Tag Archives: Tour

EVH/Fender Wolfgang USA Edward Van Halen Signature Model

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Eddie Van Halen put out this model of guitar for people to enjoy after much interest in the EVH Gear label.

The continuous evolution of Eddie’s sound and tone over the years has had many twists and turns. The result is this, EVH’s signature model guitar. It is exactly what Eddie himself uses and plays today.

Eddie Van Halen is a living legend, as shown here in the special Smithsonian lecture for which he was an honourable guest at. He fully deserves the credit for his musical development, of the latest main development is the guitar next to him, which this article is about.

Guitarist Eddie Van Halen has been honored by the Smithsonian Institution for his contributions to American music. (Smithsonian Institution)

Picture courtesy https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/apr/2/eddie-van-halens-immigrant-take-on-american-rock-n/

So, what differs to the main line of EVH Wolfgang guitars? Coming in either an Ivory (White) or Stealth (Black) finish, there are a few key differences to the regular line of Wolfgangs here.

Firstly, the Basswood body is complemented with a Maple top. The pickups are also somewhat different from a traditional Wolfgang, being that the neck pickup is an Alnico 3 type humbucker, with the bridge pickup being an Alnico 2 humbucker. Prior to this, all EVH Gear guitars had Alnico 2 pickups on them in both positions.

The EVH Wolfgang USA Edward Van Halen Signature also comes in an Ivory finish. As mentioned by EVH marketer Matt Bruck, the Ivory version of this line of guitars is intended to be a halfway house between the Stealth version, and the Tour Relic Replica that Eddie recently played in 2015 on the live tour.

Wolfgang® USA Edward Van Halen Signature, Ebony Fingerboard, Ivory

Picture courtesy http://www.evhgear.com/gear/guitars/wolfgang-usa/wolfgang-usa-edward-van-halen-signature-ebony-fingerboard-ivory/

Additionally, there is the kill switch. This is on Eddie’s own guitar which acts as a push-push volume cut, which Eddie notably uses on “You Really Got Me” in live performances, and other songs he plays. Additionally, instead of the regular strap buttons come key clasps, ideal for the dog-lead style strap that Eddie Van Halen uses on his guitars for a more secure strap setting.

In any case, below are the specifications of the guitar, courtesy of the www.evhgear.com website:

GENERAL:

Model Name: Wolfgang® USA Edward Van Halen Signature, Ebony Fingerboard, Stealth

Model Number: 5107920868

Series: Wolgang® USA

MSRP: $4475.51

Colours: Choice between Ivory (White) or Stealth (Black)

BODY:

Body Shape: Wolfgang®

Body Binding: 5-Ply

Body Material: Basswood with Big Leaf Maple Top

Body Finish: Satin Urethane

Body Back: Basswood

Body Top: Big Leaf Maple

NECK:

Neck Material: Quartersawn Maple

Neck Shape: Wolfgang Backshape, .805” @ 3rd fret / .890 @ 12th fret

Scale Length: 25.5” (648 mm)

Fingerboard Radius: 12”-16” compound radius (304.8 mm to 406.4mm)

Number of Frets: 22

Fret Size: Vintage Stainless

String Nut: Floyd Rose® Locking

Nut Width: 1.650” (42mm)

Headstock: EVH®-Branded

Neck Plate: NA

Neck Finish: Hand-Rubbed Urethane Gel

Fingerboard: Ebony

Position Inlays: Pearloid Dot (Stealth) or Block Inlays (Ivory)

ELECTRONICS:

Bridge Pickup: EVH® Wolfgang® Humbucking

Neck Pickup: EVH® Wolfgang® AL3 Humbucker

Controls: EVH® BI Tech HPU Low Friction Volume, EVH® Bourns High Friction Tone

Pickup Switching: EVH Reverse-Style 3-Position Switching: Position 1: Neck Pickup, Position 2: Neck and Bridge, Position 3: Bridge.

Pickup Configuration: HH

HARDWARE:

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

Tuning Machines: EVH® Branded

Orientation: Right-Hand

Hardware Finish: Chrome

Pickguard: N/A

Control Knobs: Black “Speed” Knobs

Switch Tips: Black

MISCELLANEOUS:

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

Is there anything Eddie Van Halen himself cannot do or has not done in his pursuit of the perfect tone? Eddie truly is the master of tone chasing and this guitar is the last step (so far) in that tone chasing nature of his. 

Picture courtesy https://spinditty.com/instruments-gear/EVH-Wolfgang-vs-Ibanez-JEM77

Notably, this guitar is the final step (to this date) of Eddie Van Halen’s most recent evolution, although future changes could be done to this guitar and line up of guitars. If you are fascinated by the most modern and recent addition to the evolution of the Brown Sound, or just need a fantastic shred style guitar to add to your collection, look no further.

 

References:

  1. Wolfgang® USA Edward Van Halen Signature. EVH Gear. http://www.evhgear.com/gear/guitars/wolfgang-usa/wolfgang-usa-edward-van-halen-signature-ebony-fingerboard-stealth/
  2. EVH Wolfgang USA Edward Van Halen Signature Electric Guitar – New From NAMM 2017. Musician’s Friend, YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WF0fdY3gAiI

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.

A Reunion?

Nobody knew what really began the Van Halen downward spiral. A series of bad events unnerved the once great band that was Van Halen. It started as early as when David Lee Roth left the band in 1985. Sammy Hagar never really got along with the boys terribly well, although early on they shared some good moments together. Gary Cherone left as it really was becoming far worse than anybody could imagine.

Eventually a call by Alex Van Halen after five years of no lead singer was made to Sammy Hagar. There was no real explanation why so, perhaps money was involved. But eventually Sammy Hagar met the boys at a rather notorious meeting at Eddie’s 5150 studios to sign a contract to release another compilation and to go on tour.

A happy reunion for Van Halen? It was a disaster waiting to happen.

 photo SamandEd2004_zps191369ea.jpg

Picture courtesy http://smg.photobucket.com/user/pt5150/media/SamandEd2004_zps191369ea.jpg.html

Eddie was certainly not in a good frame of mind at this point. Really, for many Van Halen fans, their days had gone. A reunion tour out of the blue did not seem very wise, and turned out to be a disaster.

Although the tour was a financial success, from a musical standing point it was really very bad. The band performed well…except for Eddie Van Halen. Eddie constantly made mistakes and sung off key.

But the worst part was how Eddie looked. He was totally drunk at the time, possibly taking drugs (many people who dislike Eddie personally called him “Meth Eddie” around this time), disheveled with black teeth and truly looked like a Frankenstein like creature. Sadly, for one of the greatest guitarists in living history he had lost it around this time. It was such a transformation that had happened gradually over time: from rock legend to living joke.

Sammy Hagar and Eddie Van Halen are definitely no longer friendly due to the events that occurred on the 2004 Reunion tour.

Picture courtesy http://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/sammy-hagar-i-dont-see-a-new-van-halen-record-happening-393416

It is no surprise that Sammy Hagar wrote a detailed autobiography after this tour due to the horrific events that occurred during this time entitled Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock aimed squarely at Eddie Van Halen, with some attacks also at Alex Van Halen.

Regardless of the truth or non-truth from either camp, Van Halen were at a terrible stage in their musical career. But once Sammy Hagar left after the last show in Tucson, he and Eddie were never on good terms again. Eddie smashed his favourite Peavey Wolfgang guitar at the end of the show, threw the pieces into the crowd and told the crowd: “You don’t understand. You people pay my rent. I love you people.”

Eddie Van Halen was really messed up at this point.

Picture courtesy http://concertshots.com/vanhalensilvertide604_.htm

Also equally bad was Eddie ending his contract with Peavey in 2004. This was due to breaking contract negotiations with Peavey to sell and market instruments to other corporations, in Eddie’s case, the Charvel Art Series guitars. Also Van Halen had lost their contract with Warner Bros. in 2002 who signed them way back in the late 1970s. Eddie lost his long term wife Valerie Bertinelli in 2001 as well. In general, not a great time for Van Halen.

Still, a compilation with three new songs was released, reminding people of past glories. But Van Halen were still not ready to be a band yet. This part of the Van Halen story will go down in rock history as one of the worst overall. The only way from here was up, however.

The Best Of Both Worlds compilation was the only really good thing to result from the brief reunion.

Picture courtesy http://lyrics.wikia.com/wiki/File:Van_Halen_-_The_Best_of_Both_Worlds.jpg

 

References:

  1. Ultimate Classic Rock. 2015. 11 Years Ago: Van Halen Mount Disastrous Tour With Sammy Hagar. http://ultimateclassicrock.com/sammy-hagar-van-halen-reunion-2004/
  2. Rock News Desk. 2011. Hagar Tried To Quit Van Halen During Disaster Tour. http://rocknewsdesk.com/world-news/hagar-tried-to-quit-van-halen-during-disaster-tour/712/
  3. Van Halen – The Unofficial Very Cool Fan Site. 2015. http://www.vanhalen.8k.com/bio.htm