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A stage-used 1984 Eddie Van Halen Kramer guitar is headed to the auction block

A hand-built 1984 Kramer guitar used onstage by Eddie Van Halen
(Image credit: Live Auctioneers)

We almost managed to go a full week without seeing an electric guitar used onstage by Eddie Van Halen hit the auction block, but this hand-assembled 1984 Kramer had other ideas.

One of five examples hand-made by Eddie at the Kramer factory in New Jersey in 1984, this striped guitar – put up for bidding by Guernsey's (opens in new tab) – was used onstage by the guitar legend during Van Halen's 1984 and 5150 world tours.

Hand-painted in red with white stripes, and featuring the remains of five black marker tape stripes on the body's face, the Kramer has a one-piece solid poplar body that's contoured on the back and bass-side top edge, and a one-piece Eastern hard rock maple neck with a mahogany "skunk stripe" and a maple fretboard with 22 jumbo frets, a 26-inch scale length and black dot position markers.

Sonically, the guitar features a single Seymour Duncan Custom humbucker in the bridge position, controlled by a single volume control with a seven-sided black plastic control knob lifted from an MXR Flanger effects pedal.

Elsewhere, the guitar features a Floyd Rose bridge and locking vibrato unit with two springs and six individually adjustable saddles, a locking nut assembly, a single-bar string retainer, and individual Schaller M6 Mini rotomatic tuners. The guitar's one-of-a-kind visual marks include a cigarette burn on the headstock by the low E tuner and a streak of black tape across the face by the G tuner.

Additionally, inside the guitar's neck pocket is an inscription – written in black marker by Kramer assembly foreman James Paul DeCesare, who helped Eddie build the guitar – reading "JPD / EVH #4."

The guitar comes with two letters of provenance, from DeCesare and Backstage Distributions President Danny Perkins.

The letter from DeCesare affirms the instrument's provenance, and explains (opens in new tab) the differences between the custom build and the similar, EVH-style production-line Kramers of the time.

The letter from Perkins, meanwhile, details the history of the Kramer's ownership, and what distinguishes the built-for-the-road guitar from the near-identical, hand-built-at-the-factory-by-EVH '84 Kramers that were given away around that time in promotions. 

You can watch Jared James Nichols take the guitar for a spin in the demo below.

Bidding for the guitar – which currently sits at $75,000 – ends at noon EST on Thursday, July 15. The guitar's estimated value is $150,000 - $250,000.

For more info on the guitar, stop by Live Auctioneers (opens in new tab).

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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.