Wait… wait… EVH Bumblebee Tribute guitar?

Check this out!!!

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (July 18, 2019) – In celebration of the 40th anniversary of five-time platinum-selling 1979 album Van Halen II, EVH® is privileged to unveil the ’79 Bumblebee tribute guitar. Eddie Van Halen debuted this wildly iconic black-with-yellow-stripes guitar on the cover of the seminal album, and played it extensively throughout the band’s 1979 world tour.

“The 79 Bumblebees that we’re making sound very much like how I always wanted the original to sound,” said Van Halen. “So it may have taken 40 years, but I now have everything I wanted back then — a bitchin’-looking guitar that plays and sounds great.”

Limited to 50 instruments worldwide, the meticulously recreated ’79 Bumblebee tribute model features all of the original specs, including an ash Strat® body, bolt-on birdseye maple neck with oiled back finish, straight 12” radius birdseye maple fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets, katalox dots and black side dots, and skirted Strat-style “Tone” volume knob.

True to Van Halen’s pickup recipe, the instrument has been outfitted with an EVH ’79 Bumblebee humbucking bridge pickup. EVH also matched the Bumblebee’s six screw holes, (hidden under the original prototype non-fine tuner locking tremolo bridge that EVH recreated just for this project), along with the original prototype locking nut. All hardware has been reliced, including the custom brass string retainer, screw-eye strap hooks, side output jack and original period-correct Schaller® tuning machines.

Its black-with-yellow-stripes paint job has also been reliced to match the wear and tear from his heavy year of touring in 1979, and the guitar is stylishly finished off with chrome hardware.

Notably, the back of the headstock of each guitar bears Eddie Van Halen’s signature, adding to the value and the once-in-a lifetime collector’s nature of this instrument.

Arriving in a custom-made Anvil® hardshell case, the package also includes ’70s-era Fender® Super Bullets strings, Van Halen ’70s tortoiseshell picks, an exclusive Bumblebee collector’s booklet, Young Guitar book Van Halen Live Tour in Japan 1978 & 1979, and several autographed items—a certificate of authenticity, 8”x10” 1979 concert photo of Eddie Van Halen and vinyl copy of Van Halen II.

Bumbleebee’s Origins

During the recording process for Van Halen II,  Eddie Van Halen sought something fresh to play other than his original “Frankenstrat,” which at the time was being heavily copied by many major guitar companies.

Van Halen had the idea to build a new guitar with an ash body and black-and-yellow-stripe paint job, with rear-loaded electronics so there would be no pickguard. While he tasked Wayne Charvel to cut the body, the maple neck was made by Lynn Ellsworth at Boogie Bodies with dot inlays on a maple fingerboard. Other features on the first-incarnation guitar (as pictured on Van Halen II) were a standard nut, single Mighty Mite humbucking pickup with transparent bobbins, single chrome volume knob, original Charvel six-screw brass tremolo bridge, and Schaller® tuning keys.

While pleased with the looks of the guitar, Van Halen was less impressed with its tone and  quickly began tinkering with it, as he was prone to do. He installed a new Boogie Bodies maple neck with a natural headstock, unfinished back (which he has always preferred) and 12”-radius dot-inlay maple fingerboard. Next to go was the Mighty Mite pickup. After selecting a DiMarzio® Super Distortion humbucking pickup, he swapped out its ceramic magnet for an alnico 2 magnet from a Gibson® PAF. He rewound the pickup by hand, dipped it in paraffin wax and put copper tape around the windings.

Van Halen also stripped out the original Charvel bridge, leaving its six screw holes behind. He instead outfitted the instrument with a prototype two-point Floyd Rose® bridge and locking nut with retainer bar, becoming the first professional rock guitarist to use a locking-nut tremolo system. He also swapped out the chrome volume knob with a Strat-style skirted “Tone” knob. After all these modifications, only the original body, striped paint job, screw-eye strap hooks and Schaller® tuners remained from the first version of the guitar.

“Bumblebee,” as it would quickly come to be known by fans, became insanely popular and remains a longtime favorite for Van Halen listeners everywhere.

In an eternal sign of deep respect, Eddie’s original Bumblebee guitar was buried alongside Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, who died tragically in 2004. Eddie Van Halen was Abbott’s main influence, and Bumblebee was Abbott’s all-time favorite guitar.

For more information, please visit www.evhgear.com.

Cool Gear Alert: MXR EVH5150 Chorus

Some of my favourite recorded chorus sounds are courtesy of one Mr. Eddie Van Halen. Whether using an actual chorus pedal or setting his Eventide harmonizers to a slight pitch-shift, Eddie’s given us a lot of great chorus sounds over the years. And now you can get ’em too with the new MXR EVH5150 Chorus pedal, based on Eddie’s chorus unit from the early 80s (think Diver Down).
What I really like about this pedal is that more than any other chorus pedal on the market, this one is totally optimised for your rig regardless of whether you prefer chorus going into your amp’s preamp or in the effects loop, with three input level and two output level settings to make it play nicely with the rest of your gear. It has mono or stereo output, controls for Tone and Intensity, and a Volume control (not something you usually see on a chorus). It’s interesting to note that there’s no Rate control for the chorus, and as Pete Thorn notes in the video below, this is a little more static like the sounds Eddie got with his harmonizer until you really crank up the intensity.
This one was announced at Summer NAMM a few days ago and isn’t on the market just yet but I can’t wait for it to hit the streets.

Van Halen Hit The Road

Van Halen fans (in the USA), rejoice! The band is hitting the road for a greatest hits tour this year, and they’ll kick off preparations with a performance for Jimmy Kimmel Live on March 30. They’ll then appear on Ellen on April 2, and the tour kicks off on July 5 in Seattle. And don’t forget, their new live album is about to land. It just arrived in my advance media streamy promo dealie and it sounds raw and wild like it should. Here’s the press release including 2015 tour dates: Read More …

New Van Halen Live Album Details

VanHalen_Live_Cover_SmallerOkay, so you’ve surely heard by now that Van Halen will release their first ever live album to feature David Lee Roth. There was, of course, Live: Right Here, Right Now back in the 90s, and I wore that damn thing out on VHS and cassette. This new album, Tokyo Dome Live In Concert, is only being released as audio, but here’s what’s super-cool about this one compared to Live: Right Here, Right Now: the band has gone for a warts-and-all approach with no vocal touch-ups, whereas Sammy Hagar revealed in his autobiography that the band very heavily re-recorded that first record. Kudos to the mighty VH for keeping it authentic. Read More …

EVH 5150III 1×12 50-watt combo amp

EVH 5150III 1x12 50W Combo

Gooood… goooooooood. Eddie Van Halen’s EVH has announced the release of the long-awaited 5150III 50-watt combo amp with a single 12″ speaker and power scaling. Note that it’s a pretty damn big amp – none of this ‘just enough space to cram a twelve-incher into (hehe). So this isn’t exactly a mini amp by any stretch of the imagination – in fact it almost looks as big as the 2X12 version! I look forward to testing this beastie out some day. Here’s the press release:

PRESS RELEASE: After nearly three years in development, EVH is pleased to announce the launch of the 5150III 1×12 50-watt combo amplifier. This is not your average 1×12 combo by any stretch. In line with Eddie Van Halen’s legacy, this 1×12 is a true game changer, making players swear they’re standing in front of a half-stack. Read More …

Introducing Black Lightning Gallery

black lightning gallery

Are you a fan of great guitar music? Of course you are. Do you need some inspiration for the wall of your music space? Maybe a shrine to your favourite artists? Or just something cool to hang above the fireplace? Check out Black Lightning Gallery in Los Angeles. Founded by Rohan Ocean, Black Lightning Gallery is about to unveil a fine art photography collection from prolific rock photographer Gene Kirkland (whose work I’ve long admired – his name is burned into my head from all sorts of guitar mags). The photos include a recently discovered collection of some of rock’s most pivotal and historically important moments. Vai and DLR. Metallica taking over the world. Guns N’ Roses at the “Sweet Child ‘O Mine” video shoot. Aerosmith. Black Sabbath. Ozzy getting chummy with a white dove (from the cover of Guitar School magazine – I totally have that issue in the other room). Randy Rhoads. Motley Crue at the “Girls, Girls, Girls” video shoot. They’ll be released as numbered, signed limited edition prints exclusively via Black Lightning Gallery, and will only be available until the limited numbers are sold. there will not be additional runs of the photos.

Here’s an example of some of the great stuff you’ll see on the site:

black lightning gallery james hetfield

“Metallica were unstoppable in 1988. A new album And Justice for All… was released. Their first single release ‘One’ came with a haunting and unforgettable video, Making the song itself display the full meaning of the lyrics. The band was shot in black and white while the movie had color moments in the flashbacks.
The following Justice world tour was massive in scope with 5 legs and 222 dates. Staging included the huge Dorothy statue recreated from the cover of the album that broke down during the title track. A full lighting rig that come off and swung very close to Lars’ drum riser. The justice show was epic. The full experience is immortalized and officially released in the Live Shit: Binge and Purge Box set recording at Seattle Coliseum, Seattle, Washington over 2 night on August 29 and 30, 1989.”

 

Incoming New Guitar Day: Squier Bass VI

squier-vintage-modified-bass-vi-630-80Sometimes it’s nice to treat yerself (even if it means living on ramen noodles for a few weeks), so to celebrate two years of my super-awesome job I’m treating myself to a Squier Vintage Modified Bass VI. I’ve had a crush on these things ever since they were announced, but my lust for the Bass VI goes back to when I first saw Spinal Tap and became curious about the surf-green guitar that Nigel Tufnel wouldn’t let Marty Di Bergi touch (or even look at). The Bass VI is a relatively obscure and definitely interesting instrument which looks almost like a Fender Jaguar but is tuned a full octave below a guitar. It can be played like a bass, like a guitar, or like its own instrument, which is really what it is. You can hear the Bass VI in music by The Cure (seriously, it’s all over so much Cure stuff that it’s hard to imagine their sound without it) and plenty of stuff by Placebo too.  Read More …