« Cool, but inconsistent »Published on 08/10/11 at 22:33
EVH Wolfgang Special Solidbody Electric Guitar Features:
Body: Basswood with Maple veneer top
Neck: Quartersawn maple
Fingerboard: AA birdseye maple; compound radius - 12" to 16"
No. of frets: 22; Vintage Style
Scale length: 25.5"
Nut width: 1-5/8"
Tuning keys: EVH-branded Gotoh tuning machines
Bridge: EVH-branded Floyd Rose locking tremolo with EVH D-Tuna
Pickups: Two EVH humbuckers, hard-mounted
Pickup switching: 3-way switch
Controls: Bourns low-friction pots (1x250k, 1x500k)
Case: SKB case with molded stripes
I've always liked the design of the Wolfgang, and this special is no exception. The general feel of the Wolfies that Ed has released over the years has always worked well with me. I actually slightly prefer the flat top models to the carved top ones, so that's a plus that the Japanese ones have over the USA models for sure. The design is definitely ergonomic. The guitars aren't featherweight, but they are light enough that it's comfortable to play and hold for extended periods. Checking out a few different ones showed that the weight really didn't vary much from guitar to guitar which was good. The upper fret access on these guitars is great as well, no real issues for me there.
Getting a good sound out of these guitars is not difficult... when you find a good one. I've tried a few of them and they're wildly inconsistent in how they sound. The best of the bunch was a black one that had that KILLER brown sound on the bridge pickup... but the neck pickup didn't work. The other two I tried seemed progressively muddier and weaker sounding and didn't have any of the even order harmonics that I so love about Van Halen's tone. Oh well, c'est la vie I suppose.
I've tried these guitars through mostly British voiced high gainer amps overall. The clean tones are decent enough out of these guitars. They aren't nearly as nice as many other guitars, but there's a promising sparkle that's hidden in there that can be coaxed out with the right settings and the right amplifier. The neck pickup has some good jazzier flavours and (in the right setting) the bridge pickup can get some twang for country chickin' pickin'. However, the point of these guitars for myself and nearly every other user is to get some raunch on the go. When these guitars are on, they do not disappoint. The best of the MIJ Wolfgang's I've tried had a very spongy feel that gave the tone a nice brown sound type sag, almost as though a variac was dimming the amp's voltage a-la Ed. However, too many of the ones I've tried have had a bit of a muddy characteristic to the tone and pickups... so I have to question their QC and consistency at this factory. When they're on they're great but you may have to play a few to get there.
All in all the EVH Wolfgang Special is a great guitar for someone who wants that great Van Halen rock tone on a budget. They're still not cheap guitars at about $1,300 new, but if you find one that sounds and feels right to you, snag it. I've tried a few and they don't always feel/sound right, but when they do, there's not much that will top it in that particular price point.
Oh yeah, it also comes with a really awesome SKB striped case... how cool is that?