Here’s a great example of everything you’ve ever needed in a rock guitar. Designed in collaboration with Eddie Van Halen, this is one of the original run of EVH Signature guitars built by Ernie Ball / Music Man from 1991 to 1995.
Approximately 6000 were made in total. They have a beautiful bookmatched figured maple top on a basswood body. The tops were hand stained - usually red, amber, blue or purple with a few greens. This stain often fades to a much lighter colour, but the delicious amber finish on this one is just as bright as the day it was born. Amber was also the colour favoured by Eddie when he played this model onstage.
Pickups are two zebra bobbin DiMarzio custom humbuckers controlled by a 500K volume pot and 3-way selector switch. The volume control is labelled "Tone" - a sort of EVH joke. The bridge is a Music Man licensed Floyd Rose tremolo.
In 1991 Van Halen talked to Guitar Player Magazine about his new signature model:
"I was not looking for a company that would pay me a bunch of money and just put my name on a guitar. I was real concerned about quality. I told Music Man we couldn’t sell any of them — we won’t even have a deal to make them - unless I was happy enough with the guitar to use it on our new album an play it live. So, I was blown away by the fact that I’m actually using this guitar on the record, because for years I just used that one guitar and hated everything else. But we topped it. I haven’t even touched the striped one. A yellow Music Man; that’s my main guitar now. Feels like I’ve played it for years.”
According to Sterling Ball however, Ernie Ball / Music Man were unable to manufacture a sufficient number of guitars to satisfy EVH's accountants and the signature model was withdrawn in 1995 to be replaced by the Music Man Axis model. This one is an original early run EVH Signature model, not the Axis model.
The EVH Signature was designed to cover as many tonal bases as possible, as simply as possible. From silky smooth playability on its super fast neck to a thick scooped sound that can just as happily colour in the background as it can tear through to the forefront.
It features an oil-finished bird's eye maple neck and fingerboard with dual graphite reinforcement rods, ten-degree tilt headstock, and Schaller mini M6 tuners.
Other features –
- Bolt-on construction with contoured neck heel, 5 bolt neck plate
· Unique offset cutaway design
· Birdseye maple neck and fingerboard, oil-finished
25 1/2" scale length
· 22 medium frets
· 10" fingerboard radius
· Headstock with 4+2 tuning machine configuration
- Headstock features EVH signature
- · Precision Schaller die-cast tuning machines
- · Two DiMarzio humbucking pickups
· Master volume control (with Tone knob)
· Switchcraft 3-way toggle switch and output jack
· Chrome-plated hardware finish
· Weight is 8.3 lbs
· 1 5/8” Nut Width
The sound is thick and heavy but retains a crisp definition that can be heard even with gobs of distortion. The neck is super fast and comfortable everywhere, bends are easy and lightning fast runs are effortless.
The upper register on this guitar is really something special. All the way up to the 22nd fret, full step bends and heavy vibratos are not only easy but still have the same dynamic responsiveness as the rest of the neck, making for a true singer of a guitar. The body is extremely comfortable sitting or standing, and the light weight allows for hours of practicing and performing. The construction is impeccable – this guitar can take tons of abuse and still play wonderfully.
The only real blemish on this guitar is a chip in the black lacquer on the back on the lower waist of the guitar – see pic.
Apart from that and some very light button wear on the back, this guitar is in outstanding condition and plays just as Eddie envisioned. The total control from the player and balance of tone and power makes it a worthy instrument that will stand the test of time everywhere from a bedroom shredder to a stadium showstopper.
And of course, since the sad news of Eddie’s passing, these original early 90s EVH Signature guitars are noticeably going up in value.
Comes in its original hard case in very good condition, along with original spec sheet and tool kit with all you need to adjust everything on this guitar including the Floyd trem bridge.
Here is Mr. Van Halen using this exact model guitar –