Eddie Van Halen built his first guitar himself. "Some people call it Frankens... more
Eddie Van Halen built his first guitar himself. "Some people call it Frankenstein... I call it my baby."
When asked by Guitar World about building the original Frankenstein, he said that it was built in "'74, I think? I was looking' through... if you notice in old pictures it had a Gibson sticker on it... that was the perfect thing. What I was trying to do was cross... cross-pollenate a Gibson with a Fender. This was way before Floyd... I didn't have the money! The guitar I wanted to play didn't exist. It was that simple... the body cost me $50, and the neck cost me $80."
The source link is the first of a series of videos in which Eddie details his experiences with the original "Frankenstein" and its replicas, the latter of which were designed by Chip Ellis of Fender.
Eddie co-designed this guitar with Chip Ellis (who was also in charge of crea... more
Eddie co-designed this guitar with Chip Ellis (who was also in charge of creating the Frankenstein replicas) and named it after his son, Wolfgang Van Halen.
Eddie had this to say in the video about the guitar: "Everything that I've destroyed, everything that I've stumbled onto, is in this guitar. It's everything I know— EVERYTHING that I know and I've experienced in my journey to where we are now..."
In this photo with Eddie and his son Wolfgang, Eddie's guitar can be identifi... more
In this photo with Eddie and his son Wolfgang, Eddie's guitar can be identified as the "3-Color Sunburst" model of Wolfgang USA guitar.
In this photo from EVHGear.com, Eddie Van Halen's guitars and gear company, E... more
In this photo from EVHGear.com, Eddie Van Halen's guitars and gear company, Eddie is playing the Stealth Black model of Wolfgang USA guitar. According to the file name, this was taken during a tour in 2012.
On one of the collectible covers of Guitar World for February 2009, Eddie Van... more
On one of the collectible covers of Guitar World for February 2009, Eddie Van Halen can be seen with a Tobacco Burst version of the Wolfgang Special guitar.
This particular version of the guitar can also be seen on the cover of Guitar Player's 2011 Holiday issue: http://www.guitarplayer.com/holiday2011
On one of the four collectible covers for Guitar World's February 2009 issue,... more
On one of the four collectible covers for Guitar World's February 2009 issue, Eddie is seen with the Vintage White model of the Wolfgang USA guitar.
On Dec 19 2011, bidding began on a 1999 Wolfgang Translucent Cherry guitar do... more
On Dec 19 2011, bidding began on a 1999 Wolfgang Translucent Cherry guitar donated by Eddie to Drop In The Bucket. This was one of the first guitars produced under the Wolfgang moniker. Bidding ended on January 19, 2012.
Image provided by a press release regarding the same listing: http://www.guitaraficionado.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/evh-gtr-in-case-660-80.jpg
Eddie used a 1976 Ibanez Destroyer during the early years of Van Halen and th... more
Eddie used a 1976 Ibanez Destroyer during the early years of Van Halen and this guitar became the customized guitar known as "The Shark" These modifications were done by Eddie himself. [http://www.vhnd.com/2011/06/02/search-and-destroy/]
In this music video for "Can't Stop Lovin' You" Eddie can be seen playing his... more
In this music video for "Can't Stop Lovin' You" Eddie can be seen playing his Signature Music Man. :48s is the best shot of this guitar.
There is a clear shot in this video, at 1:29, of Eddie playing his custom Kra... more
There is a clear shot in this video, at 1:29, of Eddie playing his custom Kramer guitar.
In this live video for Van Halen's song "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" he can be ... more
In this live video for Van Halen's song "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" he can be seen playing a Steinberger. There is a clear shot around 0:14.
in this page of evhs guitars you can notice he has a rasta frankenstrat and h... more
in this page of evhs guitars you can notice he has a rasta frankenstrat and handed it down to dweezil zappa
at 1967 of the official evh timeline it says that eddies first guitar was a t... more
at 1967 of the official evh timeline it says that eddies first guitar was a teisco del ray
he plays it live sometimes more
he plays it live sometimes
In this photo, Van Halen can be seen with his replica '78 Frankenstrat. more
In this photo, Van Halen can be seen with his replica '78 Frankenstrat.
This is a custom made purple Kramer Pacer with stripes from his guitar collec... more
This is a custom made purple Kramer Pacer with stripes from his guitar collection.
In 1984 issue of Guitar World, Van Halen was seen with Gibson Korina Flying V. more
In 1984 issue of Guitar World, Van Halen was seen with Gibson Korina Flying V.
Throughout the years, Van Halen also used Gibson Les Paul Customs. Most notab... more
Throughout the years, Van Halen also used Gibson Les Paul Customs. Most notable is the one photographed, which is completely white, with pickguard removed.
This was Eddie’s first guitar. He initially bought a pair of drums when he ca... more
This was Eddie’s first guitar. He initially bought a pair of drums when he came to the US, but during the time he was working around neighborhood delivering paper in order to pay for the drum set, his brother Alex would sneak into his room and practice himself. Eddie saw that Alex was getting better and better, so he decided to switch to an electric guitar instead. He bought a Teisco Del Ray for $110 from Sears with four pickups – which made a huge impression on a high-school boy. At that time, he didn’t have money to buy ad amp, so he would play with his guitar on the table – which made it louder since it would resonate through the wood..
Teisco guitars were made in Japan and imported to the US under various names such as Silvertone and Beltone. Eddie’s particular model was probably from 1965-66, and it was based on the Ibanez 3904 featuring nearly identical body shape and similar pickup layout.
Guessing he bought the guitar when he was around 16 years old, or in 1971, he had around three years to practice on it before he switched to the Frankenstrat. It is possible that he played some other guitars during those three years, but we haven’t been able to found anything that would implicate that.
Eddie got this guitar most likely sometime in 1977, prior to the recording of... more
Eddie got this guitar most likely sometime in 1977, prior to the recording of the first album. Originally, the guitar had natural finish, but it appears that Eddie painted the whole guitar white at some point according to a couple of photos from around that time. Eddie speaks of the guitar as a “Korina” Ibanez, although it was most likely made of Sen – which is an asian wood very similar to ash, but finished in such way that it looked like Korina.
Eddie eventually went for the stripes, and rolled masking tape around the body painting the rest of it in red – a process he practiced previously on the Frankenstrat. He also removed a big chunk of wood from the body using a chainsaw, which made the guitar look like some sort of a crossover between a Flying V and an Explorer. The cut wasn’t clean, and the small chunks sort of resembled teeth – therefore the guitar’s nickname “The Shark”.
This modification ended up being a bad decision, and Eddie commented on how the guitar just didn’t sound the same anymore, since the body didn’t resonate as well as it did before – so he gradually stopped using the guitar.
Other mods included new electronics (supposedly Gibson PAF in the bridge), removal of the pickguard, and replacing the knobs with ones from a Les Paul.
Eddie used the Destroyer on the first album on “You Really Got Me”, and some other songs that didn’t require tremolo. It is unclear if he ever used the guitar in the future, but logical answer seems to be no.
Eddie was seen playing this guitar on The Downtown Sessions DVD released in 2... more
Eddie was seen playing this guitar on The Downtown Sessions DVD released in 2012. A couple of clips are available on Vimeo, including the cover of Kink’s “You Really Got Me”.
This is one of the less know guitars of Eddie’s from the early years. He got ... more
This is one of the less know guitars of Eddie’s from the early years. He got it in mid ’78, but it was mostly seen during the 1980 Invasion tour.
Eddie bought the body from Charvel, and installed a neck from an old Danelectro (this exact same neck was seen on some other guitars prior, including a white strat-shaped Charvel with a Telecaster pickup in the bridge, which he supposedly used on “Women In Love”). He painted the whole body white, installed a Gibson PAF pickup, and Floyd Rose tremolo/locking nut.
Sometime in 1980 Eddie painted the guitar once again, this time going for the look similar to the one he had on the original Frankenstein.
For the second album and the following tour Eddie made another guitar, simila... more
For the second album and the following tour Eddie made another guitar, similar to the first one. He asked Charvel to route a Strat-style body he had so all the electronics could be rear-loaded – eliminating the need for a pickguard. He went alone from there, painting the body yellow and doing the whole business with the masking tape to add the stripes.
As far as the electronics go, on the album cover of Van Halen II the guitar had some random pickup in the bridge, since it was barely finished for the photo session. After that, Eddie did some experimenting and ended up making a pickup of his own. He used a DiMarzio humbucker, bet replaced the magnet with the one from a Gibson PAF, and then re-wound the whole thing by hand. He then dipped the pickup into some paraffin wax, and put the copper tape around the windings.
For the neck he used the one from Charvel with a black headstock. The back of the neck was also originally black, but Eddie sanded it down because he prefers the feel of unfinished wood. This neck was later transferred to the Frankenstein for the 1979 tour, and then used on the Snake guitar.
The guitar was buried alongside Dimebag Darrell – Pantera guitarist who died tragically in 2004.
The DragonSnake is mostly known for it’s appearance on the cover of the Guita... more
The DragonSnake is mostly known for it’s appearance on the cover of the Guitar World magazine in January 1981.
Only two of these guitar were ever made for Eddie – one in red, and one in ye... more
Only two of these guitar were ever made for Eddie – one in red, and one in yellow, both featuring stripe decals.
Eddie used this guitar specifically because of the TransTrem system, on songs... more
Eddie used this guitar specifically because of the TransTrem system, on songs such as ‘Get Up’ and ‘Summer Nights’ for the 5150 album released in 1986.
Eddie used this guitar when performing “Spanked” live during the time he used... more
Eddie used this guitar when performing “Spanked” live during the time he used Music Man guitars. The top portion of the guitar served as a 6-string bass, and the bottom was a regular guitar.
It would be fair to say that Eddie Van Halen is one of the greatest guitarists ever to have plucked a six-string. His legacy in influencing an entire generation of guitarists is undeniable, with the axe-man being voted the best of all time, as recently as 2012, over peers such as Angus Young and Brian May by readers of Guitar World magazine. Van Halen was a chameleon in his choice of equipment throughout his career, adapting to new developments to ensure that he captured the sound in his head for his latest record.
Eddie's most famous guitar is the self-built "Frankenstein," or Frankenstrat, which he custom made from parts bought from Wayne Charvel's guitar shop. The neck and part of the pick guard were altered, with a Floyd Rose vibrato unit installed. this was his regular touring guitar and pride and joy — a replica version was made available for $25,000 in 2007. A stock Ibanez Destroyer was used on large parts of Van Halen's first album, and Eddie later used a rear-loaded Kramer 5150 for his early '80s recordings.
Van Halen switched between guitars from album to album — and from track to track at times — in his restless search for perfection. He most commonly used the Steinberger GL-2T with TransTrem, the EVG "Music Man" guitar and several varieties of Fender Strats, Telecasters and Coral Sitars. He also produced his own signature line of guitars with Peavey, named after his son, Wolfgang, which often featured a device called a "D-Tuna." which enabled the guitarist to tune the low E string down to D with a slight turn of a knob attached to the end of the bridge.
Van Halen's magpie approach extended to his choices of amplifier; though he most commonly used a 100-watt Marshall amp in the early years of his career, he has stated his favorite amp to be the '63 blonde Band Master head, saying that was the best he'd ever heard himself play. Throughout his recording career, he has also used a single Celestion speaker cabinet and a MOSFET solid state power amp and had a hand in designing the Peavey Electronics 5150 amp and the later Fender 5150 III.
Always taking a purist approach to his sound, Van Halen never used a distortion pedal, preferring to utilize the natural distortion from his amp. He relied largely on a Roland sde3000 rack unit delay pedal for effects. If diversity is truly the key to innovation, it would be fair to cite this as the reason for Eddie Van Halen being one of the world's most distinctive and adventurous guitarists.