Eddie Van Halen himself, writing about his guitars, patents, and tinkering mindset for Popular Mechanics back in 2015:
My playing style really grew from the fact that I couldn’t afford a distortion pedal. I had to try to squeeze those sounds out of my guitar. The first real work I did was in my bedroom. I added pickups, because I didn’t like the sound of the originals.
I couldn’t afford a router—I didn’t even know what a router was—so I started hammering away with a screwdriver. That didn’t work at all. Chunks of wood flew off and there was sawdust flying all over the place. But I was on a mission. I knew what I wanted and I just kept at it until I finally got there.
I also had no idea until this week that he owns several patents for his innovations. Including this one with, quite possibly, the best patent image ever.