Part six of this series was all about what kind of hardware Eddie used and how to find it. Now that we have everything we need, it’s time for final assembly.
To start, I screwed the single coil and five-way switch to the body. You can see on the template how the switch is mounted, with the screws pointing towards the bridge in the wood between the first and second pickup routs. Then I screwed the humbucker directly to the body. Make sure you use screws that are long enough but not too long. You don’t want to screw all the way through the body! Also make sure you get a pole piece of the pickup under each E string.
I’m not very good with a soldering iron, so I had a buddy do the wiring of the humbucker, volume pot, and input jack. Put the input jack in the jack plate and run wire through the rout to the electronics cavity. Solder the jack, pot, and pickup together. Poke a hole in the foil shielding on the pick guard and stick the volume pot through. Tighten it down and then screw the pick guard and jack plate to the guitar. You’ll also have to run a ground wire to the bridge.
I screwed down the 1971 quarter using this photo as a guide and added the tuning keys, string retainer, and locking nut to the neck. Then I took everything to a local guitar repairman and explained exactly what I wanted him to do:
- Adjust the Floyd Rose pivot screws to that the bridge sat parallel to the guitar body when resting on the quarter.
- Adjust the string height by shaving down the heel of the neck.
He did a great job and now the action on the guitar is very nice with the bridge resting on the quarter.
The last thing I did was put a burn mark on the neck. Eddie liked to smoke onstage and the most convenient place to hold his lit cigarette was between the strings on the headstock. I’m not a smoker, so I had to buy my first pack at the local grocery store. It went something like this:
Me: “I’d like a pack of cigarettes.”
Salesperson: “What kind?”
Me: “The cheapest ones you have. I’m not going to smoke them.”
Salesperson: (Befuddled look) “These are pretty cheap.”
Me: “I’ll take them…It’s for a guitar.”
Salesperson: (An even more befuddled look)
I sat the guitar on a stand out on the back porch. I lit a smoke and stuck it between the E and A tuning keys so that the lit portion of the cigarette was in contact with the wood. You’ll probably have to remove the cigarette and take a few puffs to keep it going. Try not to inhale the smoke, and if you are a smoker, try to quit. Eventually, you will have a nice burn on heastock. I still need to go back and add some more burns between the other tuning keys, but judging by the size of the burn, this was Eddie’s favored location.
You’ll notice on the template that there is some electrical tape on the top horn which I didn’t add, and there is also some double-sided tape with a pick on it that I didn’t add. What you can’t see are several amber and red bicycle reflectors that Eddie added to back of his guitar. He also used big hooks to attach his guitar strap, but I didn’t add the reflectors or the hooks. Fender couldn’t find the same reflectors, so that means I can’t either. Maybe some day I’ll add some similar ones, but for now, I’m done.
And that’s it! The last piece of advice I can give you is to play it all the time after you build it. After all, the best way to make it look well used is to use it well!