Spotlight: The screwdriver that started Feline Guitars
Back in 1984 before i had any aspirations of building and repairing guitars I had already started to play guitar and I owned a cheap Westone Thunder 1 six string.
A hard up musician friend where I was living offered to sell me a cheap Les Paul copy (you know the late 70s type with the bolt on neck and pressed hardboard/plywood top.)
I rather liked the look and feel of the guitar and a deal was struck for £35, and I was as pleased as could be .....apart from keeping the beast in tune.
Like a lot of guitars of that pedigree the tuners of the time were a bit cheap and cheerful, and I decided I was going to upgrade them, and the pickups were quite poor , being a weedy single coil hidden in a humbucker casing.
We had a few guitar shops in Croydon at the time so I popped into one - think it may have been Danda Music to see if they had any tuners .
So I bought a set set of Schaller M6 tuners and a pair of Schaller pickups.which were one of the top easily available choices at the time and decided I would go about putting them on .
Bearing in mind that this was the first time doing anything to a guitar other than changing a string I needed to go and get a screwdriver - so off I popped to the fantastic hardware store we had in croydon called Turtles and selected this very screwdriver and an Antex 25W soldering iron (which I don't have the original of anymore) .
So this effectively became the first tool I ever bought and the start of my tool buying habits, and in a way the tool that I started working on guitars with .
So what about the guitar?
This un-named Les Paul was the second electric guitar that I ever owned.
This picture was taken 1984/5 in my room at Halls of Residence at Middlesex Polytechnic, where I went initially to study Applied Physics.
It wasn't a great guitar technically , although it played really well.
It was the first guitar that I went about modifying, so it's pretty important in the grand scheme of things. You can see the Schaller pickups and the buttons of the M6 machine-heads...
Unfortunately although I was successful soldering the pickups in, the machine-heads needed to have the holes reamed out and I didn't have the specialist reaming tool to do it so I ended up paying the guitar tech at Danda Music: Dave Farmiloe to do it.
My first encounter with a guitar tech as a paying customer.
It may have also been the last time I paid to have anything done as I made it my mission to get good at that sort of thing - even though I had no intention at the time of becoming a guitar builder - I was studying Physics at Uni and used the electronics portion of the course to tinker with my guitar pickups.
That would all change within a year or so, when I discovered from a friend that London College of Furniture did courses in making guitars
I do recall that I stupidly traded this guitar in against the purchase of a better amp than I had - I got a Peavey Backstage Plus with the proceeds at Allan Gordons music in Walthamstow.