After almost 35 years of playing and studying the inner workings of literally thousands of electric guitars, Eddie Van Halen, lead guitarist and co-founder of the rock band Van Halen, had finally developed what many consider to be the ultimate rock-n-roll instrument: Fender’s new Wolfgang Guitar.
The Wolfgang guitar, named after Eddie’s son and the band’s newest bass player, Wolfgang Van Halen, this guitar has reached the zenith in solid body electric guitar design. In 2004 Eddie Van Halen ended his long time collaboration with Peavey Electronics, who were the original makers of the 5150 EVH amplifiers and the Peavey Wolfgang and Wolfgang Special guitars.
Afterwards in 2006, Eddie approached master designer and builder Chip Ellis at Fender about recreating a new and improved Wolfgang. After looking over the older models, Ellis created a prototype with an alder wood body and arch-top. Alder wood as been used as the primary wood in many solid body electrics since the 1950’s Strats.
Eddie after testing it out requested that the body be made from basswood with a maple top with five piece binding. Basswood is a lighter weight wood than an alder and usually produces bodies that are under 4 lbs which are easy to play even after long studio sessions and concerts. While basswood guitars are sometimes prone to dings, dents and nicks due to the nature of wood are still prized for their warm, full tones.
The Wolfgang guitar is also unique in the development of is pickups and tuner system. All pickups were custom designed for this instrument, by leading Fender engineer, Seiki Goto. The hard mounted humbucking pickups are built in-house to Eddie’s exacting specifications.
This new Fender uses a custom designed Bourns very low friction pots to control the volume and tone, along with a Floyd Rose tremolo unit with the trademark EVH D-Tuna. The EVH D-Tuna is a drop D tuning system designed to work specially with double-locking tremolo such as this signature Floyd Rose.
This system allows you to be in Drop D on the fly without having to switch or tune your guitar on stage or during a studio session. The world famous a Floyd Rose bridge unit with its double locking tremolo arm, tremolo bar or whammy bar was exclusively designed for the Fender Wolfgang guitar.
The quartersawn maple neck is reinforced 2 graphite rods and has 22 vintage stainless steel frets which are almost indestructible and extremely resistant to wear spots, nicks dings and offers the guitarist a very smooth feel and bending action that doesn’t wear out.
An to prove its “road worthiness”, Eddie took 3 prototype Wolfgang guitars on the road with him in 2007 during the Van Halen reunion tour with former lead singer David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen, Eddie and his son Wolfgang Van Halen.
Tested for over 6 grueling months of concerts, rehearsals and trial and error, the final version of the new Fender Wolfgang guitar went into production in March 2008. Since then sales have been steady for this latest guitar creation from one the premier “Guitar Gods” of the latter 20th century.
Now that you know a bit more about the Fender Wolfgang guitars you can understand why both rockers and collectors alike are interested in adding this instrument to their personal group of guitars.