Jack White two-hand taps on an EVH Wolfgang in tribute to Eddie Van Halen on Saturday Night Live

Jack White appeared on Saturday Night Live on October 10, and used his performance of his 2014 song Lazaretto to pay tribute to Eddie Van Halen, who passed away at the age of 65 on October 6.

White played the song using a modified three-pickup EVH Wolfgang electric guitar, and even threw in a quick Eddie-inspired tapping lick toward the end of the tune.

“I thought it could be a nice gesture for me to use this blue Eddie Van Halen model guitar for one of the songs tonight on SNL,” White wrote on Instagram earlier in the day.

“The guitar was designed by Eddie (with a few customizations I had added). Eddie was very kind to me and saw to it that this guitar was made for me to my specs. I wont even insult the man’s talent by trying to play one of his songs tonight. Thanks again Eddie for this guitar and rest in peace sir.”

In a 2018 interview with Guitar World for his album Boarding House Reach, White talked about the EVH guitar in depth. He explained what first led him to use the model, saying, “I was looking around, and I saw this interview with Eddie Van Halen about this Wolfgang guitar of his. He said, ‘I wanted a guitar that didn’t fight me, at all.’ I said, ‘That’s the magic word.’ I immediately went out and got one of those to try.

He continued, “You can go crazy and bend the tremolo arm all the way down and it completely stays in tune. That’s absolutely insane. It was what I needed at this point in time to push myself as a guitar player into a new zone, and also just to displace some of the pressure.”

He also discussed his admiration for Eddie, telling us, “It’s absolutely insane the things that he invented that we take for granted today. And I know he’s always been a guy like me, who likes to work in the garage and mess with things. So I know his style of design was coming from the garage. That inspired me.”

In addition to the SNL performance of Lazaretto, White grabbed a Bigsby-equipped Fender Tele for the White Stripes song Ball and Biscuit, which included pieces of his collaboration with Beyoncé, Don’t Hurt Yourself, as well as Jesus is Coming Soon, a traditional gospel song written during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and recorded by Blind Willie Johnson.

Judging by the screaming octave sounds, we'd wager White was also employing his recently released CopperSound Pedals Triplegraph digital octave, too.

You can check out both of White's SNL performances above and below.

In other EVH Gear news, it was recently revealed that Wolfgang Van Halen is set to run the company alongside longtime EVH tech Matt Bruck, in the wake of Eddie's passing.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.