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Eddie Van Halen-owned Frankenstrat, gifted to Leslie West, sells at auction for $50,000

Eddie Van Halen Kramer/Ripley Frankenstrat
(Image credit: Heritage Auctions)

An Eddie Van Halen-owned Kramer Striker/Ripley Frankenstrat, which was gifted to Mountain guitarist and electric guitar god Leslie West, has been sold for $50,000 by Heritage Auctions.

The guitar spent the first years of its life in good hands after it was made for EVH by Steve Ripley in 1984, and the axe was purportedly Van Halen’s backup Frankenstrat on the 1984 and 5150 tours in the ‘80s.

Ripley is renowned for his stereo guitars that EVH utilized on tracks like Top Jimmy, and built the Frankenstrat in question from the foundations of a Kramer Striker.

Sometime before 1990, the guitar was gifted to West, who then gave it to “the consignor” – an individual who acted as his private bodyguard between 1989 and 2001, and who “has worked with some of the biggest names in the music and film industries”.

As well as the instantly recognizable, subtly aged hand-sprayed stripes, the guitar sports a Floyd Rose tremolo, single humbucker pickup, locking nut and angled headstock embossed by “Ripley” decal.

The most notable feature is the guitar’s dark rosewood fretboard, which contrasts with the maple fretboards found on most of Van Halen’s Frankenstrats. The Ripley model is one of only a handful of models to sport such a feature. 

For more information, head over to the Frankenstrat's listing page at Heritage Auctions (opens in new tab).

The same sale saw the ESP guitar Kirk Hammett used in Metallica's One music video sell for $112,500.

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Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.