Tag Archives: History

EVH/Fender Wolfgang Limited Tour Relic (Replica)

During the supporting tour for the Tokyo Dome Live In Concert album in 2015, Eddie did not play his EVH Wolfgang Stealth that he normally held onto. Instead, Chip Ellis of EVH Gear made Eddie Van Halen a brand new guitar that was seen on the tour.

This guitar is very special to Eddie.

Picture courtesy http://www.vhtrading.com/topic/evh-wolfgang-custom-with-floyd

The story goes that Eddie wanted a guitar that had a Relic’d paint job. So Chip Ellis got to work and designed this guitar. According to Eddie, he liked the sound of this guitar more than he enjoyed the sound of his Stealth, so he used it on tour.

Eddie reportedly shaved and sanded the back of the neck to make it easier to play, but aside from this, the guitar was left in more or less the same condition during the tour.

The EVH Gear brand is here to stay and produces new and exciting equipment with each passing year.

Picture courtesy http://guitardisorder.com/tag/evh/

The sound quality of this guitar is noticeably different to that of the EVH Wolfgang Stealth, sounding more like a natural guitar. Below are the specifications of this guitar, courtesy of http://www.evhgear.com:

 

GENERAL:

Model Name: EVH® Wolfgang® Limited Tour Relic (Replica), Ebony Fingerboard, Ivory

Model Number: 5101011000

Series: Wolfgang® USA Custom

MSRP: $13,888.88

Colour: Ivory

BODY:

Body Shape: Wolfgang®

Body Binding: 5-Ply

Body Material: Basswood with Maple Top

Body Finish: Lacquer Relic

NECK:

Neck Material: Quartersawn Maple

Neck Shape: Wolfgang Backshape

Scale Length: 25.5” (648mm)

Fingerboard Radius: 12” to 16” Compound Radius (304.8mm to 406.4mm)

Number of Frets: 22

Fret Size: Vintage Stainless

String Nut: Floyd Rose® R2 Locking

Nut Width: 1.625” (41.3mm)

Headstock: EVH

Neck Plate: NA

Neck Finish: Oiled Relic

Fingerboard: Ebony

Position Inlays: Mother-of-Pearl Blocks

ELECTRONICS:

Bridge Pickup: Direct Mount EVH Wolfgang® Zebra Humbucking

Neck Pickup: Direct Mount EVH Wolfgang® Zebra Humbucking

Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone

Pickup Switching: 3-Position Reverse Toggle: Position 1. Neck Pickup, Position 2.  Bridge and Neck Pickups, Position 3. Bridge Pickup

Pickup Configuration: HH

Special Electronics: Bourns Low-Friction Pot (Volume), Bourns High-Friction Pot (Tone)

HARDWARE:

Bridge: EVH®-Branded Floyd Rose® Locking Tremolo with EVH D-Tuna®

Tuning Machines: EVH®-Branded Gotoh® Chrome with Pearloid Buttons

Orientation: Right Hand

Pickguard: None

Control Knobs: Black Plastic

MISCELLANEOUS:

Strings: NPS, .009-.042 Gauges

Unique Features: Red Monetary Kill Switch, Eye-Bolt Strap Holders, Non-Matching Black Headstock, Cream Binding on Relic Ivory Finish, Black Undercoat with Ivory Top Coat, Relic’d and Replicated to Exact Specs of EVH Tour Guitar 2015 Direct-Mount Pickups, Magna Coatings Paint, 2 Graphite Neck Reinforcement Rods, EVH® D-Tuna.

Included Accessories:

Signed Certificate, EVH Premium Leather Strap, EVH Premium Instrument Cable, EVH Strings, EVH Pick Tin w/ Picks.

 

Notably on the website, this is a limited edition twenty piece run, so although the price is high for this guitar, it will not be sold forever.

Tokyo Dome Live In Concert

Many older fans of Van Halen in particular were disappointed with the lack of activity from the Van Halen camp between Van Halen III and A Different Kind of Truth. There were calls from some Van Halen fans for a new live set to be assembled with the return of David Lee Roth.

Although Dave is back in the Van Halen camp, this recording is disappointing overall.

Picture courtesy http://logonoid.com/van-halen-logo/

So in early 2015, Van Halen unleased their most recent offering, Tokyo Dome Live in Concert, which was recorded on June 21 2013 and the Van Halen boys chose this as their best from the 2012-2013 A.D.K.O.T. tour. It is their second official live album and is a two disc set.
The biggest problem is that, regardless of the songs here, the band seemingly have not really embraced the necessity for change in the 21st century like they did in the past. David Lee Roth’s singing is undoubtedly awful, Eddie Van Halen’s guitar tone is less “sound” and more just “brown” in quality, Alex Van Halen still pushes a reasonable groove but Wolfgang Van Halen is no Michael Anthony in terms of backing vocals, although he excels on the bass guitar.

Wolfgang has proven to be a great bass guitarist.

Picture courtesy http://ultimateclassicrock.com/wolfgang-van-halen-tremonti-2014/

Still it is sad to hear and see (depending on if you have the CD or DVD) Van Halen become just another old rock and roll act. Although David Lee Roth has his own stage front man personality which is a one-of-a-kind, his singing and his inability to hit the notes properly leaves something to be desired. Although the live recording was edited, Dave’s vocals were not.

A good thing about this record is that it is entertaining to hear David Lee Roth adapt the songs for the Japanese crowd. And of course, Eddie’s solo is okay. But this mixed bag of goods just seemingly falls flat.

Van Halen still have a good future ahead of themselves, regardless of the quality of this recording.

Picture courtesy http://www.laweekly.com/music/i-waited-31-years-to-see-van-halen-and-it-was-totally-worth-it-6127958

The reviews and enthusiasm for this Van Halen live album were more negative than the Live: Right Here Right Now album during the “Van Hagar” era, which is sadly the truth. Still, if you need to have every single Van Halen album in your collection, visit this from time to time. Otherwise, need not bother.

On another note, a highly successful tour was done after this album was released around the U.S. Notably Eddie’s guitar playing was better than it had been for many years. A new album will be arriving soon around 2018-2019, although this is speculation.

EVH/Fender Wolfgang Custom Line

As time moved on, so did the need to make some adjustments to the EVH Wolfgang line. Obviously Eddie’s tastes, as well as the guitar market, were ever-changing and therefore so did the need for other EVH Wolfgang models as well.

The Custom line of EVH Wolfgang guitars featured generally do not come equipped with the Floyd Rose available (except for the EVH® Wolfgang® Limited Tour Relic Replica, which is in a high price range) but have different individual features of their own.

The EVH Wolfgang Custom line is very special and unique indeed.

Picture courtesy http://www.evhgear.com/gear/guitars/wolfgang-custom/

Firstly, let’s observe the EVH Wolfgang Custom Deluxe USA. Available in Black, Gold and Vintage Burst gloss finishes, this particular guitar features a mahogany core body with maple top (AAA maple top on the Vintage Burst model), mother of pearl inlays and plenty of other interesting features. For those who are interested in such a guitar, listed below are the specifications, courtesy of http://www.evhgear.com/gear/guitars/wolfgang-custom/evh-wolfgang-custom-deluxe-usa-ebony-fingerboard-gold/:

GENERAL:

Model Name: EVH® Wolfgang® USA Custom Deluxe

Model Number: 5108100858

Series: Wolfgang® USA Custom

MSRP: $5333.32

Colours: Black, Gold, Vintage Burst.

BODY:

Body Shape: Wolfgang®

Body Binding: Aged White/Black/White

Body Material: Mahogany

Body Finish: Gloss

NECK:

Neck Material: Mahogany

Neck Shape: Wolfgang Backshape

Neck Binding: White

Scale Length: 24.75” (628mm)

Fingerboard Radius: 12” to 16” Compound Radius (304.8mm to 406.4mm)

Number of Frets: 22

Fret Size: Vintage Stainless

String Nut: Bone

Nut Width: 1.6875” (42.8mm)

Truss Rod Nut: Heel-Mounted Spoke Wheel Adjustment

Neck Plate: N/A

Neck Finish: Oiled

Fingerboard: Ebony

Position Inlays: Pearl Trapezoid Blocks

ELECTRONICS:

Bridge Pickup: Direct Mount Wolfgang Humbucking

Neck Pickup: Direct Mount Wolfgang Humbucking

Controls: Volume 1 (Neck Pickup); Tone 1 (Neck Pickup); Volume 2 (Bridge Pickup); Tone 2 (Bridge Pickup).

Pickup Switching: 3-Position Toggle: Position 1 – Bridge Pickup; Position 2 – Bridge and Neck Pickups; Position 3 – Neck Pickup.

Pickup Configuration: HH

HARDWARE:

Bridge: TonePros® TP6 Adjustable with Stop Tailpiece

Tuning Machines: EVH®-Branded

Orientation: Right-Hand

Pickguard: None

Control Knobs: Black “Speed” Knobs

MISCELLANEOUS:

Strings: EVH® Branded (.009-.042 Gauges)

This guitar certainly is one of the less orthodox guitars available for purchase by EVH Gear.

 

The EVH Wolfgang USA Custom is one beautiful guitar.

Picture courtesy http://www.evhgear.com/gear/guitars/wolfgang-custom/

Similarly, a later addition to the EVH Wolfgang Custom line is the EVH Wolfgang® USA Custom itself. Built to Eddie Van Halen’s specifications, it has some features not found on any other EVH Wolfgang model.

Let’s dive in and take a look at the specifications, courtesy of http://www.evhgear.com/gear/guitars/wolfgang-custom/wolfgang-usa-custom-ebony-fingerboard-black/:

GENERAL:                         

Model Name: Wolfgang® USA Custom

Model Number: 5108000803

Series: Wolfgang® USA Custom

MSRP: $4,799.99-$5,066.65

Colours: Black, Cherry Burst, White.

BODY:

Body Shape: Wolfgang®

Body Material: Mahogany

Body Finish: Urethane

NECK:

Neck Material: Mahogany

Neck Shape: Wolfgang Backshape

Scale Length: 24.75” (628mm)

Fingerboard Radius: 12” to 16” Compound Radius (304.8mm to 406.4mm)

Number of Frets: 22

Fret Size: Vintage Stainless

String Nut: Synthetic Bone

Nut Width: 1.6875” (42.8mm)

Neck Plate: N/A

Neck Finish: Oiled

Fingerboard: Ebony

Position Inlays: Pearl Trapezoid Blocks

ELECTRONICS:

Bridge Pickup: Wolfgang® Custom-Designed Nickel-Covered

Neck Pickup: Wolfgang® Custom-Designed Nickel-Covered

Controls: Volume 1 (Neck Pickup); Tone 1 (Neck Pickup); Volume 2 (Bridge Pickup); Tone 2 (Bridge Pickup).

Pickup Switching: 3-Position Toggle: Position 1 – Bridge Pickup; Position 2 – Bridge and Neck Pickup; Position 3 – Neck Pickup.

Pickup Configuration: HH

HARDWARE:

Bridge: Tune-O-Matic Style with Fine Tuners

Tuning Machines: Gotoh® with Pearl Buttons

Orientation: Right-Hand

Pickguard: None

Control Knobs: Black “Speed” Knobs

MISCELLANEOUS:

Strings: EVH® Branded (.009-.046 Gauges)

Unique Features: ½” AA Solid Flame Maple Top and seven-ply binding; Bound Mahogany set neck 24.75” scale length; Compound radius (12”-16”) ebony or rosewood fingerboard; 22 vintage Stainless Steel frets; Seven-ply headstock binding; Dual Wolfgang Custom nickel-covered humbucking pickups; Stop-tail bridge with fine tuners; EVH custom tuners; Dual EVH custom low-friction 500k volume pots; Dual EVH custom high-friction 250k tone pots.

Included Accessories: Striped EVH case; Truss Rod Wrench.

As you can see from the product specifications, the EVH Wolfgang USA Custom is one unique piece of kit. There are certain features that cannot be found on any other Wolfgang model, and this makes it a collector’s item indeed.

 

Keith Richards was the first profesional guitarist to come up with the idea of a Relic’d guitar.

Picture courtesy https://www.pinterest.com/spyder8674/keith-richards/

The last guitar that we will observe from the EVH Wolfgang® USA Custom line is the EVH® Wolfgang® Custom Relic® USA. For those of you who are unsure what a ‘relic’ guitar actually is, it is simply a new guitar model with a particular process applied to it to make it look aged. In actual fact, this process was initiated by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones many years ago, who once desired a guitar that had a worn out look rather than something that looked brand new.

In any case, below are the specifications for this particular model, courtesy of http://www.evhgear.com/gear/guitars/wolfgang-custom/evh-wolfgang-custom-relic-usa-ebony-fingerboard-relic-black/:

GENERAL:

Model Name: EVH® Wolfgang USA Custom Relic®

Model Number: 5108200803

Series: Wolfgang® USA Custom

MSRP: $7999.99

Colours: Black, Cherry Sunburst, Gold

BODY:

Body Shape: Wolfgang®

Body Binding: Aged White/Black/White

Body Material: Mahogany

Body Finish: Relic’d Gloss Lacquer

NECK:

Neck Material: Mahogany

Neck Shape: Wolfgang Backshape

Neck Binding: Aged White

Scale Length: 25.5” (648mm)

Fingerboard Radius: 12” to 16” Compound Radius (304.8mm to 406.4mm)

Number of Frets: 22

Fret Size: Vintage Stainless

String Nut: Floyd Rose® R2 Locking

Nut Width: 1.625” (41.3mm)

Truss Rod Nut: Heel-Mounted Spoke Wheel Adjustment

Neck Plate: N/A

Neck Finish: Relic’d Lacquer

Fingerboard: Ebony

Position Inlays: Pearl Trapezoid Blocks

ELECTRONICS:

Bridge Pickup: Direct Mount Wolfgang Humbucking

Neck Pickup: Direct Mount Wolfgang Humbucking

Controls: Volume 1 (Neck Pickup); Tone 1 (Neck Pickup); Volume 2 (Bridge Pickup); Tone 2 (Bridge Pickup).

Pickup Switching: 3-Position Blade: Position 1 – Bridge Pickup; Position 2 – Bridge and Neck Pickups; Position 3 – Neck Pickup.

Pickup Configuration: HH

HARDWARE:

Bridge: Gotoh® Hardtail with Fine Tuners

Tuning Machines: EVH®-Branded Gotoh® Chrome with Pearloid Buttons

Orientation: Right-Hand

Pickguard: None

Control Knobs: Black “Speed” Knobs

MISCELLANEOUS:

Strings: EVH® Branded (.009-.042 Gauges)

Unique Features: 2 Bourns 500k Low Friction Volume Potentiometers; 2 Bourns 250k High Friction Potentiometers; Ebony Headstock Overlay; Amber “Bell” Control Knobs and Cream Pickup Bezels on (815) and (858); Black “Bell” Control Knobs and Black Pickup Bezels on (803); 2 Graphite Neck Reinforcement Rods; Schaller® Chrome String Retainer Bar; Side Mounted Square Jack Plate; 5-Layer Aged White/Black Body and Headstock Bindings; Aged White Fingerboard Binding; Heel-Mounted Spoke-Wheel Truss Rod Adjustment at Butt of Neck.

 

As you can tell, the custom line of EVH Wolfgang guitars are wonderful and uniquely collectable in their own way. The author has chosen not to include the EVH® Wolfgang Limited Tour Relic (Replica) as it will be covered at a later date.

For the meantime, those who are seeking a hardtail model with all the most unique custom specifications of the EVH Wolfgang models, look no further than the EVH Wolfgang Custom line. These models are designed for those who desire an instrument to keep with eternal fascination.

Eddie Van Halen himself seems perfectly happy with the service and array of EVH Gear models by Fender.

Picture courtesy http://cosmomusic.ca/blogs/2016/01/namm-2016-the-eddie-van-halen-replica-guitar-only-one-in-canada-and-were-getting-it

 

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.