When Eddie Van Halen visited Jason Becker in 1996, he gifted him a Peavey Wolfgang electric guitar from his personal batch – number 69 of the first 100 produced. That instrument is going to auction this month in an effort to raise funds for Becker’s ongoing care.
Recently, Becker’s assistant Stephen Correa stopped by LA vintage mecca Norman’s Rare Guitars to showcase the instrument – and to give in-house demo man par excellence, Michael Lemmo, the chance to put it through its paces.
The guitar was signed by Van Halen and bears the message: “Jason. We will play guitar together in the future. Love – from heart to your soul. Eddie Van Halen, ’96.” It also features Becker’s thumbprint on the rear of the neck.
In a new clip, posted on the Norman’s Rare Guitars YouTube channel, you can see Correa, Norm Harris and Michael Lemmo take a look over the instrument and share the story behind it.
Aside from the touching story behind the guitar, it’s well worth watching the clip for Lemmo’s magnificent Van Halen impersonation, including an utterly wild whammy bar motorbike rev (very much in keeping with EVH’s motoring obsession) and a medley of Van Halen riffs and licks, including Unchained.
“The last person to play it like that was Ed,” comments Correa after Lemmo winds down.
The auction for Becker’s Wolfgang is already live with the sale (via auction house Guernsey’s) available to view over at LiveAuctioneers and has already passed the $100,000 mark from just two bids (sitting on $110,000 at the time of writing).
The auctioneers estimate a final price of between $300,000-$400,000, so let’s hope it continues to gather some significant bids.
It’s hard to think of another instrument that so poignantly represents the relationship between two greats of the electric guitar, with the possible exception of the Jeff Beck/Jimmy Page Tele.
However, this auction is raising money for a very good cause – supporting its owners significant ongoing care costs – and, as Becker himself says, the guitar needs to be played.
“It should be with someone who would love to have it and can give it the attention it deserves,” Becker told Guitar World earlier this year. “I can’t play it, and the best part of it for me now is the memory of his kindness.”
Head to LiveAuctioneers to bid on Jason Becker’s Peavey Wolfgang guitar.