Tag Archives: Rock

EVH/Fender Wolfgang Special

After some time, the EVH Gear team realised that what was needed was a cheaper, more traditional alternative to their line-up of guitars. Along came shortly after the introduction of the main EVH Wolfgang series the EVH Wolfgang Special.

The EVH Wolfgang Special is a more traditional approach to the EVH guitars made and designed by EVH/Fender.

Picture courtesy http://www.seymourduncan.com/forum/showthread.php?278785-EVH-Wolfgang-Special-or-Washburn-N24

The non-American made EVH Wolfgang Specials bear little difference to the main line of EVH Wolfgang guitars, except that some models come with a flame maple top and most notably on many models, with a maple fingerboard.

So for those who love the more traditional approach to maple necks and a cheaper price tag, there is a good option for those looking for a better alternative to the EVH Wolfgang line.

As indicated by EVH Gear, the Striped Wolfgang Specials are hand painted as opposed to a Graphic paint job, which is a bonus in any guitar player’s book. These guitars take around three weeks to be constructed from start to finish.

The EVH Wolfgang Special Striped is one good looking shred machine.

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

There are four main models to choose from: EVH Wolfgang Special; EVH Wolfgang Special TOM, EVH Wolfgang Special Striped and the EVH Wolfgang Special Striped Black and Yellow. Note that the EVH Wolfgang Special Striped and the EVH Wolfgang Special Striped Black and Yellow versions of the EVH Wolfgang Special line are relatively recent additions to the line-up. Also note that the EVH Wolfgang Special Striped comes with an Ebony fretboard, as opposed to maple.

The standard EVH Wolfgang Special comes in an array of different colours to choose from and the price hovers around the $1,300US to $1,500US price range.

Let’s observe the specifications of the EVH Wolfgang Special, courtesy of www.evhgear.com:

The EVH Wolfgang Special comes in a large variety of colours, such as the El Natural finish.

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

GENERAL:

Model Name: EVH® Wolfgang® Special

Series: Wolfgang® Special

Colours Available: El Natural; Satin Red; Matte Army Drab; Gold; Gloss Black; Stealth Black with Ebony Fingerboard; Vintage White; Burnt Cherry Burst; 3 Tone Cherry Burst; Tobacco Sunburst.

 

BODY:

Body Shape: Wolfgang®

Body Binding: Yes

Body Material: Basswood

Body Finish: Gloss Polyurethane

 

NECK:

Neck Material: Bolt-On Quartersawn Maple

Neck Shape: Wolfgang Backshape

Scale Length: 25.5” (648 mm)

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

Number of Frets: 22

Fret Size: Jumbo

String Nut: Floyd Rose® Locking

Nut Width: 1.625” (41.3 mm)

Neck Plate: N/A

 

ELECTRONICS:

Bridge Pickup: Direct Mount Wolfgang Humbucking

Neck Pickup: Direct Mount Wolfgang Humbucking

Controls: Volume (500K EVH Bourns Low Friction Pot). Tone (250K EVH Bourns High Friction Pot)

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

Pickup Configuration: HH

 

HARDWARE:

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

Tuning Machines: EVH®-Branded

Orientation: Right-Hand

Pickguard: None

Control Knobs: Black “Speed” Knobs

 

MISCELLANEOUS:

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

Included Accessories: Tremolo Arm, Wrenches, D-Tuna Accessories

 

The EVH Wolfgang Special TOM is also a consideration for those looking for an EVH Wolfgang Special without the Floyd Rose tremolo system, as some players may prefer this option with prices not dissimilar to the regular EVH Wolfgang Special. Below are the specifications for this part of the EVH Wolfgang line-up, courtesy of www.evhgear.com:

 

GENERAL:

Model Name: EVH® Wolfgang Special TOM

Series: Wolfgang® Special

Colours Available: Burnt Cherry Sunburst; Gloss Black; Vintage White.

 

BODY:

Body Shape: Wolfgang®

Body Material: Basswood with Flame Map Top

Body Finish: Gloss Polyurethane

 

NECK:

Neck Material: 1-Piece Quartersawn Maple with Graphite Reinforcement

Neck Shape: Wolfgang Backshape

Scale Length: 25.5” (648 mm)

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

Number of Frets: 22

Fret Size: Jumbo

String Nut: Graphite

Nut Width: 1.625” (41.3 mm)

Neck Plate: N/A 

Neck Finish: Hand-Rubbed Urethane

Fingerboard: Maple

Position Inlays: Black Dot

 

ELECTRONICS:

Bridge Pickup: Direct Mount Wolfgang Humbucking

Middle Pickup: Direct Mount Wolfgang Humbucking

Neck Pickup: Direct Mount Wolfgang Humbucking

Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone

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

Pickup Configuration: HH

 

HARDWARE:

Bridge: Fully Adjustable Compensated Bridge with Tunamatic-Style Tailpiece

Tuning Machines: EVH®-Branded

Orientation: Right-Hand

Pickguard: None

Control Knobs: Black Plastic

 

MISCELLANEOUS:

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

 

Please note that although the EVH Wolfgang Special Striped and the EVH Wolfgang Special Striped Black and Yellow are not covered here, they will be covered in another area as this is a relatively new addition to EVH Gear. If these guitars sound like that they are ideal for you, please visit www.evhgear.com for more information.

Now there are no excuses for those who love Maple fingerboards to pick up an EVH Wolfgang Special.

Picture courtesy http://www.evhgear.com/extras/namm/

References:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uecAYTUgtNw

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

 

EVH/Fender 5150 III

Understandably Eddie Van Halen, after leaving Peavey, needed to work together with Fender on a line-up of amplifiers that were more modern and that would do the job for him on the road.

Released around the same time as the EVH Wolfgang, the 5150 III amps are arguably one of the heaviest sounding amps on the market, ideal for a variety of metal style sounds and output. This amp is a powerful piece of equipment, one which Eddie Van Halen himself has stuck by.

No doubt Eddie Van Halen and Chip Ellis of Fender put their best efforts into creating the EVH 5150 III.

Picture courtesy https://i.ytimg.com/vi/VG6WaL4Iel4/hqdefault.jpg

Eddie himself uses the all-tube amp, using eight 12AX7 and six 6L6 tubes. On each amp, and specifically Eddie’s amp, there are three channels of output: Clean, Crunch and Lead.

To get a good idea of what Eddie uses, we will observe the stats of the 5150 III® 4×12 Straight Cabinet and the 5150 III® 100W Head. The Cabinet itself is valued at around $1,333.32 US and the head is valued at around $2,399.99 US, in itself, not cheap. But since the release of the original 5150 III amplifiers, there have been a variety of models released for the gigging and home musician.

Let’s observe the stats of both of these, focusing on the cabinet first then the head, courtesy of www.evhgear.com:

The EVH 5150 III was modeled heavily on the original Marshall Superlead that Eddie himself had used for many years.

Picture courtesy http://musicplayers.com/reviews/guitars/2007/0907_EVH5150.php

SPECIFICATIONS:

General:

Model Name: 5150III® 4×12 straight cabinet, Black

Model Number: 2252100000

Series: EVH® 5150III® Cabinets

Amplifier Type: Speaker Enclosure

MSRP: $1333.32

Colour: Black

Electronics:

Inputs: One ¼”

Channels: N/A

Rectifier: N/A

Wattage: 60 watts at 16 Ohms

Hardware:

Cabinet: Birch/Pine

Handle: Two Recessed Side-Mount Plastic

Tubes:

Pre Amp Tubes: N/A

Power Tubes: N/A

Miscellaneous:

Included Accessories: Removable Casters Included.

 

As you may be able to tell from reading this, the cabinet itself is a very basic set up and construction. Let’s next observe the specifications of the head, courtesy of www.evhgear.com:

 

SPECIFICATIONS:

General:

Model Name: 5150III® 100W Head, Ivory, 120V

Model Number: 2251000400

Series: EVH® 5150 Heads

Amplifier Type: Tube

MSRP: $2399.99

Colour: Ivory

Electronics:

Controls: Gain, Low, Mid, High, Volume, Channel Select, and Presence for each Channel.

Effects Loop: ¼” – (Send/Return)

Inputs: One – ¼ inch

Line Out: One – (1/4”)

Channels: Three – (Clean, Crunch and Lead)

Voltage: 120V

Wattage: 100 Watts

Hardware:

Cabinet Material: Birch/Pine

Handle: Molded Plastic Strap with Nickel-Plated Caps

Front Panel: Black EVH Striped Steel

Control Knobs: Chicken-Head Style Pointer

Tubes:

Pre Amp Tubes: 8 x JJ ECC83

Power Tubes: 4 x JJ 6L6

Miscellaneous:

Included Accessories: 4-Button Footswitch Included

Accessories:

Footswitch: 4-Button Footswitch Included

 

There are many different models of EVH 5150 III amplifiers out there on the market. This is merely just a sample of what one can purchase if one desires and a good way to follow the modern Van Halen amplified sound.

The EVH 5150 III is a perfect selection for the metal players out there.

Picture courtesy http://www.evhgear.com/

 

References:

  1. Ground Guitar. 2016. Ground Guitar – Everything guitar-related. http://www.groundguitar.com/eddie-van-halen-guitars-and-gear/

EVH/Fender Wolfgang

Now that Eddie Van Halen was working together with Fender on various products, it was time for him to work hard with Fender on creating a brand new guitar to sell and market under the EVH Brand.

To begin with, discussions were made with Fender about making a new guitar for Eddie. Once the 2007-2008 reunion tour was underway, Eddie Van Halen took at least two prototypes of the new collaborative guitar that he was working on with Fender. He gave Fender feedback and information about the sound and performance of this new project that he had been working on with them along the way after each night of performance onstage. This project was almost top secret, until the release of the EVH Wolfgang in January 2009.

The clever thing about the new prototypes from Fender? Similar look to the previous Peavey Wolfgang line of guitars.

Picture courtesy http://www.vhnd.com/2008/06/06/van-halen-2007-2008-tour-highest-grossing-in-bands-history/

To make things clear, this guitar, although sharing the name of the previous guitar line that Eddie Van Halen had promoted and used for some time, in actual reality the guitar itself is completely different in many aspects.

In a video recorded around the time of the release of the guitar, Eddie Van Halen had a discussion where he stated, “Everything that I have built, destroyed, stumbled onto, learned and experienced is in this guitar”. Indeed, the guitar itself is a one-of-a-kind and is basically impossible to copy. Indeed, if Eddie himself had desired to create a monster, he indeed, has.

The guitar line itself has been one that Eddie Van Halen himself has stuck by for a long time now. Although initially there was only one type of EVH Wolfgang, other models were introduced at a later date. For historical purposes, the main Wolfgang model will be observed here.

The EVH/Fender Wolfgang is here to stay.

Picture courtesy http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/EVH_Wolfgang_Special_Electric_Guitar_Review

Some of the features are very unique to the Wolfgang, such as the custom wound double potted EVH licensed humbuckers, stainless steel frets and the hand rubbed urethane oil finish. Eddie’s own EVH Wolfgang has a custom made “kill switch” on it, to cut out the sound manually, useful for tremolo sounds. The specifications for the main EVH Wolfgang are listed below, courtesy of www.evhgear.com:

 

SPECIFICATIONS:

General:

Model Name: EVH® Wolfgang® USA, Ebony Fingerboard

Series: Wolfgang® USA

Body:

Body Shape: Wolfgang®

Body Binding: 5-Ply

Body Material: Basswood

Body Finish: Gloss Urethane

Neck:

Neck Material: Quartersawn Maple

Neck Shape: Wolfgang Backshape

Scale Length: 25.5” (648 mm)

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

Number of Frets: 22

Fret Size: Vintage Stainless

String Nut: Floyd Rose® Original Locking

Nut Width: 1.625” (41.3 mm)

Neck Plate: N/A

Neck Finish: Oiled

Fingerboard: Ebony

Position Inlays: Block

Electronics:

Bridge Pickup: Custom Designed EVH® Humbucking

Neck Pickup: Custom Designed EVH® Humbucking

Controls: Master Tone, Master Volume

Pickup Switching: EVH Reverse-Style 3-Position Switching

Pickup Configuration: HH

Hardware:

Bridge: EVH®-Branded Floyd Rose® Locking Tremolo

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: Hard mount pickups; Magna Coatings Paint, 2 Graphite Neck Reinforcement Rods, Scaller®; Chrome String Retainer, EVH®; D-Tuna, Square Jack Plate

 

In short, if you are looking for the main go-to guitar that Eddie Van Halen himself has used in the most recent times, look no further than the main Wolfgang USA that is on sale for around $4,000 US from EVH Gear, depending on the colour. This is the main guitar that Eddie himself uses to this day.

Eddie Van Halen loves the good job that Fender did for his latest line of guitars, and the easygoing relations commercially shows in both of their own outlook with each other.

Picture courtesy https://hardrockhideout.com/2008/12/17/eddie-van-halen-launches-the-all-new-evh-wolfgang-guitar-available-jan-2009/

 

References:

  1. Wolfgang USA. 2016. EVH Gearhttp://www.evhgear.com/gear/guitars/wolfgang-usa/wolfgang-usa-ebony-fingerboard-5a-flame-top-3-tone-burst/
  2. EVH Wolfgang Guitar. 2011. YouTubehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCePMSJ_0-E
  3. Eddie Van Halen Guitars and Gear. 2016. Ground Guitarhttp://www.groundguitar.com/eddie-van-halen-guitars-and-gear/

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

For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge

The time had come for a new album by Van Halen. Given that their output had diminished somewhat during the Sammy Hagar era, this is one of their better albums of this era and marked a sort of turnaround comeback for the group after three years of fans waiting for the next Van Halen album. The album went to #1 in the United States alone and sold well.

Van Halen were back and ready to rock.

Picture courtesy http://popblerd.com/2012/02/07/discography-fever-van-halen-part-two/

The name came from Sammy Hagar and the original idea was to call it FUCK alone as a protest against American censorship. The idea to call it For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge came after a discussion that Sammy Hagar had with a professional boxer about the history of the profanity and used the proper term as the name of the record.

The prolonged period in which the record was worked on, for about a year, delivered some of the best songs and songwriting from the Sammy Hagar era Van Halen. The band enlisted two producers for the record: Andy Johns and Ted Templeman. It was a strange mixture that delivered a more cohesive sound than the previous Van Halen recording.

The Ernie Ball guitar that Eddie Van Halen designed sings on this album.

Picture courtesy https://www.flickr.com/photos/43908441@N00/4004945510

The record starts oddly, with near silence for the first ten seconds. Then Eddie makes his new Ernie Ball guitar start with “Poundcake” by a power drill placed onto it. This curiously, was done using a Makita drill that was left in the studio to fix Eddie’s Soldano SLO 100 amplifier. The song itself is a great piece of work that talks about an ideal woman for the listener to take in.

“Judgement Day” is next up, which sounds very upbeat, yet has Sammy Hagar talking about inner feelings concerning faith and religion. “Tell me why…should I care or even try?” he asks in relation to this matter. Some of Eddie’s best whammy work is here, and the solo is really good as well.

Surprisingly, although humorous, “Spanked”, or at least this version of it, seems a letdown. It does have some killer vocal work by Sammy Hagar, but falls flat sonically. Despite that, the rhythm work of Michael Anthony and Alex Van Halen sounds very cohesive on this song.

Andy Johns was the main producer of this album and ensured a good effort overall.

Picture courtesy http://www.vhnd.com/2013/04/07/andy-johns-passes-away/

“Runaround” is just awesome. In retrospect, it sounds like a party tune, yet there is a great vocal delivery on the bridge, proving that Sammy Hagar himself is quite an expert vocalist. It certainly was a hit single, and still is a fan favourite.

The biggest let down on this recording is “Pleasure Dome”. Despite this being another showcase for Alex Van Halen, it simply falls flat and does not seem listenable apart from that. It goes well over five minutes and is really only worth hearing once.

Eddie Van Halen was now focusing on his sound down to every individual aspect of its creation.

Picture courtesy https://www.pinterest.com/uberschall/van-halen-whitesnake/

“In ‘N’ Out” follows, which is much better. It talks about wage slavery, and seems pseudo-political. But Sammy and Eddie both keep this song well alive, and it has some really fantastic vocal work from Sammy Hagar, proving that age does not need to destroy a fantastic voice.

“Man On A Mission” is good, but seems nothing too special. But still, the background vocals of Michael Anthony and Eddie Van Halen keep this song going well. Another song about finding the ultimate girl, perhaps the theme of this record.

The next track, “The Dream Is Over” is very underrated. This is what makes the song come more alive upon listening to it today. When the midsection hits, with Sammy Hagar screaming, “It’s a rip off…” you will appreciate the song more. A good effort.

Sammy Hagar really excels all expectations on this recording.

Picture courtesy http://nogonadudyp.hostzi.com/sammy-hagar-eddie-van-halen-pictures.php

One of Van Halen’s most memorable tracks, “Right Now” was a big hit for Van Halen and does still sound moving. Some of the best lyrics from this album are here and it is memorable, and very good indeed.

“316” the instrumental pastiche by Eddie Van Halen is a simple, lovely sounding acoustic piece that Eddie wrote years earlier. Due to the arrival of his then newly born son Wolfgang Van Halen, he devoted it to him on this recording. It does sound very romantic, and is a welcome change from the vocals/guitar/bass/drums of the other songs on the record.

Eddie was still coming up with fresh ways of approaching music.

Picture courtesy http://www.pasadena.edu/about/history/alumni/vanhalen/vanhalen.cfm

The last track ”Top Of The World” is a definite encore number, using the outro riff from “Jump” as the main riff on the song, although not noticeably so. It sounds positive and makes you feel like the most confident person in the world after listening to it. A very good effort.

So, in retrospect, the album went three times platinum and put Van Halen back into the game. However, from this period onwards, undercurrent issues began to emerge from within the band which would later eat themselves up. But at this point, Van Halen were indeed doing well and had made a great record for their fans to appreciate.

This recording was one of the better recordings of the “Van Hagar” era.

Picture courtesy https://frasesdavida.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/sammy-hagar-ataca-o-van-halen/

References:

  1. Van Halen News Desk. 2015. Sammy Hagar Marks ‘For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge’ Anniversary With Retrospective Video. http://www.vhnd.com/2015/06/18/sammy-hagar-marks-for-unlawful-carnal-knowledge-anniversary-retrospective-video/
  2. Van Halen News Desk. 2013. This Day In 1991: Van Halen Performed “Poundcake” on the VMAs. http://www.vhnd.com/2013/09/05/this-day-in-1991-van-halen-performed-poundcake-on-the-vmas/

Ernie Ball Music Man EVH Model

Once the Ernie Ball strings were being manufactured, it soon became apparent that Kramer and co. did not enjoy the idea that another company was creating strings for their client. In an odd stroke of fate as Kramer were in rapid decline financially, Eddie Van Halen and Ernie Ball fell out with Kramer due to accounting misconduct by Kramer. Allegedly Kramer and Ernie Ball did not see eye to eye on financial accounting issues and shortly after Eddie found out, ceased the working relationship that Eddie Van Halen once had with Kramer.

In the interim, Eddie Van Halen had come up with a design for a new guitar, possibly foreseeing the future. The guitar itself was further refined when Eddie Van Halen began working more closely with Ernie Ball Music Man. As a result, he had designed his first guitar, an important step in his musical journey.

Ernie Ball’s Music Man department and Eddie Van Halen worked together on the EVH Model.

Picture courtesy http://icmp.co.uk/events/tunnel-tunnel-festival 

The model itself was produced for around five years, although Eddie famously used this guitar during the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and Balance era, as well as on tour. The reason for changing company was due to the fact that supposedly Eddie Van Halen was upset by the inability of the company to satisfy demand with the production of these guitars. The truth is probably closer to the fact that Eddie was unhappy with some of the limitations of this particular guitar, as he was already secretly designing the Peavey Wolfgang for Peavey at the end of the association with Ernie Ball.

Nonetheless, once the association had ceased to be, Ernie Ball continued to produce this particular guitar under the name Ernie Ball Music Man Axis, with some slight modifications. These were: removal of Eddie Van Halen’s signature; toggle switch moved more towards centre of body; body contour added; widening of neck to prevent string slippage; “tone” knob renamed “volume”; and saddles changed from offset to non-offset on tremolo system.

Eddie Van Halen was very happy with his Ernie Ball Music Man EVH Model.

Picture courtesy https://www.tumblr.com/search/ernie%20ball%20musicman

Eddie was known particularly to favour an Ernie Ball Music Man EVH Model that came in an Amber Orange colour, which was equipped with the first of Eddie Van Halen’s patented D-Tunas, a device that enabled the playing to Drop D tuning without extensive time spent fiddling around with the Floyd Rose locking tremolo system. This simply operated by pulling a knob attached to the bottom string of the guitar, instantly changing to the note from E to D. Additionally, the guitar itself had a neck electronically mapped to be exactly the same as the one on his previous main guitar, the Kramer 5150. It also had a black 5150 sticker on the body towards the end of usage by Eddie Van Halen on his #1 EVH Model.

The guitar itself is a great bit of history. Although you could possibly find genuine Ernie Ball Music Man EVH models on EBay, it is most likely easier to find an Ernie Ball Music Man Axis from Ernie Ball Music Man’s website. These retail for around $3 000 AUS or so, but is worth every dollar and is a great playing guitar, coming in a variety of colours. For those who desire the specifications, they are listed below, courtesy of the Ernie Ball Music Man website:

This guitar is still available commercially from Ernie Ball Music Man under the name Axis, although with some slight modifications.

Picture courtesy http://www.music-man.com/instruments/guitars/axis.html

Model: Axis

Size: 12-5/8” wide, 1-3/4” thick, 36-1/4” long (32.1 cm wide, 4.5cm thick, 92.0 cm long)

Weight: 7 lbs, 4 oz (3.29 kg) – weight varies slightly

Body Wood: Basswood with bookmatched figured maple top

Body Finish: High gloss polyester

Body Colours: Back and sides – Opaque Black

Body Bindings: Binding – Cream

Bridge: Music Man® locking tremolo with fine tuners; lowers pitch only

Scale Length: 25-1/2” (64.8cm)

Neck Radius: 10” (25.4cm)

Headstock Size: 1-5/8” (41.3mm) at nut, 2-3/16” (55.6mm) at last fret

Frets: 22 – High profile, medium width

Neck Width: 1-5/8” (41.3mm)

Neck Wood: Select maple neck

Fingerboard: Select maple or rosewood

Neck Finish: Gunstock oil and hand-rubbed special wax blend

Neck Colours: Standard – Natural; Optional – Matching Painted Headstock

Tuning Machines: Schaller M6LA with Pearl Buttons

Truss Rod: Adjustable – no component or string removal

Neck Attachment: 5 bolts – perfect alignment with no shifting; Sculpted neck joint allows smooth access to higher frets

Electronic Shielding: Graphite acrylic resin coated body cavity and aluminium lined control cover

Controls: 500kohm volume pot

Switching: 3-way toggle pickup selector

Pickups: HH – 2 DiMarzio Custom Humbucking

Left-handed: No

Strings: Ernie Ball Slinky 9s-42s

 

For those looking for a slightly different alternative, there is also the Ernie Ball Music Man Axis Super Sport. Specifications are not listed here, yet you can go to the Ernie Ball Music Man website and have a browse if you wish.

This guitar truly is a piece of good history, and will make a fine addition to your collection.

Ernie Ball Music Man also made a double-neck baritone guitar for Eddie specifically for live performances of the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge song “Spanked”.

Picture courtesy https://www.pinterest.com/pin/177751516517126418/

References:

  1. Ball, Sterling. 2008. I guess I have to talk about EVH… Ernie Ball Music Man Forums. http://www.music-man.com/blog/sterling/i-guess-i-have-to-talk-about-evh.html
  2. Ernie Ball. 2007. Ernie Ball Forums. http://forums.ernieball.com/music-man-guitars/21007-ernie-ball-axis-history.html