“The goal was to put together a guitar that didn’t exist yet”: After years of anticipation, Wolfgang Van Halen’s long-awaited EVH SA-126 signature guitar is finally here – and it’s arrived on Eddie’s birthday

EVH SA-126 Special
(Image credit: EVH)

After nearly two years of patiently waiting for its official release, Wolfgang Van Halen’s flagship EVH signature guitar – the EVH SA-126 Special – has finally arrived.

Of course, the arrival of the long-awaited instrument brings to an end 20-plus long months of anticipation, but the significance of the drop stretches far beyond that. Indeed, today (January 26) marks Eddie Van Halen’s birthday – the very day the guitar itself was named after.

Back in March ‘22 – when the guitar rumor mill was in its infancy – Wolfgang revealed his forthcoming signature guitar would be called the SA-126 in honor of his late father. Not only that, it would be a touching callback to 316, the song Eddie wrote for Wolfgang and named after his son’s birthday.

It therefore makes for one of the more poignant and touching guitar releases of recent memory, as well as one that fans have been patiently awaiting for quite some time.

EVH SA-126 Special

(Image credit: EVH)

Ever since Wolfgang Van Halen took to the stage with a mysterious EVH semi-hollow electric guitar way back in February 2022, the guitar world has been buzzing with anticipation ahead of an official release.

Details filtered through in the ensuing years, with the Mammoth WVH frontman not only acknowledging its existence, but also revealing on numerous occasions what we could hope to expect from the hotly anticipated guitar.

Alongside the name, we were also well aware of what Wolfgang’s intentions were with his flagship signature EVH design. As he recently told Guitar World, the SA-126 was to be “way beyond a typical semi-hollow”.

EVH SA-126 Special

(Image credit: EVH)

“There’s nothing else like that guitar,” he teased earlier this month. “It’s like a hot rod, but with a souped-up modern engine.”

Naturally, there was plenty we didn’t know – namely, specific specs, color options, formats and the like – but now all has been revealed.

Two distinct variants of the EVH SA-126 have been debuted, each of which can be found in two finish options. The more muted option offers a maple top with either Stealth Black or Matte Army Drab colorways, while the more exotic QM alternative comes equipped with a Transparent Purple or Tobacco Sunburst finished quilt maple top.

No sign yet, then, of the relic’d models that Wolfgang has been donning onstage, but don’t be surprised if those iterations make up part of an expansion pack somewhere down the line later this year.

EVH SA-126 Special

(Image credit: EVH)

Tops and paint jobs aside, the SA-126 is otherwise consistent across the platform. That means a mahogany body is paired with a basswood centerblock, with a bolt-on mahogany neck – sculpted to the EVH modified C shape – also making the cut.

Elsewhere, a 22 jumbo-fretted ebony fingerboard, which flaunts a 12”-16” compound radius, can also be found on the blueprint, as can a 24.75” scale length. Other appointments include a Harmonica bridge, Stopbar tailpiece and sleek Mammoth-style inlays.

As for tones, a pair of custom-wound EVH SA-126 humbuckers, designed by pickup guru Tim Shaw, have been utilized. These are controlled by way of two pup-specific volume and tone parameters.

EVH SA-126 Special

(Image credit: EVH)

“The SA-126 was born out of necessity for finding my own sound,” Wolfgang says in a new statement. 

“I wanted to do my own thing and that’s how I gravitated towards semi-hollow bodies and how it became my core sound. 

“The goal was to put together a guitar that didn’t exist yet, which merged the beauty and wonderful warm tones of a classic semi-hollow guitar but with the performance style and neck that EVH gear is known for.”

In his Guitar World interview, Wolfgang elaborated on the development of the SA-126, likening it to how his father once rigorously road-tested his own signature Wolfgang design.

EVH SA-126 Special

(Image credit: EVH)

“It’s taken a while, but that’s exactly what Dad did with the Wolfgang, road-testing and crash-testing it,” Van Halen said. 

“It just gets better with each revision we’ve made as we’ve gone along. “I’m really excited for people to finally get it in their hands. It’s such a rare thing and such a wonderful opportunity to be able to design a brand-new instrument that’s ideal for what I’m doing. But it’s capable of so much more.”

As for price, the standard SA-126 Special will be available for $1,799, while the SA-126 Special QM has a price tag of $1,899. The guitar will officially ship in May.

To find out more, head over to EVH.

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Matt Owen

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.