In my first post, I explained why I wanted to build a replica of Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstein guitar. In this post, I’m going to cover a little of the history behind the guitar so we know what we’re trying to build.
When Ed set out to build a guitar from scratch, he went to a replacement parts manufacturer called Boogie Bodies that was run by Wayne Charvel and Lynn Ellsworth. He bought a guitar body for $50 and a neck for $80. Both were seconds and purcased at a discount. The body was ash and the neck was a maple capped neck. A maple capped neck is like a maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard, only the fingerboard is maple. This is different from what most people think of as a maple neck: a single piece of maple with a strip of rosewood on the back covering the truss rod.
I did some Google searches and found Lynn Ellsworth’s name associated with Speedster Amps. It seems that he was making amps instead of guitar parts. I gave Speedster a call and spoke to Lynn Ellsworth himself! I’m easily impressed, but that was way cool. I told him about my project and he said “Oh yeah, I know exactly what you want. I’ve got a piece of ash just like Eddie’s is made out of. I’ll cut it for you myself.” I gave him my credit card number and started to wait for the body to arrive. Apparently the amplifier business is good because it took a couple of months to get the body. But once it arrived, it was like holding a piece of history. It was a standard Strat body routed for three single coils and stamped “Boogie Bodies.” The only difference in my body and Ed’s is that mine is routed for a Floyd Rose bridge. You can now get your own Boogie Body at Sound Instruments.
Maple capped necks turned out to be more difficult to find. I finally located a site called 16 Tracks Digital that had what were called “Stratomaster” guitar necks. I got an unfinished maple capped neck for $50. I checked their web site while researching this post and they no longer carry Stratomaster necks so you’ll have to find another source, but they’re out there.