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Ed Roman Has Original Kramer Guitars

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Ed Roman has first introduced the Custom Frankenstrat Guitars in 1986 at the NAMM Show
At that time the guitars were all made from USA Baretta's
To Our Knowledge nobody else commercially offered this guitar up until that time.
Kramer themselves never offered the 5150 or Frankenstrat to the public.
Legally Ed Roman is grandfathered in before any trademarks were ever issued on the paint job.
If you have any legal concerns
 Refer to the cover of my 1986 Catalog where the Frankenstrat & 5150 is pictured & priced.
We have photos from the 1986 NAMM Show showing the paint jobs

Photo Taken 1993

Kramer Facts

Many of the people who are building The EVH 5150 paint job guitars are using Cheap Japanese Kramer's as the core for the job. In fact Kramer never made a non tilt headstock in the USA.  The only ones that came with the non tilt headstock are the Korean made Strikers and 1 model Japanese Focus.  I have seen some of these guitars and they are far from accurate. So be careful if you are considering buying one of those.

Floyd Rose Installation Secrets

I have been installing Floyd Rose Tremolos since 1983 in fact I was installing them when you actually had to buy them directly from Floyd himself.  Over the years I have learned some neat installation tricks. In fact many people who install Floyds (including some major companies) simply aren't aware of how to install one the correct way.

For example many companies don't install the locking nut as tight as it should be. I have seen some installations where the locknut is ever so slightly loose.  This creates tuning issues and can throw a guitar out of tune. 
An easy way to spot this problem is to push down on the tremolo bar and let it come back again. If you notice a slight movement in the nut this will definitely affect your tuning. Those ART series EVH Charvel's all came through that way. We had to remove every nut and true up the shelf. Then we super glued it in so it would not move. Charvel USA Made guitars were usually really good. The ART series was an exception. Those guitars just never felt right or even sounded right.
This was Fender's first undertaking right after they reintroduced the American Charvel's & frankly I feel this model failed.  We had over 150 of them sold before we received our first one. The guitars were discontinued very quickly after production started.  We were able to fill our orders but once people could try them out they realized the guitar was not up to snuff and sales hit a brick wall and almost stopped immediately.

If you Like the Kramer Beretta styled guitars
you have to check out the original
J. Frog Guitars
Kramer guitars came several years after J Frog.


Original Frankenstrat
this was a custom guitar it was never a Kramer
Kramer affixed the brand name after the fact.

I took this photo immediately after Eddie jumped off a 9 foot stage
 He literally landed on me!! He fell to the floor, someone is helping him up.
I never would have got this amazing photo if I hadn't been waiting to get one on stage
When he took us all by surprise and jumped !!!!
It was a real rock n roll moment; You had to be there !!
Ed Roman

Eddie Posing with my Girlfriend "Chrystal" 
After the show

Valerie, Eddie & Ed "1984"
Photo By Chrystal Ball


Note From Ed Roman
I am looking for people who would like to contribute to this website in a positive way. So I am publishing this short little gem of information from Mike McGuire.

Michael McGuire (Hey Mikey) has been a long time Van Halen Freak, He used to come into the store with his dad when he was just a kid. He would order special parts made up so he could build copies of these fabulous guitars that he loves so much. Eventually he came to work at the store. Mikey became one of our prodigy builders, He caught on quickly and was soon building much better than average guitars. My opinion is that a guitar has to be loved from it's inception to be more than just a block of wood with strings on it.
People like Mikey have a real passion for this. He studies every scratch & ding on all of Eddie's guitars and has built numerous awesome instruments. Today he no longer make these copies due to legal ramifications between Kramer, EVH, Charvel, J Frog, Steinberger and anyone else who had any design input into the original guitars of Eddie Van Halen. There are a number of used ones out there that are available. We have kept track of people who have bought them and perhaps are selling them.  Call for Information. We will put you in touch directly with the owners of these guitars.


The Axology of Edward Van Halen

By Michael McGuire  2007 

The easiest way to identify Eddie Van Halen’s guitars is to associate them with the corresponding Van Halen Album. Eddie is not only famous for his unique talents, experimental techniques, or his rehab career, but for the unmistakable way he makes his guitars. Eddie has been modifying and sometimes destroying guitars from the very beginning of his career.
His guitars are as famous as his music. Not only did Eddie define an era of rock music, he also defined an era of rock guitars. You can’t listen to Eruption without seeing him play that Black & White striped guitar.

 Eddie’s most famous guitars
 the albums for which they are known.

Van Halen I

Obviously the guitar best well known for this album is the original Black and White Frankenstrat. This heavily valued guitar started out life as a $130.00, factory second, fire wood, neck and body which Eddie bought from a company called Boogie Bodies. He took it home and immediately sprayed it black with a can of Schwinn bicycle paint. He also made a pickguard for it. Eddie loved the sound of an old  PAF. humbucker, so he chiseled a hunk of wood out of the body so the pickup could fit. He also liked the strat tremolo but had trouble keeping it in tune. He installed a brass nut, had to keep it lubricated, and turned the ball end of the string in sync with the turning of the machine head as he tuned the instrument. The guitar ended up getting the stripe pattern as he masked off the guitar and sprayed white, keeping only what he wanted to be black. 

Today's Pickup manufacturers all offer some type of pickup that they call their EVH Clone. Ed Roman has done extensive research on this and offers several different versions with his kits.

Interesting Footnote: The CBS strat headstock has a Gibson logo, and the very fine black stripes are actually electrical tape.  Today his pickups are custom wound. Contact Ed Roman for Custom Wound duplicates or get the special Tom Holmes pickups that emulate the 50's PAF.

Van Halen II

This guitar was featured in the artwork of the second album. It was finished and delivered just in time for the photo shoot. Although Eddie used this guitar live during the tour, he never really used it again unlike most of the other guitars. 

Not venturing far from the first guitar, it features a single humbucker pickup, one volume control, maple neck and a tremolo. This guitar did have one new feature, the locking tremolo which was developed by Floyd Rose. Soon, almost every guitar he had will use this system.

Interesting Footnote: This guitar was made famous again when Eddie laid the guitar to rest with the late Dimebag Darrell.

Women & Children First  (The Shark)

This guitar was used on many of the recordings of the first three albums. Anytime you don’t hear a dive-bomb or tremolo, chances are that Eddie was using this guitar. He loved it. The guitar was originally an Ibanez Destroyer which was only made for a few years. Our corporate friends at Gibson Sued for design infringements.

Features include two humbuckers, two volumes, and a selector switch which Eddie used for another little trick. Just listen to “You Really Got Me” and you’ll know what I’m talking about. As you can probably assume, Eddie couldn’t leave this one alone either. Armed with a saw, he transformed the original shape into something resembling a shark’s jaw. Hence the nickname, “Shark”. He then proceeded to stripe and paint the guitar with white and red metallic colors.
Exact copies of this guitar are rarely available because they are hard to make and you have to destroy a very expensive Ibanez guitar for it to be exact. However they are available from Ed Roman.    Ed Prides himself in having all the impossible to get models.

Interesting footnote: Three of the tuners are chrome and the other three are gold.

Abstract Shark

Fair Warning (Unchained)

Eddie only used this guitar live for the song Unchained. He needed a guitar that was already tuned to “Drop D” since it is difficult to do so live with a locking tremolo. The alluring features of this guitar are the various circles and the fact that it has not been well photographed. I guess Eddie was getting tired of just the stripes so he decided to go with a rather bizarre look for this one.  Otherwise it is a pretty standard Eddie guitar with all of the right ingredients.

This guitar is still available because no one ever trademarked the design.  Contact Ed Roman.

Interesting Footnote: Eddie has patented a device that instantly drops the low E string to a D for locking tremolos aptly name the “D tuna.


This is the most famous & recognizable guitar Eddie ever made. What can I say about this guitar. It’s the shit!!!

Normal people look at this thing and have to think it is the ugliest thing they have ever seen. Guitarists look at it and think the exact opposite.

Eddie has played this on every tour & it has the battle scars to prove it.

Eddie broke the original neck which led him to replace it a handful of times.

Most of the guitar doesn’t even work! The neck pickup is dead and disconnected. The selector switch is not doing any switching. And the pickguard is not guarding any picks. Probably the most useful thing on the guitar is the 1971 quarter placed under the bridge as to keep it from pulling backwards. And to top it all off, Eddie put truck reflectors on the back of the guitar. Why?? Because he thought it looked cool.

1984 Version 1 1984 Version 2 1984 Version 3

Interesting Footnote: At one point the guitar had a Hockey stick or “Banana” headstock neck which was originally designed by  J. Frog.  Kramer made it famous.

J. Frog, is the designer genius from the early 80's who built George Lynch's Skull N' Bones guitar. He also built several other famous signature guitars check it out.


Probably the second most well known of Eddie’s guitars is the 5150. This became his main stage guitar after he retired the Frankenstrat. The guitar was actually a backup on the 1984 tour. Eddie seemed to demote and promote guitars regularly, but never lost interest in what was suitable for him. Built much like the other guitars, the 5150 was made by a little known company called Kramer. Kramer built many 5150 style guitars that were given away to friends or contests. The only really interesting features on the guitar are the “Space Tape” numbers and stars.

Interesting Footnote: Eddie split the headstock at the sixth tuner and had Ernie Ball fix it. The company put a Music Man logo over the Kramer logo.
(Note from Ed)
That was a really slimy thing to do. I never got along well with the people at Ernie Ball. Kinda like what ESP did to J Frog for the Dokken Videos. ESP also removed and therefore ruined all of George Lynch's original Kramers by taking off the original necks and replacing them with imported ESP Necks. The people at ESP also blatantly ripped off the George Lynch Skull N' Bones and to top it off it was probably one of the worst made ESP guitars I have ever seen.

Honorable mention: The “1984” guitar has all of the same features with a slightly different stripe pattern. This was used as a backup to the 5150.


Definitely, one of Eddie’s most bizarre guitars. Eddie always likes new and interesting things. The Steinberger caught his attention. The features on this guitar were very futuristic; Active EMG humbuckers, Fiberglass neck and body, no headstock, and a tremolo that seemed nearly impossible to comprehend.

The Trans Trem system is unique in that it transposes and locks the strings so that it is still in tune. Eddie loved it. But there was still something missing. The Red, White & Black stripes.

When I saw Eddie the first time he played these.

Interesting Footnote:  Eddie made it cool to play a Steinberger. 

Note from Ed

This of course is nowhere near all of Eddie's Guitars, He has lots of really cool and interesting guitars. some old 79 Dean V's, a lot of Steinbergers, He has LSR number 2,  I built it for him in the mid nineties.

The guitars in this article are the signature guitars that made him famous. I personally have a copy of every one of them in my collection.  And I know where  some of the original high quality copies are. Contact me directly if you are looking for any particular model. I have a line on most of them.

The Ernie Ball, Peavey & Charvel Guitars were cut from a totally different cloth. Don't get me wrong, some of them are pretty good. But they don't qualify as the real deal.

Eddie's Famous Guitars

Album & Era  Name  Identifying Markings
Van Halen 1  VH-1 Parts Gtr. White With Black Stripes & Pickguard,  Clean & New Looking
Van Halen II VH-2 Charvel Black W Yellow Stripes, Gloss Finish Eddie Hated This Guitar.
Women Children First The Shark Ibanez Destroyer Silver & Red Hacked Up Body  (His Favorite)
Fair Warning Unchained Parts Guitar Custom Made White Black Circles & Stripes
1984 1 Frankenstrat   Fender Hdstk  Broken Guard, Red White & Black
1984 2 Frankenstrat   Kramer Cutball Hdstck  Broken Guard, Red White & Black
1984 3 Frankenstrat   Kramer Hockey Stick Hdstk  Broken Guard, Red White & Black
5150 5150 Kramer Hockey Stick, Space Tape 5150,  Red White & Black,
OU812 OU812 Red White & Black Steinberger

Interesting Footnote: The OU812 Steinberger was also used on 5150,  You can hear the trans trem

You can own the whole collection for about $30,000.00 

Kramer Holoflash
Ed Roman Is Now Doing The Holoflash Finishes