As a big fan of Eddie Van Halen, I long caressed the dream to add to my harem of girlfriends (aka my guitars) a Frankenstrat.
I’ve always been fascinated by electric guitars with a single pickup (Les Paul Jr, SG Jr, Esquire, etc.) and the Frankenstrat is a very good specimen of that category.
So the Frankenstrat Project is born!
Objective of the project: build a replica as faithful as possible of the famous Frankenstrat guitar in its version called VH1 (Van Halen 1) in a reasonable budget (see below). More precisely, I will have the guitar built by pros as I am way too conscious of my limited ability in that area.
A photo of the famous original Frankenstrat:
Initial project budget: between 500 and 1000 € (i.e. 680 to 1365 US$)
Originally I thought I could start from one of my old guitars, an old japanese Charvel Model 3 from the 90s but after I researched the subject, I learned that the neck pocket of these guitars is not standard Strat. So it would not be possible to put a stock Strat neck with the body.
I used the word “initial” for the budget because I thought I would entirely fund the project myself but after talking with my guitar luthier Patrick Querleux (based near where I live in Patis, France) he proposed to sponsor the project. I would only need to pay for parts and supplies.
Furthermore Patrick told me good things about EG Solidbody which build necks and bodies. I contacted Denis Souvray from EG Solidbody and he gladly agreed to provide me with a complimentary body, neck, vibrato and tuning machines.
A huge thank you in advance to Patrick Querleux and EG Solidbody which allow me to have a revised budget well below € 500 for paints, varnishes and pickup.
Some examples of the beautiful guitars built by Patrick Querleux
Revised Project Budget: less than 500 €
Important note about the project: the most important part for me is the sound of the instrument, aesthetic is certainly important, but not essential. So there won’t be probably the famous black stripes on the final guitar. The original wood species are true to the original as much as possible and the vibrato will be a vintage-style one rather than a Floyd Rose used in later versions of the Frankenstrat.
- Ash Body
- Maple neck
- 22 jumbo frets, radius 12 “(yes the original is 21 but hey, it’s MY project right ?)
- 6 screws vintage tremolo
- Strat style tuning machine
- Bronze nut (not 100% sure)
- Black pickguard with a single location for the bridge pickup
- 1 humbucker
- 1 volume
- Jack Strat-type
Of course, the major interest of this project will be to chronicle the project various stages of the guitar, from the construction of the body to the finish made by luthier. The highlight of the project is of course a complete soundseeing guitar.
I swear, you will know everything!
Next article: the first pictures of the body.