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
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.
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.
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 !!
Eddie Posing with my Girlfriend "Chrystal"
After the show
Valerie, Eddie & Ed "1984"
Photo By Chrystal Ball
Note From Ed Roman
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.
The Axology of Edward Van Halen
By Michael McGuire
|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.
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.
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.
Interesting footnote: Three of the tuners are chrome and the other three are gold.
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.
|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.
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
Ed Roman Is Now Doing The Holoflash Finishes