which has been lightly relic’ed. It is possible to buy period ‘F’ plates with their original serial numbers but they can be very expensive.

A note on serial numbers
Fender serial numbering follows a standard sequential numbering system. 1950–1954 instruments are numbered 0–10,000s, 1957 ranges from 10,000s–20,000s, for 1958 the range is 20,000s–30,000s and for 1959 it’s 30,000s–40,000s. However, it’s not as straightforward as it appears. As production is unlikely to end with a round number on the 31st of December each year there is some inevitable overlap in the numbering system which means that the 20,000s range could contain both ’57 and ’58 models, the 30,000s range could contain both ’58 and ’59 models and so on. This overlapping (but sequential) numbering scheme continued as Fender were making around about 10,000 instruments in any given year during the mid to late 1950s. This carried on until 1961 when it looks like production doubled as the number range for that year was 50,000s–70,000s. Then, in 1962 the range jumped to 60,000s–90,000s. 1963 started off with a range of 80,000s–90,000s, but as production increased, they introduced an ‘L’ prefix to the system. So, the final 1963 number range was 80,000s–90,000s–L10,000s–L20,000s. 1964 was L20,000s–50,000s. The ‘L’ prefixed numbers continued into 1965, but by the end of that year Fender went into the 100,000s and dropped the prefix.

The ‘F’ plate on Francis’ guitar has the number 116959 stamped on it which raises a couple of issues with dates as the ‘F’ plate was not introduced until late 1965 and the 116,000s number dates from early 1966.
The first of the two pics below is of a 1957 neck plate, which is plain in design and features the serial number only (a 16,000s number which is consistent with the 1957, five-digit number range). The second pic is of the plate currently fitted to Francis’ guitar which features an ‘F’ stamped into the plate and a six-digit number, both of which are inconsistent with all 1957–59 models. Looking at all of the above we can only conclude that the plate comes from another mid-1960s guitar.

1957_Neck_Plate FR_Serial_Number

One possibility (although doubtful) may be that the neck plate was transposed from another guitar in the Quo camp. There are a couple of replica guitars with different tunings used by Francis on the tour, as well as a backup replica and maybe a few more besides, but the ‘Down Down’ guitar can be ruled out as it’s 1968 model as far as I know. We will probably never know the answer to where the ‘F’ plate came from, or even when it was fitted, but I’m sure there’s an interesting story behind it. The most important thing to remember is that Francis’ guitar had an ‘F’ plate fitted at the time of Live Aid.

A note on neck colour
You can see how dark the neck appears on Francis’ guitar in the first pic below. The pic is relatively recent and the neck (and the back of the guitar) are significantly darker now than they were back in 1985–86. It’s highly likely that the neck (like the fretboard) has been refinished several times either with a darker colour or it’s just that successive coats of amber have darkened it, or it may have just darkened with age. If you return to the Rollin’ Home pics or the Live Aid pics, or any of the period videos posted on this blog you will see how much lighter the neck used to be. If the neck has been refinished several times, it might explain how the area around the Fender logo looks a lot lighter in colour than the rest of the headstock these days.

Rossi_Neckplate Roots_Neckplate

Fitting the pickguard
Now that the neck and body are permanently joined we are able to add a few bits and pieces and the first and most important part to add at this stage is the pickguard. As mentioned in a previous post, the positioning of all body hardware is dependent on proximity to the pickguard, so it should be added as soon as the body and neck are assembled. The pickguard has now been lightly relic-ed and fitted to the assembled guitar using some salvaged pickguard screws from an old guitar.

Joined_Front Joined_Back

Bridge pickup assembly
In addition to fitting the pickguard, we have also installed the relic’ed pickup and cut-down bridge plate assembly that we put together previously in the build (see The build begins…). We still need to add the neck pickup and lots more besides, but the build is fianlly starting to resemble a guitar.

Bareback!
The second pic above shows the assembled guitar from the back. As mentioned previously our body is a standard 2-piece rather than the 3-piece used on Francis’ guitar. However, the 3-piece look could be replicated quite easily with some careful relic’ing of the body to darken the three areas which make up the sections on the OG. I have decided not to do that on this build as I’d like this guitar back to wear and to get dented and dirty naturally over time. The back of the body on Francis’ guitar is just bare wood, but it has naturally become dirty and shiny (almost looking like a wax finish) over some 50 years of gigging, so when the build is finished (to replicate the look) we will apply a very minimal thin coat of clear wax to afford a little protection against marking. The guitar back will still be essentially bare wood though.

A very early Frantic Four clip for you here. This is Quo performing In My Chair from 1971. There are some great close ups of the guitar throughout this video. You will notice that the pickguard fitted on the guitar in this clip appears to have a large cigarette burn, or something similar, on it. This pickguard was around for a while as it features on a few appearances from this period.

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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

Body finishes

Body finishes (phase 1)

Today the body has had a few coats of special green paint applied to the front and a couple of coats of black to the sides, check out the pics below. These initial applications are all that is necessary for the right look. It’s important not to add too much green paint as the colour we now have will alter slightly during the ageing and relic’ing process. So, there won’t be any further coats of either colour paint to these areas. There will be a small area of black paint to replicate on the rear of the body, but this is very small and can be done at a later stage in the build.

Body_paint1 Body_paint2

It will take some time for the paint to fully dry and harden and the waiting time for this varies from body to body. When the paint is fully dry though, the entire body will be aged and relic’d. So, all of the various patches of wear and tear present on the OG in 1985–86 will be faithfully replicated and the paintwork will be aged and worn to look like it was applied 15 years previously.

The relic’ing process will reveal lots of areas of bare wood and let’s not forget that the entire back of this guitar body is bare wood too. So, all such areas will have to be aged in accordance with the time period. This is a separate process from the general paint ageing and the general wear and tear relic’ing. When the ageing process is finished, the bare wood areas will remain just that… aged bare wood.


Body finishes (phase 2)

We’ve now done some initial relic’ing to the body. The patterns of wear on the OG in the mid to late 1980s are quite complex, especially the main area of wear created by Francis’ forearm and wrist. If we were building the 2014 version of the OG it would be quite easy to replicate the various wear patterns, as they are much simpler these days. as lots more paint has worn away. However, in our time period they were more complex and references are pretty hard to find, but they do exist… if you know where to look.

relic01 relic04

You’ll see from looking at the first of the above two pics that all of the main wear patterns have been set out. This has been achieved by taking very detailed measurements from close-up shots and various video stills taken at the time. It’s worth noting here that the general wear and tear on this guitar body (and the neck of course) is the most important thing to replicate. I have seen a huge quantity of Francis Rossi replica Telecasters and the common factor with most of them seems to be that they have an approximation of the wear marks. Of all the replicas I’ve seen, there are maybe one or two which come reasonably close to reproducing the wear, but I’ve still yet to see one which is exactly right. So, to the best of my knowledge, and after a great deal of research on the subject, I can say that I believe we are creating the most authentic version of wear marks for the Live Aid period on this build.

relic02 relic03

There is still a lot more to do in order to make this guitar body appear to have aged significantly since being sanded back to bare wood in 1971 up until 1986 (a 15-year period of heavy gigging and wear). So, everything you see above still looks fairly fresh and new including all that new looking wood. A lot of the dings and marks, and even the green paint, you see in the above pics will be subject to further refinement, sanding, dulling down, and ageing. In my next post I will reveal the finished guitar body…


Body finishes (complete)

Body front and sides

At last, following a few weeks of various relic’ing and ageing treatments, the body is now ready and I can finally post some pics. We’re not quite in a position where we can add any hardware or electrics yet, but we have been able to fit the two strap studs to the body.

Finished_Body_01 Finished_Body_02

As you can see from the two pics above and the two below, the whole body has been relic’d and aged in accordance with all of the wear marks present at the time of Live Aid. All areas of wear have remained as bare wood, but have been made to look much older than the new wood (which can still be seen in the main pickup and control cavities). The bare wood areas have been left as ‘unfinished’ because that’s the way the OG is… the green paint has simply worn away over time leaving behind bare wood.

Just as Francis’ guitar has continued to lose green paint and has slowly revealed more bare wood since Live Aid, so will this guitar. Whoever ends up owning and playing it will gradually add their own character to it over the years, as their playing will continue the wear and tear process in an authentic way. The wood will get dirty and shiny (just like the OG) and the green paint will continue to wear away.

Finished_Body_03 Finished_Body_04

Body back

Below are a couple of pics of the back of the guitar body in a ‘bare wood’ state. The only paint added to this surface is the black patch you can see on the reverse side of the neck pocket. This patch will be covered almost entirely by the neck plate later on in the build. However, there are a few areas of black which poke out from under the neck plate (as on the OG).

Finished_Body_05 Finished_Body_06

Why have we bothered with the black patch? If you cast your mind back to my ‘quick history’ in an earlier post you will remember that Francis originally painted this guitar black before rubbing it down again, with the initial intention of having it finished as natural wood instead and that all of this happened before any green paint was applied. So, I’m now going to make a few assumptions about the order of things, as I don’t know for sure and neither does anyone else as far as I’m aware…

It is my belief that the guitar was taken apart (neck and body separated) for the black paint to be applied, which would explain why it pokes out from under the neck plate to this day. But, maybe the guitar wasn’t taken apart at all and the black was simply painted around the plate…who knows? However, I think that when the black paint was sanded off, the guitar was not taken apart and so Francis sanded down the black paint as best he could with the neck plate still in place but didn’t quite get it all off. We’ll probably never know the answer to that one, but whatever the story, that is how the black paint looks around the neck plate and so we can at least get that detail right.

OG_Back_01 OG_Wear_01

Details from the original guitar (OG)

The first of the two pics above shows Francis holding the OG and the paint can be seen clearly. The black paint around the neck plate is the most overlooked detail in all of the Francis Rossi replicas I’ve ever seen. It’s a very small, and perhaps not that significant detail, but one that we must include in this build for the sake of authenticity. This pic is quite recent and a lot clearer than others I have, so I’ve used it for the purpose of showing this small area of black paint. However, the back of the guitar in this pic is a lot dirtier than it was in 1985! The one thing I have not done on this build is to recreate the dirt and grime. This will happen naturally over time with handling and playing and will look all the more authentic for it.

The second of the two pics (not very clear I’m afraid) also features Francis holding the OG and shows the wear pattern created by his forearm, which we have created faithfully on this build (see above pics). This pic is much closer to the Live Aid period and you can see that the back of the guitar is a lot cleaner too!

Here’s a clip of Quo performing Don’t Waste My Time and Paper Plane live at the Marquee in 1972. The now famous Paper Plane promo video actually featured the footage from this clip but was overdubbed (perfectly) with the studio track.

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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

Drilling

We’re starting to look at the body today and drilling some of the necessary holes prior to any sanding or painting. There are a couple of holes required between the three main cavities in the body to allow wiring to be threaded through later on in the build. It’s important to do the drilling at this early stage so that it’s done and out of the way as drilling these holes at a later stage in the build could prove very difficult indeed.

Bodydrill_01 Bodydrill_02

The first of the pics above shows the three main conduits which need to be drilled out to allow the pickups and controls to be connected together under the surface of the wood. The second pic shows the two main pickup conduits. The left hand hole will house the bridge pickup to control plate wires and the hole on the right will be used to connect the controls with the neck pickup. Drilling these holes is very tricky and it’s best to set up some sort of jig or guide for the drill so as not to veer off course and (nightmare scenario) break through the surface of the body!

Bodydrill_03 Bodydrill_04

The first of these two pics above shows the hole for the bridge pickup to control plate as seen from the bridge pickup cavity. The second pic shows the hole necessary for the jack to be inserted before being connected with the controls.

Bodydrill_05 1970s

You will also notice in the above pic that we have now drilled the famous ‘mystery hole’ in the body. The hole has been drilled to the same diameter and is in the same position as on the OG. If you look just above the mystery hole you will see a smaller, rounded, indentation toward the top of the body. This is a replication of a small mark created by Francis at his first attempt to drill the main hole. He must have stopped pretty quickly and decided to site the hole lower down at the last minute. This particular detail is a small, not quite circular, rounded and concave indentation which takes quite a lot of digging out and smoothing many times over before it looks right. The second pic of Rick and Francis provides a great view of both holes.

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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

The build begins…

The bridge plate

Bridge_Pickup_01

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.

Bridge_Pickup_02

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.

Bridge_Pickup_06

As you can seewe 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.

Bridge_Pickup_07 Bridge_Pickup_10

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.

Rossi_Bridge Plate Roots_Bridge_Branded

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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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

Parts used for this build

Body

New Body Boxed Front New Body Boxed Back

For this build we are going to use a solid swamp ash body just like Francis’ guitar. The OG (Original Guitar) is actually a 3-piece swamp ash, but a 2-piece body with a right grain type is more widely available so that is what we are using. The body is carefully selected for overall colour and grain match to the original as closely as possible.

Neck

Squier Neck 1 Squier Neck 2

The neck we are using is a standard 1-piece (21-fret) maple neck, with access to the truss rod via the headstock. This is not an exact replica of the OG neck as the original neck is a 2-piece maple with the truss rod adjustment at the heel. However, the important thing is that the neck does not feature the ubiquitous ‘skunk stripe’ seen running down the back of the neck on many replica builds. An original 2-piece neck would be cost-prohibitive here, so we’re going with something which looks the part.

General hardware
As much as possible (and where it is important) we will be using genuine Fender parts…

New Bridge Plate New F Plate

A standard Fender bridge plate and ‘F’ plate are essentials for this guitar to look authentic. Try to cut corners on these details and the finished guitar just won’t look right.

New Tune-o-matic New Jack Plate

Above is a Tune-o-matic style bridge. The TOM bridge has been around since the early 1950s and was introduced by Gibson. The bridge that we are using here is a very high quality copy.

Another important detail to get right is the jack socket. Both Francis and Rick have the square jack plate installed on their Telecasters. The common sunken circular jack has many problems associated with it including not being able to insert angled leads and also the jack cup falling out on stage.

This is Paper Plane (UK release: 18 June, 1972). There are some great close-up shots beginning at 1:11 and there are plenty of opportunities, throughout the video, to see the various patches of wear and tear on the guitar body.

Thanks for reading the blog so far and please join me for my next post where we will start with the bridge plate.

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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