As the co-founder and lead guitarist of the revolutionary rock group Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen has been hailed as one of the kings of the genre ever since eager fans got to witness him shred his beloved guitars back in the early 1970s.
You couldn’t really compare Halen’s knowledge and wisdom about guitars with anyone else playing at the time, making him a truly innovative individual who helped make these beautiful instruments as admired in the rock scene as they are today.
Eddie has also become very well known for popularizing the tapping guitar technique, which is still used by many instrumentalists today across a range of different music genres.
His unique style of playing, explosive charisma, and flashy style has earned him the position as one of the most popular music icons in history, but there was another big reason people loved seeing Eddie play live, and it was because of how frequently he switched his guitar.
From the small and minimalistic to the exuberant and exciting, here is a full in-depth guide going through all the guitars and equipment Eddie used throughout his decorated and adventurous career.
The 1970s Guitars
It was during the 1970s that hard rock really started to grab the attention of music fans more than it ever had done before, and with this came a range of incredibly unique and experimental designs and finishes for the instruments being used during the performances.
It was during this period that people began to take notice of Eddie Van Halen’s unique sense of style when it came to his guitars which helped to add a whole new layer to his performances, giving him an out-there aesthetic that hadn’t really been seen before.
Here are all of the guitars Eddie used throughout the roaring rock decade of the 1970s, and a little bit of information on where each one was played and for how long fans were able to catch a glimpse of them.
1968 Gibson Les Paul Standard
Used Between: 1969 and 1976
While this retro 50s-themed guitar did come out a little before the dawn of the 1970s, Eddie used it frequently throughout those years, even before Van Halen had been formed.
In the early 1970s, Eddie and his older brother Alex would play small gigs while part of much smaller bands including The Trojan Rubber Co. and The Broken Combs.
Eddie had admitted during interviews conducted later in his career that one of his biggest inspirations that helped him consider even picking up a guitar in the first place was the popular English rock and blues guitarist Eric Clapton.
“I was a total Eric Clapton freak” Eddie says, explaining how he once saw pictures of him playing the Les Paul, and immediately bought one as soon as he had the chance from Music for Everyone in 1969.
The Gibson Les Paul itself is a guitar fitted with double-ring tuners, two single-coil Gibson P-90 pickups, and a fairly small 50s-themed headstock.
As the years went on, it was becoming much trickier for fans to recognize the Les Paul as Eddie began tinkering and modifying it, using a chisel to create space for the humbucker and covering the guitar in white tape with a brand new coat of paint.
1958 Fender Stratocaster
Used Between: 1973 and Unspecified
Eddie’s experience with the incredibly popular Fender Stratocaster is a bit of a strange one since while we know that it was his preferred guitar after the Les Paul, it’s not exactly clear when he decided to drop it completely.
What is clear however is that Eddie had plenty of issues with this guitar while recording and playing it live. He’s gone on record saying that he had to constantly tinker his playing style while using the 58 Strat just so it could stay in tune and also so he could make use of the whammy bar.
This isn’t to suggest that the guitar was a complete waste of time for Eddie however, as he actually used the unique tremolo from the guitar in one of the earliest incarnations of the now legendary Frankenstrat.
1960s Gibson ES-335
Used: Only 1973
Eddie barely got to use his 60s Gibson, partly because his bandmates kept teasing him and calling him Roy Orbison whenever he picked it up, and also because he essentially broke the guitar down over the course of a year while trying to tune it.
In an attempt to apply the whammy bar to the three lower strings, Eddie literally sawed the guitar in half, admitting years later that “I did everything you can imagine to that guitar to ruin it”.
The final blow was most probably when Eddie took a sander to the guitar and accidentally made a giant hole right at the center of the thin body.
Just like the 58 Strat though, there were still parts of this guitar that Eddie liked that would eventually be included in the Frankenstrat, including the black humbucker which was essential in leading Eddie towards the exact sound he was searching for.
There is only one known blurry photo of a young Eddie playing the Gibson ES-335 before it became dismantled and unusable.
1955 Les Paul Junior
Used Between: 1974 and 1981
When it came to live performances, it only took a handful of months after being introduced for the Les Paul Junior to be replaced by the “The Shark” and the black and white Frakenstrat.
With that being said though, there’s been a fan theory spread around for many years that this guitar is actually featured on some parts of Van Halen’s self-titled debut album released in 1978.
The evidence for this is multiple promotional photo sessions where Eddie could be seen sporting the miniature Les Paul with its deep gold and black design.
The Les Paul Junior is most recognizable for its single P-90 pickup, tone and volume control knobs, stud-mounted bridge, and beautiful rosewood fingerboards that provide a nice contrast to the deep gold and black surrounding the rest of the instrument.
1975 Ibanez 2459 Destroyer “The Shark”
Used Between: 1975 and 1977
Despite being a guitar with a downright stunning design, and being able to give off the “brown” sound that Van Halen would become synonymous with upon the release of their first album, the 75 Ibanez unfortunately often gets overshadowed by the Frankenstrat.
Since Eddie would switch between the two and also used the Frankenstrat during the years when Van Halen as a group were becoming household names, “The Shark” unfortunately doesn’t receive the plaudits it deserves, despite how much Eddie himself loved using it.
As with all of his guitars, Eddie was constantly customizing the Ibanez to suit his liking, trying out many different pickups before he found the right one.
He also repainted the guitar constantly until he eventually settled on the red finish with white stripes which many fans agree is one of the most eye-catching and stylish guitars that he ever played.
The 75 Ibanez is actually very prominent across Van Halen’s first album and can clearly be heard on songs like You Really Got Me and many of the songs that don’t have many vibrato-bar sections.
The Ibanez, unfortunately, met a similar fate similar to that of the majority of Eddie’s guitars at the time, as in an attempt to mold his own Explorer and Flying V hybrid, he cut a massive chunk out of the tail of the guitar, which also gave it an incredible visual aesthetic.
The only issue was this hack also took a toll on the tone of the guitar which made it tricky to use. With “The Shark” still being featured on the cover of Van Halen’s third album though, it’s clear that Eddie still had a fondness for this guitar even after it lost its sound.
Used Between: 1975 and 1979
Just like how Doctor Frankenstein created a monster by putting together parts of deceased bodies, Eddie made it his mission to create a guitar that could combine the sound of the Gibson with the physical and tremolo bar functionality of the Stratocaster.
Of course, Eddie was already very familiar with both of these guitars which had played such big parts in his career up to that point, but upon realizing that off-the-shelf guitars weren’t modernizing in any meaningful ways, he decided to take it upon himself to create something new.
True to its name, the Frankenstrat truly is made from a wild combination of pieces and parts, including a Northern Ash Stratocaster body, a Gibson humbucking pickup near the bridge, and a maple neck and fretboard alongside a sharp Floyd Rose tremolo.
Surprisingly, not only did this mix-match of guitar pieces work, but it was arguably the biggest factor in creating the “brown sound” which defined Van Halen’s sound during the mid to late 1970s.
Mix this with the immense talent Eddie had for shredding a guitar, and it created a mesmerizing spectacle that became the talk of the music scene for many years.
Of course, any Van Halen fan knows that this wasn’t the final time the Frankenstrat would make an appearance as it would later go on to become modified and tweaked by Eddie as the band’s sound and style evolved, but this was still the initial template that started it all.
1978 Charvel Star
Used Between: 1978 and 1980
The Frankenstrat may have been the guitar that defined Van Halen by the last few years of the 1970s, and while he would use it for the majority of shows and recordings once it was crafted, there are still a few guitars that managed to make a brief appearance.
The marvelous creation of the Frankenstrat had encouraged Eddie to see what else he could conjure up out of his wild imagination, and the Charvel Star was just one of these experiments that saw quite a bit of use during the band’s early touring days.
Eddie had admitted that he was always fond of the idea of picking up a classic Charvel Star due to being good friends with Mr. Charvel himself, so when he finally got his hands on one, he almost immediately went straight to Mr. Charvel to ask for a major modification.
Eddie asked for the neck to be replaced with a Danelectro one, and very soon after, he re-painted it with a black and white stripy design.
The guitar was kept as a backup during the band’s 1978 tour, but it was also used a lot during the World Invasion Tour in 1980.
The 1980s Guitars
By the time the 1980s rolled around, Van Halen had become one of the most popular and recognizable names in not just the world of rock, but the world of music as a whole.
Their album ‘1984’ which was released that same year sold 10 million copies in the US alone, along with four chart-topping hit singles including arguably the band’s most famous song ever, Jump.
The 1980s were a time of experimentation and change in the music scene, and this change in environment and aesthetic was reflected in the instruments being played, and of course, when it came to guitars, no one was experimenting more than Eddie Van Halen.
Here are all the guitars Eddie was seen playing or using in the studio throughout the transformative decade that was the 1980s.
Frankenstrat V2 “Frank 2”
Used Between: 1979 and 1983
Eddie had continued using the Frankenstrat for most of his life on the road, but it soon became clear to him that many manufacturers were beginning to copy the style and design, and unless he made some more modifications, it would no longer be “his” guitar.
So, to throw off the copycats, Eddie got to work filling the neck and middle pickup cavities with a Gibson PAF and refinished the entire thing with a brand new splash of red that granted the guitar a black and white taped-off design.
This specific Frankenstrat re-paint was actually hugely influential, with many considering it one of the best-looking guitars of all time.
Eddie also closed the gap between the bridge and the body by using a quarter and also completely redesigned the pickguard with a Strat-inspired template in mind.
The second version of the Frankenstrat would go on to become the version most people know of today, and while Eddie continued to use it through the 1980s, he did have to retire it after it had struggled to stay in good condition during tours.
1979 Eddie Van Halen II “Bumblebee”
Used Between: 1979 and 2004
The Frankenstrat may be the guitar most people associate with Eddie Van Halen, but his custom-made “Bumblebee” is arguably just as crucial to his development as a performer, especially since it managed to last him so long without losing its touch.
Once again, Eddie returned to Wayne Charvel to help create this new guitar which featured a maple neck and fingerboard, a classic Charvel tremolo bridge, and a single Mighty Mite humbucker.
It soon became clear to Charvel that Eddie was looking to combine style and comfortability into a single guitar while also having an entirely new aesthetic that was harder for major guitar companies to copy, just as they had done with the Frankenstrat.
The end result was an instrument with an ash body and black-and-yellow stripe finish that first made an appearance on the cover of Van Halen II in 1979 and would continue to be used in live performances and in the recording studio for decades.
In fact, unlike most of Eddie’s other guitars, the Bumblebee didn’t actually break down or lose its signature sound, even after 2 decades of use.
Upon hearing from his family that Darrell Abbott, the guitarist of Panter who Eddie admired greatly, had sadly passed away, Eddie decided to bury the Bumblebee with the legendary guitarist as a sign of respect.
Used Between: 1980 and 1981
The DragonSnake has become somewhat of a myth spread around the Van Halen fan community, and while it is known that Eddie did indeed own the guitar and that furniture maker John Sterry designed it, finding actual images or photos of it is very difficult.
The stories go that Eddie became a little irritated with the tonality of the guitar and so asked John Sterry to carve out the body to give the illusion of a dragon biting a snake, hence the name.
The guitar was occasionally used while the band was touring in the early 1980s, and it also made an appearance on the televised lip-sync performance of Fools which was played for the Italian channel Rai2 TV in September 1980.
However, no one knows what actually happened to the DragonSnake after this, though many theorize that it eventually broke apart after Eddie tinkered with it a little too much.
EVH Frankenstrat “Rude”
In a similar vein to the DragonSnake, the EVH “Rude” guitar which features a black finish with white circles has remained to be one of Eddie’s most mysterious guitars ever, especially because it seems like this was an attempt by Eddie to make yet another Frankenstrat.
It was briefly used during the 1980 tour where it featured a Boogie Bodies neck along with a DiMarzio PAF humbucker, though during its appearance throughout the 1981 tour, it seemed that Eddie had already replaced the neck with a modified Danelectro neck instead.
The “Rude” part of the name comes from the fact that the word is painted on the neck pocket of the guitar and refers to Eddie’s childhood friend who had also become his guitar technician over time, Rude Leiren.
Gibson Custom Mini Les Paul
Used Between: 1981 and 1982
David Petschulat was a luthier from Nashville who was very quickly becoming linked to some of the biggest rock artists in the world due to his creative talents for creating instruments and equipment, and it wasn’t long before he offered one of his finest creations to Eddie Van Halen.
David has claimed over the years that he was eagerly searching for Eddie while he and the band were on tour to show him the guitar until the lead guitarist was finally able to feast his eyes on it.
The miniature guitar wasn’t used too much during live performances, but Eddie did tend to play it on the bus between shows, and he even ended up writing the music to Little Guitars on it which was recorded in 1982.
Unchained “Circle Guitar”
Used Between: 1981 and 1982
With the sudden emergence of music videos appearing on MTV in 1981, fans were able to finally get an insight into the creative process of their favorite singers and bands, and when it came to the rock scene, these videos were full of unique instruments and imagery.
The “Circle Guitar”, which was another one of Eddie’s custom-made instruments that featured a hip progression borrowed from the Frankenstrat, was first picked up on by die-hard Van Halen fans after it was seen being played in the music video for Unchained.
It wasn’t long before guitar enthusiasts became obsessed with the dazzling black-and-white appearance of the guitar, but when they actually came to see it in person during the Fair Warning tour, it looked a lot different from the video.
Not only had Eddie fitted the guitar with a Floyd Rose along with a Schaller humbucker, but he also completely re-did the color scheme, painting it red, yellow, black, and green.
This color scheme was actually in reference to the Jamaican flag and was a touching sign of respect to the country which had been facing huge political and civil turmoil in the early 1980s.
Dweezil Zappa, an aspiring guitarist at the time who became good friends with Eddie, claimed that the lead Van Halen guitarist would complain that this new guitar was becoming too heavy since it was much bulkier than every type of Les Paul guitar.
Therefore, it wasn’t spotted again on tour after 1982, but it did manage to make an appearance in that year’s issue of LIFE Magazine.
Gibson EDS-1275 Doubleneck
Doubleneck guitars certainly aren’t for the faint of heart, not only because of how much time they can take to tune and re-string, but also because they are so much bulkier and heavier than standard guitars with a single neck.
Despite the fact that Eddie tended to prefer guitars that granted him a little more maneuverability on stage, he actually took quite a liking to this Gibson Doubleneck, probably because other stars including Don Felder and Slash were also beginning to use it.
In fact, Eddie supposedly recorded nearly the entirety of Van Halen’s fifth studio album, Diver Down, using the Gibson Doubleneck, but quickly dropped it after these sessions were wrapped up.
1958 Gibson Flying V
Used Between: 1982 and 1984
Eddie purchased this classic Flying V Gibson model from Dan Martin in 1982 for a staggering $10,000, but the extravagant price was due to the fact that this was only one of 12 Flying V’s at the time, making it a must-have for Gibson enthusiasts such as Eddie.
You can hear the guitar on the songs Drop Dead Legs and Hot for Teacher, which were both featured on Van Halen’s last album featuring all four original members, 1984, which was released that same year.
The exact whereabouts of this Flying V are currently still unknown, but one thing is for certain, given its history and rarity, it would be worth a fortune nowadays.
Kramer 5150 Baretta
Used Between: 1983 and 1991
You could almost make an entire collection out of all the different types of guitars Eddie used throughout the music-obsessed 1980s, but one that managed to keep his attention for the longest, other than the Frankenstrat and Bumblebee, was the Kramer 5150.
The beautiful guitar was part of the newly established Kramer line of guitars which Eddie himself was able to sell, promote, and use as he wished.
While this 5150 model wasn’t initially designed for selling, it immediately made Eddie a huge name in the commercial side of the rock business in the 1980s.
Apparently, when the partnership between Eddie and Kramer was first getting started, Eddie requested that they create a model that was similar to the Frankenstrat in design, but the company claimed this could not be done.
Eddie instead opted to create a brand new guitar using the resources he was granted from the partnership which would become known as the Kramer 5150, featuring a cottonwood body alongside a custom maple neck and fingerboard and a Floyd Rose FRT-100.
The unusual body, wonderful sound, and commercial appeal of this guitar have made it one of the most recognizable and beloved from Van Halen’s touring days.
When Eddie decided to ditch the Gibson Doubleneck in the early 80s, he continued his search for a doubleneck that would be easy to handle while still providing that intense signature sound that the band had become synonymous with by that point.
His new partnership with Kramer gave him the opportunity he needed to create two of his very own doublenecks, one in red and the other in yellow.
Both guitars actually saw a lot of use both on the stage and in the recording studio and were the guitars used for the song Secrets from the album Diver Down.
During the Hide Your Sheep tour in 1982, Eddie whipped out one of these guitars specifically for that song, and while it didn’t see much action apart from that song, there have been photos showing it lying around Eddie’s studio, so it’s safe to assume he had a certain love for it.
Used Between: 1986 and 1987
The Steinberger was experiencing a wave of popularity throughout the mid to late 80s, with musicians including the likes of Geddy Lee, Allan Holdsworth, and David Gilmore all making it their instrument of choice while on tour, and it wasn’t long before Eddie joined them.
The reason he went with the GL-2T model specifically was that Eddie was having trouble playing the stock version which was incredibly slim and hard to get a good grip on when it was first released.
The GL-2T was custom-made by Jeff Babicz after it was requested by Eddie who also asked that the colors and paint scheme be almost identical to the Kramer 5150 which he was still using very frequently while on tour at the time.
He also wanted the colors to be as striking and visually appealing as possible for when he used it in the music video for Summer Nights.
The 1990s Guitars
With six highly successful albums to their name and a massive catalog of merchandise flying off the shelves, Van Halen was firmly established as one of the biggest rock bands in the entire world by the 1990s.
While the band had a brand new lead vocalist, along with more members being introduced throughout the decade, Van Halen still managed to top music charts and prove time and time again that they were still a major player within the world of rock and roll.
Of course, this also meant that Eddie continued to tinker and experiment with different guitars, many of which were a lot different in style and sound from most of his favorites that saw heavy usage throughout the 1980s.
Don Musser Custom Acoustic
Used Between: 1985 and 1995
Don Musser was becoming recognized as a mega star by many rock stars in the 1990s, being the go-to man for any wooden instruments that needed to look the part while also sounding incredible at the same time.
Eddie paid a visit to Mr. Musser at some point in the late 1980s and decided to pick up one of his signature wooden acoustic guitars that came with a mahogany neck and a Schaller tuner.
The instrument unfortunately didn’t see much action on stage, but Eddie did admit that it was used for certain songs that were featured on the band’s tenth studio album Balance, including the track Take Me Back.
Ernie Ball Opaque Gold
Used Between: 1990 and 1996
Kramer was facing extreme financial struggles once the 1990s arrived, so much so that it resulted in huge disagreements between them and Eddie regarding how much he would continue being paid.
In a move that came as quite a surprise to fans who had been carefully observing Eddie’s commercial success, the Van Halen lead guitarist decided to jump ship over to Music Man where he was free to try the Ernie Ball catalog.
Of course, in classic Eddie fashion, he decided to play around with the design and functionalities of his new toys until they sounded perfect to his ears.
He landed on an opaque gold model with a basswood body, a requisite maple neck, and a pair of DiMarzio humbucker pickups alongside the new “D-Tuna” option which dropped the low E string to the D.
This Ernie Ball model became Eddie’s go-to for a good few years, to the point where it even completely replaced his Frankenstrat both on the stage and in the recording studio.
Ernie Ball Doubleneck Purple Quilt
Used Between: 1990 and 1991
While he may have leaped out of his Kramer phase, Eddie still loved the look and feel of doubleneck guitars, so he quickly turned to Music Man to fix him up a replacement, resulting in a six-string model with a dazzling purple quilt finish.
There really isn’t much actually known about this guitar, but in the 1999 DVD titled Right Here, Right Now, Eddie can be seen playing the guitar for a few different songs during the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge tour in 1991.
If history is anything to go by, Eddie most probably found no real need for the instrument or potentially felt that it was too cumbersome to continue taking on tour and decided to leave it behind.
Peavey EVH Wolfgang
Used Between: 1996 and 2004
With the band taking a hiatus from the late 90s to the early 2000s, Eddie had a lot of free time on his hands to try out and experiment with a multitude of different guitars which were far different from his collection of Kramer’s and Les Paul’s.
In the search for something brand new and unique, Eddie signed a partnership with the manufacturing company Peavey who he asked to create a custom guitar for him that would be named after his then 5-year-old son, Wolfgang.
The design Eddie landed on included a basswood body, maple fingerboards, a pair of Alnico-V Peavey humbuckers, and a Rose double-locking whammy.
After loving the D-Tuna that was used on his gold Ernie Ball, he also made sure that this was integrated into this latest guitar too so that playing it would feel as natural as possible.
Eddie would later criticize the guitar during several interviews throughout the 2000s, claiming that the company had constantly pushed to completely redesign the Wolfgang model which made it a nuisance to play.
While there could definitely be some truth to this, a part of this criticism probably came from the very public falling out between Eddie and Hartley Peavey that took place around that time.
The guitar was briefly used on tour leading up to the release of Van Halen III, and it also saw a comeback when the band reunited and started touring around the world again in 2004.
The 2000s Guitars
Despite being on hiatus for over 3 years following the rather unsuccessful commercial appeal of Van Halen III, alongside even more newcomers entering the band, Van Halen as a band was certainly in a weird position in the 2000s.
However, this didn’t mean that the fans had left them since droves of people still flocked to any stadium or concert hall they were playing in, many of whom were simply just happy to see the band come together again after what had felt like a lifetime.
Eddie himself was still experimenting with different sounds and styles of guitars, but with new family responsibilities, he didn’t get the time to tinker and modify many of his guitars like he did so frequently during the 80s.
With that being said though, he still tested a few different instruments during the band’s tours after the release of Van Halen II and throughout the 21st century.
Charvel EVH Art Series
Used Between: 2004 and 2012
As part of the reunion tour in 2004, Eddie decided to surprise fans with a reference to his treasured Frankenstrat by bringing out a classic Charvel EVH with the exact same design as his red and white striped guitar that fans were so used to seeing during the 1980s.
A lot had changed since those years when Eddie was irritated and fearful of copycats though. By this point, Eddie was playing the guitar not only as an homage to his favorite guitar of all time, but also so he could sell them to his fans as a sign of appreciation.
Charvel, who was bought by Fender in 2002, immediately began to replicate a few of Eddie’s classic guitars that followed a signature Charvel template with a basswood body, Floyd Rose, and a Fender humbucker.
Eddie would then play the guitar during the shows, sign them with his autograph, and then auction them online for a lucky fan to get their hands on.
Rather than hoarding many of his guitars, which Eddie had been known to do decades prior, he was now granting the fans who had stuck with the band for so long a chance to finally see these guitars for themselves, up close and personal.
Fender EVH Frankenstrat Replica
Used Between: 2007 and 2020
Following the trend of giving guitars back to the fans, Eddie returned to Fender in 2006 to ask for 300 Frankenstrat replicas to be produced, along with an additional model that Eddie would go on to use for the rest of his career.
The 300 replicas were all sold within 15 minutes of being available, being the biggest commercial success for Eddie up to that point and proving to him that fans were still in love with the guitars that he had kept by his side for so many years.
Fender EVH Wolfgang
Used Between: 2009 and 2011
Eddie had always had the Wolfgang collection of guitars in his mind ever since the collaboration with Peavey back in the late 90s, and after the Frankenstrat replicas had sold incredibly well, he decided to continue them again, starting with a brand new model.
This classy new design featured a maple neck and fretboard, custom Gotoh tuners, an EVH-styled Floyd Rose, and two EVH humbucking pickups.
Compared to the original Wolfgang model, which Eddie publicly admitted he had plenty of problems with, this new version was almost completely different, with the only thing kept the same being the silhouette.
Chip Ellis who worked at Fender at the time admitted that he and the team tested many different pickups, materials, and designs, along with adjusting the weight and length of the guitar until it was perfect for Eddie to play.
While it acted as more of a backup to his Frankenstrat replica, this Wolfgang variant still saw some use during the North American tour.
EVH Wolfgang Stealth
Used Between: 2011 and 2020
Continuing the production of Wolfgang guitars, Fender released two brand new models in 2011, the Stealth and the USA Custom.
While Eddie would use both in his final years of performing, it was the Stealth variant that he took a liking to first, with it making an appearance at almost every show during the 2012 tour.
This guitar was actually a big turning point for how the fans saw Eddie, specifically in the sense that he had seemed to grow into a much more mature stage of his music career.
While he inserted an ebony fingerboard, the rest of the guitar was completely unaltered from when he first bought it and also didn’t feature a maple neck or fingerboard which had become staples of Eddie’s guitars up to that point.
In contrast to the experimental and unorthodox design of his previous guitars, this one was much more sleek, modern, and mainstream which was something that also boosted their commercial appeal in the new modern era.
EVH Wolfgang USA
Used Between: 2015 and 2020
This was the last guitar Eddie was known for using, and as he rotated between his several Wolfgangs, this one started to become extremely popular by the very end of his career.
This guitar was also manufactured by Chip Ellis after Eddie requested a white Wolfgang with a red killswitch.
The guitar was fitted with a low friction volume pot which Eddie took an immediate liking to since it allowed him to play without there being any risk of a sudden crackle or pop.
The EVH Wolfgang USA actually became the signature Wolfgang design after Eddie used it so many times in his last few years, with 20 replicas of the guitar being put up for sale in 2016.
This was also, by far, the most advanced guitar Eddie had ever used in regard to its specs.
Versatile switching, control layouts, and an R2 locking unit are just a few of the additional features that made this guitar so easy to handle without sacrificing any of the incredible sounds that it produced.
Extra Equipment That Eddie Used
Throughout his long and lustrous career, Eddie played with a huge catalog of guitars and became very attached to a few of them, but there were also a few extra pieces of musical equipment that he always kept close to him every time he performed.
1968 Marshall Super Lead
The 1968 Marshall Super Lead amplifier was a necessity for Eddie while in the recording studio because the heads, preamps, and cabinets all worked together to create the “brown sound” that Van Halen became so synonymous with, especially during their early years.
When the Marshall was first sent to him, Eddie soon realized that it was far too quiet for the kind of music Van Halen was trying to make, so he decided to buy a Variac transformer which enabled him to use the amplifier on a lower voltage.
He then set the dial to 140v, set all the knobs to 10, and proceeded to control the volume by using the new Variac.
While Eddie did switch the amplifier out now and again, such as using the Soldano SLO 100 to record most of the album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge for example, it was the 68 Marshall that he continued using right up until the modern era.
MXR Phase 90 Pedal
Eddie experimented with many different pedals in his early years to try and find something that could help his guitar roar without actually boosting the signal.
When he discovered the Phase 90, he was immediately impressed by how subtle it was in changing the overall sound, with it often being compared to a flanger.
The Phase 90 was able to bring in a nice phase effect that wasn’t affected by any signal, and while Eddie did switch between a flanger and Echoplexes for certain songs, he remained very faithful to the Phase 90 throughout his career.
Metal Guitar Picks
Metal guitar picks were certainly not seen as suitable or trendy throughout the 20th century, but this didn’t stop Eddie from using them in the 1970s, arguing that they gave the guitar a much more aggressive tone that suited the sound of the band exceptionally well.
In fact, Eddie was outshining many other guitarists who were only relying on plastic picks, inspiring a lot of them also to try it to see what all the fuss was about.
There wasn’t a particular size or length pick that Eddie preferred using, and while he did rotate between rubber, plastic, and wooden picks on occasion, a metal pick was always his reliable go-to for recordings and tours.
When discussing the best guitarists of all time, you have to mention the long-lasting career of Eddie Van Halen and his massive collection of guitars, many of which are still being sought out by die-hard fans to this day.
Not only was Eddie a master at actually playing the guitar and creating some incredible sounds that guitarists at the time could only dream of, but he also became a massive influence in so many other ways.
The way Eddie constantly modified his guitars to give them a brand new sound and style had never been seen before, and many accredit him for making the visual appeal of guitars much more prominent in people’s eyes.
Eddie’s deals with Peavey and Kramer also showed many musicians the benefits of partnerships and how much freedom they could offer them in terms of manufacturing a guitar exactly to their liking and also being able to sell their creations to the fans.
All in all, Eddie was far ahead of his time and a true pioneer in the music industry who has left behind an incredible career that can only be admired!