SUMMER of 97
ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN EVH
Talk about a rare guitar! The Ernie Ball Music Man EVH came out in 1990 and I didn't actually see one in person until 1997! Ernie Ball couldn't make these guitars fast enough. In the mid-90s, I was resigned to the fact that I would never be able to own an EBMM EVH. Not because I couldn't afford one (well, sort of), but because I couldn't find one!
Boy did I stumble upon this guitar. In early 1996, I put a deposit down with Henri's Music In Green Bay, WI, for a Peavey Wolfgang guitar. A year later, there still was no Wolfgang in Green Bay and in August 1997, I traveled to San Diego for a visit. I went to Guitar Trader in Clairemont, and they had a black Wolfgang - I bought it (see the following guitar story).
This started a chain of events that enabled me to buy the Holy Grail of guitars - the EBMM EVH. When my San Diego trip was over, I went back to Wisconsin and obviously wanted to get my $300 deposit back, or at least find something else to buy, since I already had my Wolfgang. While in the shop one day in September, my salesman, Mark, told me and my friend Eric Klister that he had a cool used guitar in back that I might be interested in. (It was in the back due to the standard police hold.) It was a purple Ernie Ball Music Man EVH! Like the one for the Runaround video 1 2. That was the color I picked out for a Peavey Wolfgang. Weird, huh?
I quickly asked how much the store wanted for it and I was shocked when Mark told me just $800 - with a case. I transferred my deposit to this guitar and very impatiently waited out the remainder of the police hold and took the guitar home before Henri's Music figured out what happened. To this day, I have no idea why they sold this guitar to me so cheap.
Once I got home, I called Ernie Ball out in San Luis Obispo to give them the serial number (#83316) so they could tell me what year it is (1993). From what I've found out from a few different sources, Ernie Ball manufactured the EBMM EVH from January 1990 though September 1995, averaging about 25 a month. Take a look on eBay to see how much these things go for - not less than $2500.
Admittedly, the transparent purple finish over the quilted maple top is a bit faded. Also, the unfinished birdseye maple neck has a lot dirt and grime on it - it almost looks like rosewood! Otherwise, the guitar is in great shape. The stock DiMarzio humbuckers kick ass and the neck plays like a dream. As far as mods, the only thing I did to this guitar was replace the stock strap buttons with chrome Schaller straplocks - that's it. And they match the 4x2 Schaller tuners with pearloid buttons.
By far, this is the best guitar I own (it's the guitar I used for the solo on Over Now off of bikini). There are guitarists out there who debate which EVH guitar is better - the EBMM EVH or the Wolfgang. Honestly, no offense to Peavey, but every guitar player who owns BOTH guitars says the Music Man is better. Let's put it this way, if my house was on fire and I could only grab two guitars, this would be one of them. The Red Devil II would be the first one.
a quick EVH-EBMM history
more ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN projects
PEAVEY EVH WOLFGANG
If you read the above guitar story about my Ernie Ball Music Man EVH, you know how I picked up my black Peavey Wolfgang. I bought it in August 1997 in San Diego from Guitar Trader, even though I was living in Wisconsin at the time. (I also bought my Yamaha APXT-1N on this trip.) It was actually the second Wolfgang I ever saw.
The problem with getting a hold of a Peavey Wolfgang was the fact that Edward Van Halen started to use one on the end of Van Halen's 1995 Balance tour, and a gloss black one in the 1996 Humans Being video. All the Ed-heads saw him use it and had to have it. Remember, it was a pretty big deal when Ed switched from Ernie Ball to Peavey. This made a lot of headlines in guitar mags. There were pictures of Ed's new Peavey in mags going back to late 1995. From that moment one, a lot of players wanted to check it out.
Unfortunately, Peavey had difficulty maintaining consistency on its Wolfgang production line, so EVH apparently kept delaying the official release date. Lots of players like myself went to their local Peavey dealer and put down deposits on the Wolfgang - not so much so they could be the first to get one, but just so they could get one. As stated above, the EBMM EVH was so rare, that there were literally hundreds and hundreds of potential buyers out there for the guitar, but Ernie Ball's manufacturing plant was so small that it could not keep up with the demand (supposedly one of the big reasons why Ed left Ernie Ball). And players like myself figured it would be a similar problem with Peavey.
I put down a $300 deposit and was the second person in line at Henri's Music in Green Bay to get a Wolfgang. All of 1996 went by - no Wolfgangs shipped. In the spring of 1997, two important things occurred - I moved up to number one on the list and Mark from Henri's called me to tell me they just a received a Wolfgang.
That was the good news. The bad news was that I couldn't buy it. Huh? It seems that Peavey demanded that its dealers always keep one Wolfgang on the wall so players could check it out and place orders. Peavey even threatened dealers with pulling its line if they did not adhere to this rule. I understood the rule, but I didn't like it. Bottom line: there was a brown sunburst Wolfgang at Henri's that was mine - as soon as they got another one. (Being number one, I'd have a choice.) The problem was that the people at Henri's didn't know when their next Wolfgang was coming. I waited and waited.
In the mean time, I took a trip in mid-August to San Diego. I wasn't looking to buy a Wolfgang at Guitar Trader; I figured all Peavey dealers around the country were waiting for their "second Wolfgang." Can you imagine my surprise and delight when I saw the black Wolfgang on the wall (I didn't want sunburst anyway) and the Guitar Trader salesperson said with a puzzled look, "yes, you can buy it."
At this point I didnít care about any $300 deposit in Green Bay. I had to have this guitar. Who knew if I'd ever have the chance to buy a Wolfgang again - especially a "Patent Pending" model? I mean, to this point in my life (August 1997), I had never even seen an EBMM EVH in person! Besides, it all worked out for the best as Henri's ended up selling me the purple EBMM EVH instead. Talk about a cool summer!
No mods to the Wolfgang except for the typical Schaller straplocks replacement. I also replaced the Schaller tuner button screws with gold ones to match the gold Peavey logo on the headstock.
Sure, the EBMM EVH is a better guitar, but the Wolfgang plays great. The neck is a little thicker, but it has a nice feel. I prefer the DiMarzio pickups in the EBMM EVH, but the stock Peaveys aren't bad. And the arch top in gloss black looks pretty sharp! As soon as I got this guitar, I recorded it on the tune Kicking from man makes plans and God laughs.
I spent a good portion of my time during the summer of 1997 trying to find a Peavey Wolfgang to purchase. It wasn't going well. Around this time, I saw a Washburn guitar in the Musician's Friend catalog that had a pretty cool Wolfgang shape to it. It was less than $300 so I decided in July to pull the trigger on a silver sparkle BT-5 model, whatever that is. No tremolo on this model, but it did have dual humbuckers.
Of course the plan was to modify the heck out of it. I ripped out the crappy stock pickups and replaced them with a set of Carvin C22s. I also replaced the stock tuners with Schaller locking tuners. The problem is, I installed the tuners (3x3) backwards. Oh well. I replaced the stock strap buttons with Schaller straplocks. (All the hardware is chrome.) I also gutted the guitar's electronics and put in new Carvin pots, 3-way switch, and knobs.
I left the guitar this way for five years, and then in 2002, I decided to jazz it up a bit. I ordered 40 vinyl motorcycle stickers with all sorts of designs, sayings and images (Speed Kills But You'll Get There Faster, Got Sand?, and Ride It Like You Stole It! are my favorites) and applied them all over the guitar - front and back. I then clear-coated the body so they don't come off. I have to admit, the graffiti looks pretty cool. Also, because I wasn't too impressed with the stock Tune-O-Matic bridge, so I ordered a replacement Gotoh TOM - much better!
This guitar is fun to play, with its 24.75"-scale and its TOM/stop tailpiece. The Carvin pickups sound great and the action is nice and low. I've used this guitar on a bunch of recordings, with Camouflage (11 expressions of me) standing out as my favorite Ė so far.
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