How Eddie Van Halen Hacks a Guitar
Geege Schuman stashed this in Music
The guitar god is also an inventor and patent holder who has spent the better part of 35 years in this shop, rebuilding guitars and amps, searching for his signature sound
Definitely some nature at play here:
I've always been a tinkerer. It comes from my dad. Growing up, we lived in a house in Pasadena that had no driveway. You used an alley that ran through the middle of the block, behind all the houses, to get to your backyard or the garage. Well, the neighbor behind us had a U-Haul trailer up on car jacks and loaded with cinder block. One night my dad came home from a gig at three in the morning. He had a little heat going, he'd had a few drinks, so he says, "This thing is blocking me from getting in again." So he got out of the car and tried to move it. As soon as he lifted the trailer, the jack fell over, and it chopped his finger off.
This was a problem. Besides the obvious reasons, he played clarinet and saxophone. On a sax, you don't need to seal the hole with your finger. A valve closes over it. But with a clarinet, you have to seal the hole, so he took a saxophone valve cover and adapted it to work on his clarinet.
Another funny thing was later in his life, when he started losing his teeth. You need your bottom teeth to play a reed instrument. Instead of going to the dentist, he made himself a perfectly shaped prosthesis out of white Teflon that filled the gap where his teeth were missing. He slipped that in when he had to play. Watching him do that kind of stuff instilled a curiosity in me. If something doesn't do what you want it to, there's always a way to fix it.
I like his willingness to experiment, even now.
He should live in Fullerton.