Tag Archives: Peavey

Van Halen: Best Of Volume One

As previously discussed, the first Van Halen compilation came along with the rotation of singers. Yet, despite this, how does it sound?

It was a shame that for this particular compilation only one disc was released. Van Halen had more than enough material to fill up two discs of songs, but regrettably only chose one instead. There are many tracks that could have made it onto another disc which would have been amazing.

The two new songs with David Lee Roth were amazing.

Picture courtesy http://www.vhnd.com/2014/09/04/van-halens-original-lineup-presents-mtv-award/

Still, there is a fairly good selection here of music by Van Halen. It begins with ‘Eruption’, leading all the way to ‘Panama’ (or ‘Hot For Teacher’ if you had the Japanese copy of this album) for the first David Lee Roth era. Once that is over, very much the hit singles from the Sammy Hagar era are here. And yes, many fans were aware of these songs yet for a one disc compilation it strikingly sounds well chosen.

Then we have the new tracks. ‘Humans Being’ is very much of one the worst “Van Hagar” tracks you will hear. It is a dirge like song, only redeemed by the loud, prolonged scream at the end of the song. A poor effort indeed.

It is really hard to know what Van Halen and Eddie Van Halen himself were really thinking around this time.

Picture courtesy http://www.guitarplayer.com/news/1024/eddie-van-halen-performs-jimi-hendrixs-fire-and-little-wing–video/52965

Then we get two brand new David Lee Roth songs, ‘Can’t Get This Stuff No More’ is very cool indeed. “Got a date with a supermodel, I know I can make it…” begins Dave on the first new song. It sounds wonderful and fresh, something that Balance seems to lack. Not bad.

More catchy though is ‘Me Wise Magic’. A full on, rhythmic tune with style, it is an underrated gem out of the Van Halen cannon. Eddie Van Halen uses some cool licks on his new Peavey Wolfgang here, and it does justice indeed.

Eddie Van Halen really does show his Brown Sound progression on this particular album.

Picture courtesy http://atlasicons.photoshelter.com/gallery/EDDIE-VAN-HALEN-1996/G0000wb.BUOeMwgk/C0000YdNgrVtpTBs

The good thing about this compilation, regardless of it needing to be more inclusive, is that we can clearly hear for the first time Eddie Van Halen’s Brown Sound transition throughout the years. From the first Frankenstrat on ‘Eruption’ to his Peavey gear on ‘Me Wise Magic’, somehow upon listening one gets the feeling that this is exactly what Eddie desired to show listeners. He seemed very content with showing the difference in sound and tone over the years.

The bad thing about this compilation though is that it does fall short of a truly amazing listen by being too selective of some songs and also needs more of them. After the fade out of the last track, you may sit there and feel left out of what could have been much more.

There could have and should have been another disc of Van Halen material. Yet, despite this, this album is absolutely essential to understanding the Brown Sound progression over the years.

Picture courtesy http://www.covershut.com/cover-tags/Van-Halen-Best-Of-Volume-1-1996.html

It is the better of the two compilations though, and is a must for those who wish to understand the Brown Sound in a logical progression. A photo of Eddie’s Peavey Wolfgang is in the booklet. Unfortunately, nobody saw the future at the time, which is exactly what this compilation was for.

Peavey Wolfgang

Due to some of the limitations of Eddie Van Halen’s Ernie Ball Music Man EVH Model and the contract ending with Ernie Ball, Eddie decided to pursue Peavey further in his ultimate quest for the perfect sound and tone.

In 1995 Eddie Van Halen and Hartley Peavey worked together placing the finishing touches on a brand new line of guitars for Edward and the result was both unique and amazing simultaneously. The guitar itself was made commercially available in 1996, along with a licenced production of Peavey EVH Wolfgang guitar strings as well. The name was the same name as Eddie’s son Wolfgang Van Halen.

Eddie Van Halen was eager to move on with guitar design and refinement.

Picture courtesy http://olho.nu/van-halen/gear/evh_peavey-guitars.htm

This new guitar was similar in some respects to the previous guitar that Eddie Van Halen had used, yet there were some subtle differences that had made this guitar more unique than the previous one that Eddie had used.

The basic idea of the design was almost identical to the Ernie Ball guitars that Ed had used for some time. Basswood was used for the body, with maple used for the neck and for the body design, a licensed Floyd Rose tremolo and two custom designed and wound EVH/Peavey humbucking pickups, as well as Schaller M6 mini tuners.

Some of the design differences in comparison to the previous Ernie Ball guitars were the addition of maple top and a unique three-way switch placed at the top of the body which was reversed in comparison to regular three way switches typically placed at the same position. Additionally the new Peavey line-up also included, for the first time, a D-Tuner added to the Floyd Rose tremolo system which was not included on the previous line of guitars. A tone adjuster with knob was also added, along with a new uniquely shaped headstock.

In a sadly ironic way Eddie Van Halen endorsed and played the Peavey Wolfgang throughout the worst period of his musical career.

Picture courtesy http://olho.nu/van-halen/news/2005-01-10_evh-parts-with-peavey.htm

The first commercially produced Peavey guitars that were created in 1996 were limited only to the Peavey Wolfgang Standard, which came in six different finishes. The quality of these guitars varied widely due to the difference in quality of the flame maple tops, which later was changed to curly maple tops in a way of remedying the problem of quality of sound output.

A variety of different models were offered over the years. From 1997 to 2004, there were models such as: Wolfgang Standard; Wolfgang Standard Deluxe; Wolfgang Special; Wolfgang Special Deluxe; Wolfgang Special EXP and also Peavey provided a custom shop for those who preferred that sort of service.

The Peavey Wolfgang guitar is an underrated lost piece of history.

Picture courtesy http://johnnyolsa.com/Guitars/

Eddie himself primarily played during this time a Wolfgang Standard with a Tobacco Sunburst style finish. He did play this through both Van Halen tours respectively after production commenced, yet apparently destroyed this guitar on the last show of the 2004 tour.

All Peavey Wolfgang guitars came with a special handbook with a personal statement from Eddie himself about this unique brand of guitar, along with tips for care. Below are some stats of the Peavey Wolfgang:

 

Body:

  • Figured maple top/basswood back or solid basswood construction.
  • Unique offset cutaway design with carved top.
  • Cream or black top-edge-binding.

Neck:

  • Birdseye maple neck and fingerboard, oil-finished.
  • Dual graphite reinforcements and adjustable torsion rod.
  • 25 ½ inch scale length, 22 jumbo frets.
  • 15 inch fingerboard radius.
  • 10 degree tilt-back headstock with 3+3 tuning machine configuration.
  • Bolt-on construction with contoured neck heel.

Electronics:

  • Two custom-wound Peavey/EVH humbucking pickups.
  • Volume and tone controls.
  • Switchcraft® 3-way toggle switch and output jack.

Hardware:

  • Schaller® tuning machines with pearloid or cream buttons.
  • Peavey/Floyd Rose® licensed, double-locking tremolo assembly or tune-o-matic/stop tailpiece fixed bridge assembly.
  • D-Tuner™ (available on tremolo model only).
  • Chrome-plated hardware finish.

In a strangely repressed way and under huge pressure, Eddie Van Halen’s Peavey Wolfgang was one of the most forward thinking designs of guitar yet.

Picture courtesy http://www.rocknrollweekend.com/index2.html

Although Ed ended his contract with Peavey in 2004, if you are seeking this guitar, be sure to look at eBay for various models of this guitar, although it can be rather pricey to purchase a second hand one. Sadly this guitar was strictly produced by Peavey and there are no other real alternatives to finding a guitar quite like it. Once Eddie ceased relations with Peavey, he took his ideas elsewhere and left Peavey with little memory of his involvement with them and Peavey now only produce the 5150 amplifiers (now branded as the 6505 amplifier range) and the guitar strings he used to use. Regardless of this, this guitar is part of the history of the Brown Sound and if you have one today, you are very lucky indeed.

Eddie named the guitar after his son Wolfgang. This clearly meant that the Peavey Wolfgang indeed was special to Eddie Van Halen at the time.

Picture courtesy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Van_Halen

 

References:

  1. 2015. Eddie Van Halen Guitars and Gear. http://www.groundguitar.com/eddie-van-halen-guitars-and-gear/
  2. Knapp, Geoff. 2006. Wolfgang Guitars – The Unofficial Site of the Wolfgang and HP Special Guitar. http://www.wolfgangguitars.com/
  3. Peavey. 1998. EVH Wolfgang Operating Guide. http://peavey.com/media/pdf/manuals/80301829.pdf

Peavey 5150

There is little knowledge of specifically why Eddie Van Halen teamed up with Peavey to design, model and release his first signature line of amplifiers. The reasonable guess, however is obvious. Eddie was becoming dissatisfied with both his Marshall Superlead Amplifier and then later on, his Soldano SLO 100. Both had served a purpose for the time being, yet Eddie was prepared to go one step further and teamed up with the American company, known for heavy metal sounds called Peavey.

Both Eddie Van Halen and Hartley Peavey worked together on the 5150 line of amplifiers.

Picture courtesy http://www.harmonycentral.com/forum/forum/guitar/acapella-41/1126327-/page6

Hartley Peavey’s father had begun his own small music store prior to him discovering rock and roll. However, in 1965 Hartley Peavey decided to focus on rock and roll and after playing in bands, began creating products for rock musicians. With a particular focus for amps modelled and released with appeal for hard rock and heavy metal musicians alike, it came as no surprise that one Eddie Van Halen pursued the idea of the perfect metal amplifiers with the assistance of Peavey.

So by 1991, Eddie Van Halen had approached Peavey and they had agreed to assist with creating the 5150 line of amps. As early as the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album, a prototype of the Peavey 5150 was used, notably on “Poundcake”. Eddie began using Peavey’s amplifiers shortly afterwards onstage. By the time 1993 came around, the Peavey 5150 line of amplifiers were commercially released.

The fact that the 5150/6505 amplifiers have been extensively used over the years by a large variety of guitar players proves the ingenious construction and design of them.

Picture courtesy https://pointyguitar.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/ad-eddie-van-halen-for-peavey/

It immediately became popular amongst heavy metal players for creating a unique sound for that type of music. This was the beginning of the long relationship between EVH and Peavey that did not end very well in 2004. After this occurred, Peavey retained the rights to continue selling the amp, renamed the 6505 in commemoration of its 40th anniversary as a rock and roll company.

The amp itself is a powerful tube driven amp. Different versions of it come with slight modifications. But if you are hardcore about finding out what Eddie Van Halen wanted to experience with his amp, your best bet is to go for the traditional head and cabinet, the 6505 head and the 430B 412 Cabinet.

Eddie Van Halen used Peavey amplifiers for nearly 15 years, a remarkable length of time.

Picture courtesy http://picssr.com/photos/snowfreak91287/interesting?nsid=21186431@N04

Listed below are the stats for the 6505 head, courtesy of http://www.peavey.com:

  • High and low gain inputs
  • 120 watts (rms) into 16, 8 or 4 ohms (switchable)
  • 2-channel preamp switchable on front panel or remote footswitch
  • Rhythm channel: pre/post gain, bright and crunch switches
  • Five 12AX7 preamp tubes and four 6L6GC power amp tubes
  • Channels share 3-band EQ
  • Presence and resonance controls
  • Switchable post-EQ effects loop
  • Preamp output
  • Footswitch included
  • Lead channel: pre/post gain
  • Weight unpacked: 48 lb (21.772 kg)
  • Weight packed: 54 lb (24.494 kg)
  • Width packed: 12.25” (31.115 cm)
  • Height packed: 28.5” (72.39 cm)
  • Depth packed: 14” (35.56 cm)

Additionally, listed below are the stats for the 430B 412 Cabinet, courtesy of http://www.peavey.com:

  • Four 12″ Celestion Vintage 30 Speakers
  • 16 ohms
  • Heavy-duty casters
  • Vintage British sound
  • 18 ply Baltic Birch cabinet construction
  • 120 watts power handling
  • Stereo or mono operation
  • Weight Unpacked: 96.98 lb(43.99 kg)
  • Weight Packed: 107.25 lb(48.65 kg)
  • Width Packed: 32.75″(83.185 cm)
  • Height Packed: 35.75″(90.805 cm)
  • Depth Packed: 17.125″(43.4975 cm)

Despite the fact that Eddie no longer endorses or uses this particular set of amplifiers, Peavey have managed to continue to sell a legendary and historical amplifier with great success. This is largely due to its tone, being very popular amongst heavy metal and thrash metal players for its distinctive sound.

For more information, visit http://peavey.com/products/6505/

Hartley Peavey and Eddie Van Halen’s collaboration, although fruitful, did not last over time.

Picture courtesy http://www.vhnd.com/2014/02/15/aap52/ 

References:

  1. 2015. Peavey. Corporate profile. http://peavey.com/corporate/
  2. 2015. Peavey. 6505 – Forging the sound of aggression. http://peavey.com/products/6505/