February 28, 2024 / by Danny Mavis

No matter how cliché it may sound, Eddie Van Halen is a golden god to every aspiring musician who wants to take their playing guitar talents to the next level. Sure, Eddie’s style was novel and full of energy, and still amazes people decades later, but what’s a talented musician without the right gear?

This is by no means an exhaustive list. As a sonic tinkerer, his rig has altered numerous times over the years, but the essential ideas behind it have remained constant. Therefore, the following guidelines will look at the equipment he used to revolutionise the magic, mystery, and voodoo sound of the rock guitar.


EVH Frankenstein
source: blackmountainguitar.com

Eddie’s piecework handcrafted guitar is not only famous but also legendary. Combining the best features of Fender and Gibson models, its introduction sparked a surge of guitar modifications that are still as important now as they were decades ago. So, deliver the signature tone that Eddie Van Halen is known for with a genuine EVH guitar packed with a range of features that contribute to its unique sound and playability.

The ash body, two-piece birds-eye maple neck, minimalist electronics, and Eddie’s personal touch all contributed to this one-of-a-kind creation’s tone monster status. He installed a Gibson PAF pickup in the bridge – the only functioning pickup Frankenstein would have. He reduced the circuitry to the bare essentials, leaving only a single volume control. Eddie enjoyed the feeling of an unfinished maple neck. But probably the most distinguishing feature was the unique striped paint job, which has since become synonymous with his look.

Take, for instance, the EVH 5150 Deluxe Poplar Burl, finished in a black burst. It is an 80s hot rod-inspired beast designed for speed, comfort, and full-throttle shredding. With traditional EVH looks and modern player-friendly functionality, these EVH guitars offer the best of both worlds. On the other hand, Eddie Van Halen’s legendary and acclaimed Frankenstein Stratocaster, widely known as the most recognisable electric guitar of all time, is now available in the EVH Striped Series 5150, done in red, black, and white stripes.

The 5150 has Eddie’s famous red with white-and-black-striped paint job, a basswood Stratocaster-style body, and a graphite-reinforced quartersawn maple neck. When looking for EVH guitars Australia-wide, you will see that there are other guitars associated with Eddie, such as his Wolfgang (originally built by Peavey and now sold under the EVH name), but Frankenstein is by far the most recognisable, and one of the most famous and influential EVH guitar in music history.


In the beginning, his pedalboard was modest. It was a “piece of plywood” that held an MXR Phase 90, MXR Flanger, and a vintage Echoplex. He would also occasionally use an MXR EQ depending on the guitar he was playing. Phase 90 was utilised to give movement and interest to particular parts, while the Flanger was used similarly.

The Echoplex was employed not just for its notoriously excellent preamp, but also to add a short tape echo, which can be found throughout their early catalogue. Fortunately, you no longer need to carry an actual Echoplex machine, since the Dunlop Echoplex Delay provides both preamp and echo functionality.


EVH amplifier
source: guitarguitar.co.uk

EVH was all about driving his amps into power section distortion, and he has been cited (at least in early interviews) saying he did not rely on preamp distortion. It was all about cranking up the output section. He used Marshall 100W Super Lead (Plexi) versions with Marshall cabinets equipped with Celestion 30 or 75 speakers to get his well-known “brown sound” on his first few records. Instead of EL34 tubes, the Marshalls were supplied with Sylvania 6CA7s.

This sort of tube can withstand greater abuse before breaking, and it takes longer to compress, making it more expressive and open sounding. Most settings were turned up. He regulated the volume (the Marshalls were non-master volume) with a Variac. This device can increase or decrease the voltage that enters the amplifier, greatly altering the sound. Eventually, his collaboration with Peavey resulted in the production of the 5150 series amplifier range (now known as the EVH brand). These are popular among players who aren’t only seeking to replicate Eddie’s sound, but also as the amp for many types of heavy music.

EVH Brand Gear

An Eddie Van Halen gear guide would be incomplete without including his product line. Eddie began producing signature gear while working for Peavey Electronics. It began with the Wolfgang guitar. This model was quite different in tone, appearance, and feel than Frankenstein. However, the Wolfgang included many additional features that Eddie desired, including a sophisticated Floyd Rose tremolo system, dual humbucker pickups that provide more tonal possibilities, and the D-Tuna, a mechanism that can immediately drop the low E string a step and return it.

He eventually developed his own unique EVH line. The brand swiftly grew and today provides a full line of authentic Van Halen gear that captures tones from all eras of the band’s catalogue. These include a variety of guitars, such as Frankenstein (in all three paint jobs), the Ibanez “Shark” Destroyer, the Star, and the Wolfgang, as well as amplifiers, pedals, and pickups.