Lot 439: Eddie Van Halen's 1982 Charvel Guitar


February 27, 2016
New York, NY, US

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Description: Serial#: 1398. Eddie Van Halen’s 1982 Charvel, made for, owned by, and played by Mr. Van Halen himself, with 1982 video and other full documentation. There is a long history between Eddie Van Halen and Charvel, which began with another guitar. Eddie Van Halen's iconic original black & white striped "Frankenstein" guitar (which he later modified in the late 1979 with an additional layer of red paint) was built from a body and neck he bought from Wayne Charvel and Lynn Ellsworth in the mid 1970s. Van Halen continued to purchase various parts from Charvel during the late 70s that he used to build guitars, and he even played a guitar built by Charvel based on the single-pickup design of his Frankenstein. Van Halen painted his "Frankenstein" guitar in a yellow and black striped motif in the fall of 1978 before his band went to Europe on tour, and this remained his main guitar on subsequent tours through 1980. This guitar also appears on the back cover of Van Halen II (1979). Grover Jackson purchased the Charvel name in late 1978 and started producing Charvel brand guitars from a factory in San Dimas/Glendora, California. When the company started selling "Van Halen Model" guitars painted with Van Halen's signature yellow and black striped patterns to the general public without Eddie's authorization in June 1979, Van Halen's relationship with Jackson/Charvel began to sour as Van Halen was not paid any royalties. Charvel produced the "Van Halen Model" in very limited amounts (estimates are less than 100 guitars) through late 1982 when Van Halen finally allegedly filed a cease and desist order against the company. The motivation likely was Eddie's new endorsement deal with Kramer Guitars, which was announced at the Summer NAMM convention in 1982. Van Halen reunited with Charvel Guitars in 2005, when the company produced the EVH Art Series guitars featuring Van Halen's characteristic striped paint jobs in black & white, yellow & black, and black, white & red. Apparently Van Halen personally ordered five guitars made by Charvel/Jackson in April 1982 before the cease and desist order was filed, or Grover Jackson gave the guitars to Van Halen as a peace offering. This instrument was one of those Charvel guitars. Allegedly the guitars were built according to Eddie's exacting specifications, including necks with the wide nut width and slim profile that he preferred. This guitar has a brass vintage Strat-style non-locking vibrato tailpiece, DiMarzio Super Distortion humbucking pickup, cream-colored pickup mounting ring (most other examples have black mounting rings), and a "butterfly" string tree for the high E and B strings, which Van Halen preferred for his stringing technique that kept his guitar in tune when using the vibrato (Charvel guitars from this year typically feature a round brass disc-style string retainer). This guitar also has the slotted-shaft Gotoh "crown" head tuners that Charvel used very briefly in early 1982. The body's neck pocket is dated 4/27/82 in pencil and features the work order number #2149 in black marker, while the neck heel features work order #2150 in black marker. Charvel made a small number of "pre-production" versions of guitars (which lack serial numbers) featuring Van Halen-style striped paint jobs between 1979 and 1981 and even fewer production examples like this one in 1982 (which feature serial numbers). Production models were ordered by just a handful of music dealers, and Charvel gave five of these guitars to Van Halen (amount on the invoice reads "no charge"), which he most likely used as tour backup instruments and giveaways. This guitar comes complete with its original Bill of Sale from Charvel/Jackson to Eddie Van Halen dated April 28, 1982. Each Charvel "Van Halen Model" had a unique striping pattern. The lot also includes a DVD with video footage of an interview Eddie gave for the television show Entertainment Tonight in 1982, which shows him playing this guitar with its distinctive striping pattern in his home alongside then-wife Valerie Bertinelli.
Condition Report: Typical crack in finish from trussrod adjustment; some back scratches
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