Back in November we first heard about the new custom guitar that Eddie Van Halen has been working on. Van Halen shared some details with Guitar World magazine at the time, and he sure made the new EVH Wolfgang sound like a work of art.
The good news for those who find themselves lusting after their own copy of this creation is that we are about a week away from its official debut. The new axe will be unveiled at the National Association of Music Merchants trade show which will convene in Anaheim, California between January 15th and 18th.
The Wolfgang is said to be the product of two years of work by Van Halen and Fender, and is expected to sell for around $3,000. That may be out of reach for a lot of EVH fans but I suppose the upside is that it is a lot less than the “Frankenstein” replica’s $25,000 asking price.
Van Halen, well-known for his guitar-building abilities in addition to his legendary talent for playing, is said to have been deeply involved in every step of the Wolfgang’s creation and left no detail to chance. Fender guitar designer and builder Chip Ellis reported that working with Van Halen on the new instrument was both “a dream and a nightmare.”
With an ear that tells him the difference in sound between a 5-foot guitar cord and a 10-foot guitar cord as well as what kind of wood a guitar is made of, to say that working with Eddie Van Halen on a project like this is daunting would be an understatement.
Although it may seem like an inopportune time to be introducing a new guitar due to the current economic turmoil, the good news for guitar manufacturers is that they actually do very well during times like these. In fact, Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz reports that the company experienced its best quarter ever at the close of 2008.
“The guitar market has been counter-cyclical for 100 years — we even did well during the Great Depression," Juszkiewicz says. "In times of distress, a guitar can be a relatively inexpensive way to create entertainment at home. Of course, there’s also that rock-star image that comes with the guitar. And people want to play what the rock star plays.”
Although many guitar enthusiasts may have to save up for a while to get one of those $3,000 Wolfgang’s in their collection, there is another way to get your hands on one if you are in a significantly higher tax bracket and have a penchant for classic cars.
An EVH Wolfgang guitar will be awarded to the highest bidders when Van Halen auctions off two classic cars from his personal collection. A 1956 Chevrolet 210 and a 1956 Chevrolet Nomad will be on the auction block at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, which begins on January 11th. Van Halen says he no longer has the time to drive them.
Oh yes, in addition to the complimentary Wolfgang guitars, the two winning bidders will also receive a pair of black EVH striped sneakers. I’m not sure what kind of value they place on those, but they certainly must be a lot less expensive than cars or the EVH Wolfgang guitar.
For more, check out USA Today.