EVH Striped Series Electric Guitar
With the release of A Different Kind of Truth a few years back and rumours of both new studio and live albums being in the works, Van Halen may once again be maneuvering into a position that will influence a new generation of lead guitarists. While the list of innovative guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s associations with various music products over the years is extensive, his recent collaborations with Fender hark back to his roots of homemade ‘Frankenstein’ guitars.
Made by Fender in Mexico and sporting the EVH logo, the guitar is a pleasing tribute to the sound and style of Eddie Van Halen. The model reviewed was set up particularly well, with a finely balanced locking tremolo system providing plenty of leeway for tricks and dive bombs as well as more subtle, musical vibrato effects. The bridge includes the EVH-designed D-Tuna, which allows players to switch to drop-D tuning and back instantaneously, which is really handy. The 22-fret neck is fast, comfortable and easy to navigate and the natural sustain from the guitar (listened to while the guitar was unplugged to gauge accurately) is robust. With only a master volume control (which is labeled as a ‘tone’ pot for added twisted authenticity) and one Wolfgang humbucker pickup – as per Eddie’s early experiments – this guitar is pretty much stop and go, and that’s what players who are attracted to this design will require.
Loud and proud both in tone and aesthetics (available in blac /yellow or black/white, with the more recognisable black/white/red design priced a little higher), the EVH Van Halen guitar is a steal at $1599, and highway robbery at Sound Centre Morley’s recent relocation sale price of $1299.
ESP LTD EC-401VF ELECTRIC GUITAR
Despite immense popularity in hard rock and metal circles, with a list of endorsees that includes respected players such as Alex Skolnick, ESP have nevertheless cast a slightly wider net with the recent release of the LTD EC-401VF electric guitar.
Featuring a much more classic rock-inspired look, and a much broader tone than many of its counterparts (largely due to the DiMarzio PAF 36th Anniversary passive humbuckers, rather than the more common EMG active pickups associated with these models) this guitar will resonate well with tone-conscious hard rockers and electric blues players.
Set-neck construction with a mahogany body and neck as well as a flamed maple top and rosewood fingerboard will no doubt tick many boxes for players who are into their woods, while the faded sunburst finish and classy fretboard inlays will wow those players driven by the overall look of the instrument.
A standard three-way pickup selector, individual volume controls for each pickup and a master tone control round out the technical specifications. Sustain-wise there is a lot on offer here, even without the guitar plugged into an amp the balanced, rich tone is largely evident. Similarly to a Les Paul, there’s a lot of bark in the tone but with some finessing the guitar will clean up nicely.
The ESP LTD EC-401VF Electric Guitar retails for $1299.
Reviewed at Sound Centre, Morley.