Eddie Van Halen Unleashes “Stripe” Series Guitar at Winter NAMM
“What could be cooler than meeting Eddie Van Halen? Meeting Eddie Van Halen then getting to play his guitar! That’s exactly what happened last night in a little behind the scenes moment at NAMM 2013.” – The Music Zoo® Blog
Eddie Van Halen is no stranger to the National Association of Music Merchants Show, or NAMM. The veteran heavy metal rocker has stopped by this multi-day guitar extravaganza a number of times. In 2011 Van Halen, also known as EVH, mixed it up with attendees and provided some quick pointers about axes and amps.
This time around, EVH’s message was wrapped in vintage “Stripes.” Can you say “Frankenstrat?”
Making News at Winter NAMM
The annual Winter NAMM Show traditionally features the latest and greatest in guitar-related gear. On Wednesday, January 23, 2013, EVH introduced his new “Stripe” series of guitars during the media preview portion of the program.
The “Stripe’s” Strat style body and distinctive finish make it a dead ringer for EVH’s legendary “Frankenstrat,” “bumble bee” stripes and all. Van Halen’s unique “Frankenstrat” motif, his homage to Mary Shelley’s fictional madman, Dr. Frankenstein, is an ever-present pop image. Equally so, the detailed guitar theme, which is even available on canvass hi-tops, also remains an iconic design.
Just like the “Frankenstrat,” the “Stripe” guitar will be offered in classic red with white and black stripes; black with yellow stripes and white with black stripe finishes. A single-ply black pickguard is standard with the white finish.
The Latest “Stripe” Series Guitar
At first glance, with its contoured body and familiar headstock, the “Stripe” looks like a typical Fender® mock-up. A closer inspection proves otherwise. EVH’s latest machine is a premium instrument all the way.
The original “Frankenstrat” was a result of EVH’s effort to combine elements of Fender®, à la lightweight body wood, maple neck and tremolo bridge, with Gibson’s® characteristic sound. The “Stripe” series aims to recapture some of that same “Frankenstrat” magic.
The Body and Neck
The original “Frankenstrat” featured an ash body and a Kramer brand maple neck. By comparison, the “Stripe” utilizes basswood for its body and a contemporary graphite reinforced neck.
The EVH axe sports a compound radius maple fingerboard, 12″ – 16″, 22 jumbo frets, excellent for shredding and refined black dot inlays.
Eddie Van Halen created his trademark sound by way of PAFs and Seymour Duncans. He’s updated his strategy since then. For the “Stripe” series, he’s employed a direct-mount Wolfgang humbucker.
What’s more, photographs of “Frankenstrat” reveal a neck and bridge pick-up configuration. But EVH is a little older and a little wiser. “Stripe” guitars accordingly use their lone humbucker strategically placed near the bridge.
The “Stripe” was purely built for speed. As far as blending pick-ups, mixing and matching is simple with a single master volume control knob.
Other features include a thumbwheel adjusted truss-rod, Floyd Rose™ locking nut and tremolo, die-cast tuners, chrome hardware and neck plate.
The EVH “Stripe” series guitar is set to retail for $1,199.98 USD. Considering Van Halen knows his way around a guitar, in today’s market, the “Stripe” seems to be reasonably priced.