The guitar’s natural resonance is significant— you can feel substantial vibrations in the neck, and the guitar is easy to hear unplugged. The lack of lacquer allows the naturally resonating piece of wood to vibrate freely. As a tonewood, basswood is less trebly and has a porous mass, giving this guitar its natural midrange. The maple top adds the density needed to give it the treble without adding more unneeded mass.
Plugging into a moderately overdriven amp, the tone is ripping. Unlike some guitars that have moderate output pickups, the low-output EVH humbuckers have a string clarity in which you can hear every string in barre chords. For most of the testing, the bridge pickup was used (since it’s used 90 percent of the time in hard rock settings). There seems to be more natural string volume, making it sound much more aggressive than some metal guitars with active pickups. Rolling down the volume knob, the tone is clean, and open chords ring with clarity. The vibration transfer to the pickups is due mostly to the fact that they’re screwed directly to the wood. This is the reward for such a painstaking measurement and routing job—the pickups are just deep enough to be in perfect relation to string height. This in itself is ingenious in the design of this guitar.
Speaking of rolling the volume knob, the Bourns 500k volume pot has a low-friction action to its rotation. The taper is gradual and not sudden when bringing it up or down. This is more evident from the zero point and glides easily without much force.
Another contributing factor to the guitar’s tone is that the Floyd is non-floating, as the bridge plate rests on the surface of the body. What this does is lessen the amount of vibration lost, as happens when a Floyd Rose is suspended only by the pivot posts. This sucker sits squarely on the body and makes the guitar sustain well when striking a simple A chord, or holding a single note for quite a while.
The Final Mojo
The new EVH Wolfgang is a guitar made from years of Eddie Van Halen’s own research. It has an ease of playability and though somewhat small-bodied, it sounds like a herd of wild elephants when cranked through an overdriven amp. The outstanding features of the guitar are the stainless steel frets, the thinly coated body, low-output pickups screwed into the wood, and the non-floating Floyd Rose seated into the body. After putting this guitar through the ringer, abusing the volume knob, dive bombing the Floyd and trying to outplay the fretboard for several hours, this guitar kept coming back—no need to retune it, or even consider adjusting the polepieces in the bridge pickup. Checking the fretboard for a hair of wear on the frets turned up no single indent. While this guitar might not be for everybody, it truly lives up to its design claims. If this is truly meant to distribute to a wider guitar-playing audience exactly what Eddie uses, this guitar serves as testament to him. Plain:
You want defined clarity from low-output pickups in a guitar that’s built like a tank, with consistent action and wear-resistant frets.
You’re a rock player who enjoys standard production guitars with high-output pickups to mask your tone.
MSRP $3149.99 as reviewed - EVH Brand Guitars - evhgear.com