Fender Fret Wire, and My Preference

From Fender:

The main fret wire maker, California-based Dunlop Manufacturing Inc., produces five main fret sizes. Listed by part number, name (where applicable), crown width and crown height, they are, from smallest to largest:

6230: The smallest fret wire found on older Fender necks (.078? x .043?).
6150: Vintage jumbo. Much wider but not as tall as 6230 (.102? x .042?).
6105: Modern narrow and tall; currently very popular (.090? x .055?).
6100: Jumbo. The largest fret wire available (.110? x .055?).
6130: Medium jumbo (.106? x .036?).

Which size you like is purely a matter of preference, although it can affect your playing style. If you like your fingers to actually touch the fingerboard when fretting the strings, frets that aren’t very tall like the 6130, 6150 or 6230 are for you. On the other hand, jumbo 6100 fret wire can provide easier playability with better sustain, tone and bending because you don’t have to press as hard to fret the strings, but your fingers probably won’t even touch the fingerboard, which could take some getting used to if you’re accustomed to smaller frets.

The main guitars I play are my Made-In-Japan EVH Wolfgang Specials. One of the primary reasons I love these guitars so is because they (and the MIC models) are the only EVH Wolfgang Specials to have “Vintage” frets on their fret boards. When production moved to Mexico in 2014, jumbo frets were used on the Specials, and they have been that way ever since. Now, only the USA made EVH Wolfgangs come with “vintage” 6230 sixed frets.

Peavey and EVH Wolfgang Pickups Are the Same Says Jim DeCola

“I worked at Peavey. Yes, I designed them and they were all the same across the range of models. The bobbins changed early on, but they were always wound with the same specs on both neck and bridge pickups. The current Fender made pickups have the same exact specs.
The initial bobbins were supplied by a domestic supplier, then later tooled overseas. By early 2000, we were told to have the winding and assembly outsourced. I had approved the samples, but left before they were actually put into production. That would have been after spring 2000. All of the parts (bobbins, magnets, base plates, magnet wire, cables and wax dipping process were all the same so you really can’t distinguish the domestic from the outsourced pickups. It took a long time to approve them, but they did such a good job that there really was no difference. EVH was sent samples and he approved them as well.
I worked at Fender (Nashville) for 11 years after Peavey. They wanted me to move to Corona, but they couldn’t come through on their promises, so I turned down moving there. I did commute between there and Nashville for a little over a year and a half.They picked my brain a little before I realized they were trying to lure EVH away. I already discussed what I did with the pickups casually to coworkers. After the guitar was released, I got copies of the pickup specs and blueprints. They are the same specs. They made up a story (as he did with Peavey) about trying to please him and having to make dozens of pickups…but they are the same specs. When I had to go through it, I had to make dozens and heard “No, this is too weak, this too warm, this not warm enough, etc. I finally sent him the first set of pickups, and that was it. smile emoticon I did use the EBMM for reference, but couldn’t do exactly as they had done, so I had to do my own thing.”  ~Jim DeCola

Bad Info Abounds : The EVH Wolfgang Online

My History with The Wolfgang

Ever since Peavey came out with an affordable model of Eddie Van Halen’s signature guitar, the Wolfgang, I’ve made myself somewhat of an expert on the guitar. I’ve owned 2 of the Peavey Wolfgang Specials, and currently own 3 EVH Wolfgang Specials made by FMIC (Fender Musical Instrument Corporation).

When scouring eBay (or even large online musical instrument retailers) for EVH Wolfgangs I’ve noticed that a lot of the time, the information about the Wolfgang Special is simply incorrect. It’s not a surprise really; the Wolfgang Special has been manufactured in multiple countries (Japan, Mexico, and China) and the information available online only provides the specifications for the most current origin of manufacture. So, with this little article I hope to clear up some of the misinformation out there. (This article will mainly cover the differences between the Japanese and Mexican models because I’ve never owned a Chinese model.)

Body and Top

There’s essentially 2 body types and 2 top types for the Wolfgang Special, depending on where it was made. The earlier Japanese models have a FLAT top, in either a solid color, or a veneer flame top. The Mexican models are a ARCHED top, also coming in either a solid color or a veneer top. Many website fail to mention that the top is a veneer and not an actual maple top. Don’t be fooled – it’s a veneer.

Frets and Fretboards

Again, the information on many websites is incorrect. My suspicion is that it’s simply out of laziness; a cut-and-paste job to shorten the time it takes to get the guitar up for sale on a retailer’s site. I own (and prefer) the Japanese Wolfgang Special models. One of the reasons I prefer them is because of their fret size. Many sites state that the frets are “jumbos” but in actuality, the frets are what FMIC call “vintage” frets. They’re thinner and shorter than jumbos and I dig them. On the Mexican Floyd Rose models the frets are actually jumbos, with the hard-tail models still sporting the “vintage” frets. There’s also a difference between the Japanese and Mexican models in regard to fret material and fretboard woods. The Japanese Wolfgang Special has stainless steel frets, and has a Birdseye maple fretboard as an option. The Mexican Wolfgang Special has nickel frets and a plain maple fretboard as an option.

The Stealth

One of the most popular EVH models is “The Stealth” and I’ve even seen this model misrepresented on eBay by private sellers and large retailers alike. The Stealth model is a black satin finish EVH Wolfgang with faux cream binding and an ebony fingerboard. (I say “faux binding” because there isn’t a separate maple top for anything to “bind”.) It’s available in a hard-tail and Floyd Rose variant, both with black hardware. On several occasions I’ve seen people list a “Stealth” for sale, even though it had a maple fret board and a gloss black finish. Be careful, just because it’s a black Wolfgang doesn’t mean it’s a Stealth.


Hopefully this will clear up some of the misinformation out there regarding the EVH Wolfgang Special. I wish I knew more about the Chinese models, but since I’ve never had any hands-on experience with them I’m not positive about their specs. When buying a used one, keep in mind that the seller most likely copy and pasted the current specs from the EVH Gear website instead of researching the actual specifications of the model they’re selling. Even the EVH website itself does nothing to differentiate between the different models’ origins of manufacture so I’m not surprised there’s been so much confusion. Regardless, they’re all great guitars, but if you’re like me and you’re picky about fret size and top style, it’s important to know what you’re buying.