Wolfgang Van Halen says his upcoming EVH SA-126 semi-hollow is “like a shredder hollow-body”
Wolfgang Van Halen has teased some new information about his work-in-progress EVH SA-126 semi-hollow signature and the “shredder” elements the guitar is said to feature.
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Explaining how the idea for his new semi-hollow came about in a recent interview with Ola Englund, Wolfgang says, “I’m playing a new guitar that we’re sort of crash-testing with the brand. It’s called the SA-126. It’s kind of the first semi-hollow. I guess you could call it a performance semi-hollow.”
“Starting Mammoth [WVH], I thought it was really important for me to have my own sort of tone,” the guitarist continues. “My own sort of sound instead of just playing a Wolfgang through 5150s and just kind of calling it a day. So I ended up being attracted to this sort of classic semi-hollows and that sort of warm tone.”
He adds that the SA-126 (named after Eddie Van Halen’s birthday) combines some of the more traditional aspects of semi-hollow guitars with other “shredder” elements — something the EVH brand does not offer at the moment.
“Especially since most of the older… I mean, really, the semi-hollows, [they always have] like a really big wide almost like baseball bat neck. And so the instrument didn’t really exist,” Wolfgang says. “So it was fun to merge the worlds of the classic semi-hollows with the performance guitars that the [EVH] brand is known for, and kind of putting them together.”
“And actually, we’re using the neck profile of the Bumblebee [Eddie Van Halen’s old custom guitar], the black and yellow. That was like the base. It’s definitely been moved around a little bit. But sort of that really thin but wide [neck].”
He continues: “It’s a very shredder neck. It’s like a shredder hollow-body. It’s a fun little marriage of both. It’s got a basswood center block. That was dad’s choice of tonewood. It’s got a maple top, mahogany sides and back, ebony fretboard. I believe that the neck is maple too.”
“There’s about seven prototypes. We did three early on. And then these new ones that I have on tour with me are sort of the new batch. It’s like a new assembly method. So you know, we’re just always trying to improve upon what we can do better. But yeah, it’s really exciting.”
Check out the full interview below.
In the same conversation, Wolfgang re-sparks the until-now-dormant backing track debate, saying that artists should keep their use to a minimum during live shows.
“I think everybody else draws their own line with what tracks are acceptable or not, but it’s, like, if you’re pumping in the main guitar riff and the lead vocals and actual fucking drums – like, pre-recorded drums – that’s a problem,” he explains. “You should be able to play your shit.”
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