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.
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.