NGD: EVH Bumble Bee and Wolfgang Special

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bandit2013

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For a long time I have been hooked on Carvin Guitars dating back to 1999 when I found a used one at a local guitar shop when I lived in PA. Since then, I have grew that collection of instruments with a mix of used and new. Most were bought before Carvin changed their name to Kiesel and moved to a new location. Since they stopped offering the Floyd Rose bridge as an option on the guitars I was interested in, I decided to shift gears and look for an alternative. There was Charvel with the various versions of the Super strat. I sort of liked the Pro-mod DK24 models and now have 4 of them. Very comfortable to play and most of all more affordable than a Custom Carvin/Kiesel. Was looking for something a bit different. Hmm, I see that Fender owns Charvel as well as EVH and some of the Mexican versions are made at the same facility as the Charvel guitars. May as well try one out.

First up was the EVH Bumble Bee: Not the limited build replica that sells for too much money. We are talking about the affordable version. At first, I was not sure which to get. Red/white/black, or white/black, or the Black/yellow. The Bumble Bee had more appeal to my visual cortex than the others. Not sure why the red/white/black version costs more? Perhaps due to more tape and processing of the finished product. It is basically the same instrument unless you are a lefty. I see the left handed models have the 1.625" nut width but the right handed models have the 1.6875" nut. I was sure I was going to like it so I bought it through my usual path I got my Charvel guitars from (also the same resource I buy my Mesa boogie gear from).

Here are some of the images the retail resource sent me of the instrument.

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Well, it feels great and plays well. Neck has a much thicker profile than the Charvel but yet feels familiar so no difficulty adapting to this instrument. I did manage to change the strings to my desired gauge as I thought the 9's were too slinky for my liking. Since it is a dive only FR setup, much easier to change strings than it would be for a free floating setup. Note: EVH only equips the bridge with two springs. When going up in gauge, you may need to add an extra spring. Also since I had to remove the bridge to change the tremolo arm assembly to the Red Bishop Magic arm, I had to loosen the studs to get the bridge out. Have it all dialed in. Have been playing this guitar for a few weeks now. Really love the pickup. Cleans up well with volume drop and drives the Badlanders hard at full volume.

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I decided to swap out the MWDR in the center with the Royal Atlantic RA100 since I was not using the MWDR to its full potential. the RA was a better fit and can bump up the volume on all three amps. Note, the 2-BADs are the primary sound in this setup but in stereo. The center amp is only used for enhancement.


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I liked the D-tuna more than I expected too. The learning curve on how to set it up is to tune the low E sting with the D-tuna out and tune it to D. Also, you need to stretch the strings first. Instead of pulling on them, tune the guitar 2 steps up G,C,F, A#, D, G and let it sit overnight. Then tune to proper pitch and lock the strings. Then the fine tuning with the D-tuna can be done for the E note. I also got the D-Tuna for my Dave Murray California Stratocaster. Since that is dive only, was an easy swap. I did not even have to change the strings but unlocking the E and A string at the nut is required. The Dave Murray was in the image that has the MWDR in on the center cab before installing the D-tuna.

Since I was loving this new axe, I was not playing much of anything else. I got hooked. It gave me some GAS and wanted more. Two thumbs up for this axe. I had considered another EVH instrument but was not sure which to get next. A 5150 ? Wolfgang Special or Wolfgang standard? There was that limited edition ASH version but not many places had it in stock. Did not feel like playing premium prices for a used one. Also the ASH has a tendency to be on the heavy side. If I come across one I may get it.

The quilted maple laminations kept drawing me in. Such eye candy is hard not to look at. A carve top would be nice so that ruled out the WG standard or the 5150. I threw some money at Sweetwater and they delivered. Actually it came much sooner than expected. Arrived on Saturday. First, I will share the photos they took.

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For some reason, this one seemed to be of interest. Not sure why, they all looked nice. Something with the neck and I had a hunch it was more than met the camera lens. I was right. Here is what it looked like when it arrived.
The flames are difficult to make out unless you use a flash when taking the picture. It is not really a flamed maple neck but looks close enough to pass as one.

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I did order the EVH guitar case for the Wolfgang. I was more concerned with it floating in the other case I bought for the striper. The Charvel case was a good fit for the Bumble Bee as it has the standard Strat body.

So, what is the verdict on the EVH Wolfgang? two thumbs up. Love it. I may prefer the wider nut width. but I don't notice the difference between the two EVH. You can feel it, but the neck profile makes up for the 0.062" difference.

The Schecter Sun Valley was out so I had something to compare in terms of feel. That guitar also has the 1.625" nut width but the neck profile is much thinner which tends to add in some fatigue after playing it for a while. Also the neck is made of Wenge so that may be a contributor. The Charvel guitars also have a thinner neck profile but I do not seem to get that fatigue as I do with the Scheckter. Thought it was related to the nut width. On the other extreme, I have a Warmoth project strat I built with a much wider nut width of 1.75 and the modern C neck profile. I get fatigue with that one too. Has a maple neck with Ebony fretboard. Some say Ebony add fatigue. I beg to differ as most of my Carvins have ebony boards and never had issues relating to fatigue.

I find the EVH Wolfgang to be as comfortable to play as the Bumble bee guitar. The body shape is a bit smaller, similar to the DK pro-mod compared to a standard strat body. I would say at a sitting position it is comparable to the Carvin CT6 that I am familiar with. Standing position probably will not matter much. I guess it depends on how it hangs. I mostly play the guitar sitting down. No need to move around much. If I am not playing the drums when I have company over, I will use a guitar strap and stand as it does get crowded a bit in the room I have set up as a studio. I should have turned off the flash when I took the picture. The Fender headstock is not that yellow and the BB stripes are a bit darker than they appear (think school bus yellow is the actual color).

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Sure, I can admire the work of EVH. I can't play as well though. I do my own thing most of the time. What I like about the guitars in general is the sound of the pickups and overall comfort of the instrument. I am surprised I never tried one of these before. Blame it on the Charvel as those instruments fueled the GAS and the first of 2 EVH guitars made it worse. Since the Charvel and EVH are made in the same place, I expected the same quality and workmanship with the EVH as I got with the Charvel Pro-mod. Also considering I did not try these guitars out before buying I was uncertain how I would like the instruments as the neck profile is different. The Wolfgang guitar reminds me of the EBMM I played in 1990 at a store. First time I ever saw one and thought that was great, and different than a standard Stratocaster. I sort of liked the compact form. It may be smaller in size but still has the standard scale length of 25.5 inches. Works for me.
 

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