Tag Archives: Frankenstrat

EVH/Fender Eruption ’78

The latest piece of gear to arise out of Eddie Van Halen’s arsenal is perhaps the best throwback to the past that Eddie himself has ever thought of.

The guitar that changed everything is now on sale from EVH Gear. The guitar is based almost 100% on the original black and white Frankenstrat that Eddie himself built way back in 1974, and extensively modified over the years and played with on the seminal Van Halen debut album, and on their first world tour as well.

Yes, a replica of the guitar below is for sale, provided you can afford it.

Image result for eddie van halen eruption guitar

Picture courtesy http://www.vhnd.com/2017/09/08/recording-eruption/

There are three different limited-edition versions of this release. These are the Super ’78 (8 pieces available only), ’78 Eruption Relic (30 pieces available only) and the ’78 Eruption (40 pieces available only). That a total of 78 pieces available in total, ironic given the name of the reissue.

So, what are the differences between the three remodeled replica guitars? The ’78 Eruption essentially is what Eddie Van Halen used prior to going on the world tour. The ’78 Eruption Relic is what Eddie had after the first world tour. The Super ’78 is much more a collector’s item, with everything relic’d down to the last detail.

So, which is the best? That is down to individual preference. Obviously, the three options are there to pick and choose from. Let’s look at each model, including additional accessories, as a comparison guide, courtesy of http://www.evhgear.com/extras/eruption/:

Eddie mentioned on http://www.evhgear.com that the original Frankstrat was his all-time favourite guitar and that the ’78 Eruption guitars are the closest to the original as possibly can be.

Image result for eddie van halen eruption guitar 2018

Picture courtesy http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/eddie-van-halen-unveils-new-eruption-model-guitars/

 

’78 ERUPTION:

GUITAR SPECIFICATIONS:

GENERAL:

Model Name: ’78 Eruption

Model Number: 5107878010

Series: Limited Edition

MSRP: $7878.78

Colour: Black and White Stripes

BODY:

Body Shape: Sharp Radius Stratocaster®

Body Material: Ash

Body Finish: Thin Nitrocellulose Lacquer

NECK:

Neck Material: 2-Piece Birdseye Maple

Scale Length: 25.5” (648mm)

Fingerboard Radius: 12” (305 mm)

Number of Frets: 21

Fret Size: Jumbo

String Nut: Brass

Nut Width: 1.685” (42.8 mm)

Neck Plate: 61071 Stamped Neck Plate

Neck Finish: Hand-Rubbed Oil

Fingerboard: AA Birdseye Maple

Position Inlays: Katalox

ELECTRONICS:

Bridge Pickup: EVH® Frankenstein® Humbucking Bridge Pickup

Controls: Volume (500K EVH® Bourns Low Friction Pot)

Pickup Switching: None

Pickup Configuration: H

HARDWARE:

Bridge: Vintage Fender® Stratocaster® Bridge with a Kluson® Brass Block

Tuning Machines: Schaller® Diecast

Orientation: Right-Hand

Hardware Finish: Chrome

Pickguard: 1-Ply Black

Control Knobs: Aged White

MISCELLANEOUS:

Strings: ‘70s Era Super Bullets

ACCESSORIES:

  • Autographed Van Halen vinyl
  • Custom-made period correct G&G case
  • ’78 Chain Strap
  • 3-in-One Oil Can
  • Signed Certificate of Authenticity
  • Two packs of ‘70s-era Fender® Super Bullets strings in recreated packaging
  • Van Halen ‘70s tortoiseshell picks
  • Backstage Pass vinyl cloth sticker on the case plus one unused sticker inside
  • 8” X 10” 1978 Concert Photo of Eddie Van Halen
  • Exclusive Eruption Collector’s Booklet

 

’78 ERUPTION RELIC:

GUITAR SPECIFICATIONS:

GENERAL:

Model Name: ’78 Eruption Relic

Model Number: 5107878000

Series: Limited Edition

MSRP: $12500.00

Colour: Black and White Stripes

BODY:

Body Shape: Sharp Radius Stratocaster®

Body Material: Ash

Body Finish: Thin Nitrocellulose Lacquer

NECK:

Neck Material: 2-Piece Birdseye Maple

Neck Shape: Custom

Scale Length: 25.5” (648 mm)

Fingerboard Radius: 12” (305 mm)

Number of Frets: 21

Fret Size: Mowed Down Jumbo Frets

String Nut: Brass

Nut Width: 1.685” (42.8 mm)

Neck Plate: 61071 Stamped Neck Plate

Neck Finish: Hand-Rubbed Oil

Fingerboard: AA Birdseye Maple

Position Inlays:

ELECTRONICS:

Bridge Pickup: EVH® Frankenstein® Humbucking Bridge Pickup

Controls: Volume (500K EVH® Bourns Low Friction Pot)

Pickup Switching: None

Pickup Configuration: H

HARDWARE:

Bridge: Vintage Fender® Stratocaster® Bridge with a Kluson® Brass Block

Tuning Machines: Schaller® Diecast

Hardware Finish: Chrome Relic®

Pickguard: 1-Ply Black

Control Knobs: Aged White

MISCELLANEOUS:

Strings: ‘70s era Super Bullets .009-.040

ACCESSORIES:

  • Autographed Van Halen vinyl
  • Custom-made period correct G&G case with relic’d handle and latches
  • Exclusive Eruption Collector’s Booklet
  • ’78 chain strap
  • 3-in-one oil can
  • Signed Certificate of Authenticity
  • Two packs of ‘70s-era Fender® Super Bullets strings in recreated packaging
  • Van Halen ‘70s Tortoiseshell picks
  • Backstage Pass vinyl cloth sticker on the case plus one unused sticker inside
  • 8” X 10” 1978 concert photo of Eddie Van Halen

 

SUPER ’78 ERUPTION:

GUITAR SPECIFICATIONS:

GENERAL:

Model Name: Super ‘78

Model Number: 5101078002

Series: Limited Edition

MSRP: $25000.00

Colour: White with Black Stripes

BODY:

Body Shape: Sharp Radius Stratocaster®

Body Material: Ash

Body Finish: Thin Nitrocellulose Lacquer

NECK:

Neck Material: 2-Piece Birdseye Maple

Neck Shape: Custom

Scale Length: 25.5” (648 mm)

Fingerboard Radius: 12” (305 mm)

Number of Frets: 21

Fret Size: Jumbo

String Nut: Brass

Nut Width: 1.685” (42.8 mm)

Headstock: Large ‘70s Style

Neck Plate: 61071 Stamped Neck Plate

Fingerboard: AA Birdseye Maple

Position Inlays: Katalox   

ELECTRONICS:

Bridge Pickup: EVH® Frankenstein® Humbucking Bridge Pickup

Controls: Volume (500K EVH®

Pickup Switching: None

Pickup Configuration: H

HARDWARE:

Bridge: Vintage Fender® Stratocaster® Bridge with a Kluson® Brass Block

Tuning Machines: Scaller® Diecast

Orientation: Right-Hand

Hardware Finish: Chrome Relic®

Pickguard: 1-Ply Black

Control Knobs: Aged White

MISCELLANEOUS:

Strings: ‘70s era Super Bullets .009-.040

ACCESSORIES:

  • Eddie Van Halen played “Eruption” and signed the back of the headstock on each of the Super ’78 guitars, which was filmed and will be placed on an EVH thumb drive for the instrument’s future owner.
  • Autographed Van Halen
  • Autographed Van Halen rare original Looney Tunes Merrie Melodies
  • Custom-made period correct G&G case with tour-worn outer treatment and distressed latches.
  • Exclusive Eruption Collector’s Booklet
  • ’78 Chain Strap
  • 3-in-One oil in its period-correct can
  • Signed Certificate of Authenticity
  • Two packs of ‘70s-era Fender® Super Bullets strings in recreated packaging
  • Van Halen ‘70s Tortoiseshell picks
  • Backstage Pass vinyl cloth sticker on the case plus one unused sticker inside
  • Signed 8”X10” 1978 concert photo of Eddie Van Halen

 

Note that these guitars are hand built. If you are wealthy and are a big EVH fan, be sure to check out this guitar series. It won’t last forever, be sure to order yours today if you are keen.

This is the very latest release from Eddie Van Halen himself. The Van Halen community hopes that more innovative guitars and music are on their way ahead in future years to come.

Image result for eddie van halen signature

Picture courtesy http://www.signaturesdb.com/singers/eddie-van-halen-autograph/

 

References:

  1. Summer NAMM 2018 EVH ’78 Eruption Guitars Overview. Sweetwater, YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0KSuIt3T_I&t=3s

EVH/Fender Frankenstrat

Once Eddie Van Halen and crew pulled their act together and a new contract with Fender was signed, Fender became a reliable and productive ally for Eddie Van Halen. Historically Eddie had fallouts with each company that he had been with after a period of generally five to ten years. Since being with Fender, Eddie has not wavered in his faith with that company for the service that has been provided to him.

Fender granted Eddie Van Halen his right to market their products under his outlet called EVH Gear. The first fruit of this collaboration came in 2006, when Fender began a limited edition run of custom made Frankenstrats with specifications to be the exact same as the final incarnation of the original Frankenstrat that he had built and modified over a time frame of many years. This is truly a collector’s piece, provided that you are able to afford it.

The principle man to deal with EVH on his gear needs was a younger but clever man named Chip Ellis. Chip is the main guy that Eddie deals with for his gear via Fender.

The idea that the Frankenstrat could be replicated entirely and made in a limited edition run of 500 guitars was conceived and has been on the market since 2006. It is virtually the same guitar as the original Frankenstrat in every detail: from the striped paintwork and a custom wound Seymour Duncan humbucker in the bridge position to the more intricate elements of the guitar, such as the cigarette burns and the 1971 quarter near the Floyd Rose tremolo system. It also comes with some wonderful accessories, a hard case and booklet and certificate of authenticity.

Eddie Van Halen and Chip Ellis are two very clever men indeed who wore together well on the EVH Gear based products.

Picture courtesy http://www.jameslimborg.com/music-and-guitar-pedals/van-halen-news-desk/

In a video recorded at the 5150 studios, Eddie revealed the history and some his input into the guitar itself. Noted in the video to avoid confusion with the near identical replicas, Eddie Van Halen wrote in capital letters: “THIS IS THE SHIT – THANKS CHIPS” on the original Frankenstrat.

The only real downside, apart from the limited availability of this replica, is the price tag. The replica Frankenstrat goes for around $25,000.00 US and is virtually unaffordable in that respect. A good alternative is the EVH/Fender Striped Series, which was the next collaboration project that EVH and Fender worked together on.

In short, if you have a spare ten grand or two lying about, this is a definite must for any Eddie Van Halen fan to purchase. For more information, visit http://evhgear.com/frankenstein/.

 

 

References:

  1. EVH Gear. 2016. The Eddie Van Halen Frankenstein Replica Guitar. http://www.evhgear.com/frankenstein/
  2. Dan from Ground Guitar. 2016. Eddie Van Halen Guitars and Gear. http://www.groundguitar.com/eddie-van-halen-guitars-and-gear/
  3. Guitar World. 2008. “Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstein Replica Guitar (part 1)”. YouTube video, 6:02, Jun 11. https://www.youtube.com/xwatch?v=i2mh7zGfFRM
  4. Guitar World. 2008. “Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstein Replica Guitar (part 2)”. YouTube video, 5:47, Jun 11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICXeYawQqFs
  5. Guitar World. 2008. “Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstein Replica Guitar (part 3)”. YouTube video, 6:18, Jun 11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9_ZDxoxhoc

Evolution of the Frankenstrat – Mark II

After going through the original Frankenstrat and the VH2 “Bumblebee” guitar, Eddie became a little unsatisfied with both original guitars. The original Frankenstrat was continually becoming copied everywhere and Bumblebee sounded unsatisfactory to Eddie’s continual search for the perfect sound and tone for the guitar.

For Eddie Van Halen, good enough is never good enough. He always seeks out the best possible option for his sound.

Picture courtesy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMDHwYTeZd0

He went back to the drawing board inside his mind and instead realised that although the other guitars were brilliant in their own way, he needed a new one that could become potentially better than the others. So he decided to make a simple guitar so interesting that people could not copy it directly like the previous two guitars.

So he retired the VH2 guitar and set out to create a new one. He began with the same guitar the previous Frankenstrat with the Fender style guitar shape and neck.

This is the guitar that Eddie started to play around late 1979.

Picture courtesy http://forum.metroamp.com/viewtopic.php?p=203670

In any case Eddie began playing that new guitar in concerts during late 1979. It was initially only with a black and white stripe paint job, not in any way dissimilar to his original Frankenstrat paint job. This new guitar initially sported a Charvel style headstock as well which was later changed.

Charvel played a part in the Frankenstrat Mark II as the company was no longer on good terms with Eddie Van Halen.

Logo courtesy http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1225972

Additionally, Ed whacked into the Frankenstrat one Mighty Mite single coil pickup in the neck position, initially in an attempt to use it on the guitar. However, since he had limited knowledge of hardwiring electronics he could not use this pickup. Belief is that he merely used it for decoration.

He also place a white pickguard on the guitar initially, later making various modifications to that pickguard, replacing it initially with a black piece of vinyl, then later replacing it with a torn up black pickguard, which came later.

The thing which made this particular guitar the most noticeable out of all Eddie Van Halen’s main guitars was the paint job. It was done in the same fashion as previously, yet with a red, white and black design. Needless to say, this drew attention to Eddie and his new guitar. He again used the Schwinn bicycle paint to do the paintjob on the guitar.

The paintjob on the Frankenstrat is so awesome and memorable that it is on The Best of Both Worlds compilation, proof that you can stare hours at it and not get sick of it.

Picture courtesy http://www.amazon.com/Best-Both-Worlds-Van-Halen/dp/B000286S8S

He also used a three way switch on the guitar, which was simply decorative, as well as the “Tone” knob on the volume pot, the latter a feature of  Eddie Van Halen’s guitars from the original Frankenstrat onwards.

The Frankenstrat sure is one beast.

Picture courtesy http://www.themusiczoo.com/product/220/EVH-Frankenstein-Replica/

Ed then placed truck reflectors on the back of his guitar to further confuse copycats and to create the guitar as a unique addition to his setup.

Shortly afterwards Eddie added a prototype Floyd Rose to the guitar. This was a recent addition of the time, but Ed made sure that all his main electric guitars from then on had a standard Floyd Rose tremolo, as well as a humbucking pickup in the bridge position. Despite using a number of different guitars over the years, Eddie has retained these basic principles to this day. Eddie later changed the prototype to a standard Floyd Rose when the upgrade came.

Ed and Floyd Rose changed the sound of the guitar with the unique Floyd Rose tremolo system.

Picture courtesy http://www.vintagekramer.com/parts6.htm

Eddie initially placed a white Gibson PAF, likely not dissimilar to the one on the original Frankenstrat which was from his Gibson ES-335. He also used the technique from his early days of dipping the pickup in hot paraffin wax using a certain dipping method and technique to prevent pickup feedback from being extreme. The bridge pickup was wired directly to the volume pot and all other electronic wiring was ignored, simply as Eddie did not know how to wire all things together. Although Eddie is arguably one of the greatest rock guitarists ever and a genius of sound, he found it more difficult on the technical aspects of making a guitar work.

Ed used PAFs made by Gibson for the Frankenstrat, although he did swap it out for other pickups later on.

Picture courtesy http://www.guitarhq.com/paf.html

Interestingly, Eddie also added a 1971 quarter to the edge of the Floyd Rose tremolo system to prevent it from going out of whack when using it, with a hole drilled into it. There were also small dot holes all over the guitar. Additionally there were cigarette burns on the guitar after some time as Ed loves placing cigarettes in the headstock of the guitar while playing onstage. Later on one of the truck reflectors snapped, and also the pickup was changed to a black DiMarzio humbucker.

DiMarzio pickups are not to be underestimated in the creation of the Brown Sound.

Picture courtesy http://www.bestbassgear.com/bass-wiring-diagrams.htm

So by 1982, we had the Floyd Rose tremolo system updated and the Frankenstrat that everybody knew about. In fact this era of the Frankenstrat was modelled by Fender later on, but this will be followed up later in the article.

The 1982 Frankenstrat can never be truly imitated in terms of form.

Picture courtesy http://listverse.com/2011/05/06/11-iconic-guitar-combinations/

But Ed was not finished with his Frankenstrat yet. Eddie changed the tuning pegs to Schallers to differ from what he originally used. He then replaced the DiMarzio pickup with one manufactured by Seymour Duncan. He later placed a prototype Kramer Pacer neck on next, removing the original Boogie Bodies neck that he had. Still, even later he placed a Kramer Banana style neck onto the guitar, later on returning the guitar to its original 1982 era form.

From his beginnings with using a Gibson Les Paul to the constant process of tinkering around with his own guitar the Frankenstrat, Ed was an innovator, and still is.

Pictures courtesy http://www.vintagekramer.com/5150f

What is absolutely mind blowing about this particular guitar is that every single detail on it is carefully thought out. It is truly a unique icon, and blew everything out of the water before or since in relation to guitars. From the moment that this guitar was conceived in Ed’s mind, to the days where it was all the rage in rock circles, to the present and beyond, there is no doubt that this guitar is worth remembering.

If you are chasing this particular guitar to own, there are a few options to consider. Firstly there are a variety of very similar guitars under all various brands. As mentioned beforehand, you could easily pick out the EVH Gear Striped Series retailing at around $1,398.59 US RRP.

This particular Striped Series EVH Model by Fender is a winner.

EVH Striped Series Red with Black Stripes

Picture courtesy http://www.evhgear.com/en-AU/gear/subpage/?partno=5107902503

Or, if you really are well off, and can afford this, then pay EVH Gear $25 000 US (not including shipping costs) and then a Frankenstein™ Replica Guitar is yours for that much. It is not the real thing, but is very close to being it.

Another option is to build your own. This, of course is very timely and a little expensive to construct, but it costs much less than a proper Frankenstein™ Replica guitar. A good place to start is this website: http://www.shredaholic.com/frankie.html

You may need your woodworking skills to create your own Frankenstrat of this era.

http://www.motorcyclesplanesandrevolution.com/?page_id=717

In any case, this is Eddie’s most famous guitar out of all of them. It is such an interesting, unique design that it is virtually inimitable. It is amazing and untouchable, but given that it is so original and unique, it still is often imitated to this day. For a long time this guitar will be forever remembered and cherished as an ultimate rock icon. Its place is well deserved for that reason in rock history.

The David Lee Roth era has a very distinctive sound, particularly in the guitar work of EVH.

Picture courtesy http://www.bellazon.com/main/uploads/monthly_07_2010/post-37737-1278950920.gif

Sources:

  1. http://www.evhgear.com/frankenstein/
  2. https://frankenstrat.wordpress.com/history-of-the-frankenstrat/
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2mh7zGfFRM
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICXeYawQqFs
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9_ZDxoxhoc

Zero

Although not officially a Van Halen album, Zero is being covered as it is a very important addition in the back catalogue of Van Halen releases. It is crucial to recognise this as a worthy listen and also the beginning of Van Halen’s career in the studio.

The story behind Zero is that Kiss’s Gene Simmons stumbled across Van Halen in their club circuit trip around Pasadena in southern California. Simmons was suitably impressed, so much so that he asked Eddie to join Kiss. Eddie declined.

Still, Gene Simmons was determined to promote Van Halen. He booked them some time to record, and the result was Zero, a demo tape of ten Van Halen songs. Simmons sent off many copies of this demo tape to various recording companies, only to be turned down.

The rocker Gene Simmons was crucial in promoting very early Van Halen.

Picture courtesy http://worlds-collection.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/gene-simmons.html

Despite all this, the result was a very good one, musically at least. Gene Simmons forced Eddie to extensively overdub parts, much to Ed’s dislike. Upon listening, the sound quality is definitely not the best. But the songs are exceptionally good.

Beginning with the heavy On Fire, all the way through to story tale like Put Out The Lights, this demo tape is well worth listening to. It is mostly loud, hard rock blending an array of styles and drawing on the great rock groups, from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin along the way. Although Eddie had not necessarily reached his artistic peak here, the album was good enough, so much so, that Van Halen later reworked a large majority of the songs from Zero onto A Different Kind of Truth in 2012, over thirty years later.

The latest Van Halen album, A Different Kind of Truth reworked many songs from the original Zero demo tape, proof of the band’s confidence of the material on it.

Picture courtesy http://3minuterecord.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/van-halen-a-different-kind-of-truth.jpg

Much of what to come on later albums is here, humorous tales such as Woman In Love and House of Pain. But there is an energy and variety that adds to these songs like Babe, Don’t Leave Me Alone and the original She’s The Woman that other bands would have trouble with. This is what makes this album an enjoyable listen.

Although not an official release, it is circulating around on the internet in various forms. Nonetheless, Zero is a great introduction to Van Halen’s music, and a must for any Van Halen fan.

The Van Halen I Frankenstrat

One of the most memorable guitars in rock is the Van Halen I Frankenstrat. Everything about the guitar, from the forward thinking vision and construction of the guitar, to the striped paint finish, represented a whole new way of thinking with the guitar itself. This guitar is crucial to the development of the Van Halen sound, as well as everything that followed in rock music after Ed first blazed the scene in southern California.

This is really, the guitar that started it all for Eddie Van Halen.

Photo courtesy http://www.vintagekramer.com/Baretta/franky.jpg

It came out of a genuine desire for the ultimate sound and a frustration with the limitations of guitars available in the 1970s. Back then, there were a limited amount of resources and guitars present at the time that could replicate the sound that any aspiring guitarist could create. Far from wanting to directly copy others, Eddie was out to bend the rules of the guitar itself (and possibly break a few along the way).

It was a combination of his three main guitars that he used before becoming famous: the Gibson Les Paul; Fender Stratocaster and Gibson ES-335. Indeed, Eddie is quoted in an interview as stating: “I combined the four elements (that was wanted) into the Frankenstein”1. Although Eddie had already tried placing a humbucker on his Fender Stratocaster, the guitar still did not sound to his liking.

Eddie’s first Frankenstrat came out of a combined frustration with his previous main guitars.

Photo courtesy https://projectevh.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/70719-frankensteinearlyblackandwhite.jpg

Indeed Ed made his Frankenstrat using parts famously from Wayne Charvel’s shop using spare parts that were available, namely Boogie Bodies parts. It was done on the cheap, with the total cost of the body and neck coming to $130US at the time, relatively cheaply done. The individual costs were $50 for the body, and $80 for the neck2. Strangely enough, according to some sources3, Ed purchased the guitar neck at a discount with a large knot in the wood as he believed it would perform better.

Wayne Charvel was crucial in assisting Eddie Van Halen with building his first Frankenstrat, along with other guitars.

Picture courtesy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQ_trn4jCeQ

Since there were no such things as Fender Stratocaster bodies with humbucker positions carved out in the bridge position at the time, Eddie carefully measured and chiselled out a humbucker slot into the bridge position of the Stratocaster body. He then conceived his idea of his white with black stripes paint job on his guitar. To achieve this, he had on his hands masking tape in 1/8 inch and ¾ inch size. He initially painted the guitar black using Schwinn bicycle paint that he may have used on his paper route. Once it had dried, he used said masking tape in a patterned style on his guitar. He then spray painted it white to achieve the layered look, and removed the masking tape.

Once this was achieved, he then placed the bridge humbucker from his Gibson ES-335 (a PAF pickup which stands for Patent Applied For) into the body of the guitar. Although the original Frankenstrat had this pickup installed, it would change over the years, this was the original pickup used. He had a limited knowledge of electronic circuitry, so there was no tone control. Instead, he wired a single volume control to the circuitry.

Indeed, Eddie has said on numerous occasions that his first Frankenstrat was a combination of a Gibson and Fender sound.

Photo courtesy http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3045/2867744812_4bb2269a04_z.jpg?zz=1

The body was a basic Fender Stratocaster (with CBS style headstock) maple neck and fingerboard, with Schaller tuning pegs and Gibson Jumbo frets. Once he had compiled the main elements of the guitar together, he added a Fender vintage tremolo system from his 1957 Fender Stratocaster4. This was due to his belief that the newer Stratocaster tremolo systems did not work as efficiently as the vintage tremolo systems. To cover up the work that Ed did on his guitar, he placed a black pickguard over the pickups, leaving a place open for the humbucker.

The result was, as Eddie put it, “It was neat. I really felt that I was on to something when I built that guitar, because you couldn’t buy anything like it at the time.” Indeed, his guitar, along with his guitar playing, completely changed the way the music industry was working with the sound of the electric guitar.

The cover of the Zero demo tape, produced by Kiss’s Gene Simmons, where Ed first used his original Frankenstrat on recording.

Photo courtesy http://www.shredaholic.com/images/vanhalen.jpg

I will provide a link for you on all you need to know about how to assemble a Van Halen I Frankenstrat. This website has the rundown on the physical stats of the Frankenstrat as well, similar to what I have placed for other guitars. You can find it here: http://www.shredaholic.com/frankie.html. Although admittedly I have pinched the components of the Van Halen I Frankenstrat from that site, I will list them here anyway:

Body: Stratocaster

Body Wood: Hard (northern) Ash

Body Finish: Unfinished

Body Routing: Top Routed

Pickup Routing: Single, Single, Humbucker (chiselled from single rout)

Bridge Routing: Fender vintage tremolo

Neck: Standard

Headstock: CBS

Neck Wood: Birdseye Maple

Finger Board Wood: Birdseye Maple

Neck Finish: Satin (his was unfinished but finishing is recommended)

Fret Size: Gibson Jumbo Frets 6150

Key Holes: Schaller

Inlay: Black Dots

String Nut: Fender vintage tremolo

Bridge Type: Fender vintage tremolo

Pickguard: Stratocaster

Pickguard Configuration: x , x, Humbucker

Pickguard Bridge Routing: Fender vintage tremolo

Pickguard Color: Black Solid Matte (.060)

Pickguard Control Setup: x, Volume, Volume

No Pickup selector

Tuners: Schaller Mini Locking Tuners (Left, Chrome)

Pickups: Seymour Duncan EVH (’78 model) Humbucker

Copper Shielding: 2 feet

Output Jack: Switchcraft Brand Mono Jack

Jack Plate: Stratocaster (Chrome)

Knobs: 1 Vintage Stratocaster Tone Knob (White)

Neck Plate: Chrome

Potentiometers: 1 CTS Brand 500K pot

String Retainer: Brass nut

Tape Type: 3/4 Inch (Big Black Stripes) 1/8 Inch (Smaller Stripes

Before I wrap this up, I must stress that there are alternatives to building your own Van Halen I Frankenstrat. Indeed, for the closest thing, you can check out The Striped Series on www.evhgear.com for a close alternative, although these do come equipped with a Floyd Rose tremolo, something that Ed did not have on his Van Halen I Frankenstrat (although he did install a prototype Floyd Rose later before he repainted it). These start at $1199US, not very cheap, but worth it if you are keen on one.

The Van Halen striped series is well worth checking out if you cannot find the time or money to build your own Frankenstrat.

Photo courtesy http://www.guitar-planet.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Striped-Series-900c.jpg

Another couple of options exist, such as the Fender Standard HSS with Locking Tremolo or the Gibson Les Paul Axcess, both of which I have mentioned already in earlier posts. The HSS retails for around $1500AUS and the Axcess for $3999US, but either way, if you cannot be bothered building your own Frankenstrat or you feel that the Striped Series are not worth your while, these are two other perfectly reasonable options.

References:

  1. Vivascene. 2011. Interview : Eddie Van Halen. http://vivascene.com/interviews/interview-eddie-van-halen/
  2. Unknown. 2009. My Frankenstrat Build. http://frankenstrat.wordpress.com/history-of-the-frankenstrat/
  3. Askmen. Unknown publishing date. Eddie Van Halen’s “Frankenstrat”. http://au.askmen.com/top_10/entertainment/top-10-legendary-guitars_3.html
  4. Unknown author. Unknown publishing date. Ed’s Axes. http://valleywebs.com/van-halen/guitars.html