Mammoth WVH kicked off their postponed Young Guns Tour with Dirty Honey this week, and the Wolfgang Van Halen-fronted band has already peppered their set with a number of surprises, both on the setlist and the guitar racks.
Recent performances have featured a rendition of Alice in Chains classic Them Bones – footage of the cover, taken from Salt Lake City on February 21, has been uploaded online and finds Wolfgang and fellow guitarist Jon Jourdan on fine guitar and vocal form.
There was one minor setback, however: one minute into the performance, Wolfgang’s strap comes clean off his mysterious new semi-hollow.
Ever the professional, the multi-instrumentalist proceeds to play the song’s one-finger drop-D powerchord riffs one-handed, before propping the guitar up on one leg to tackle Jerry Cantrell’s iconic solo note-for-note – bar some additional two-hand-tapped fretboard fireworks at its conclusion, natch. Thankfully, a tech dashes on to fix the guitar strap malfunction in time for the final chorus.
But what, exactly, is that guitar slung – and not-so-slung – around Wolfgang’s shoulders? A new Instagram snap, posted below, gives us some clues.
It seems the Mammoth WVH leader has made a few tweaks to the formula of his namesake guitar to better match the qualities of his usual go-to instrument, the Gibson ES-335, giving birth to a semi-hollow EVH Wolfgang.
The new model features a single swooped f-hole design, along with individual volume and tone controls for each humbucking pickup, a smart three-a-side headstock and a Mammoth WVH inlay at the 12th fret. All of which begs the question: could this be a Wolfgang Van Halen signature guitar?
Fans have also noted the relic job applied to the Ivory finish, which Wolfgang has confirmed to be a nod to Eddie’s 2015 Tour Relic Replica, although he also has a non-relic’d sunburst version of the new design, which can be spotted in live performances of previously unreleased track, I Don’t Know At All.
Assuming it makes it to production – and given Wolfgang Van Halen is now at the helm of EVH Gear alongside his dad’s longtime tech Matt Bruck, we’d bet good money on that happening – the new model would mark the first semi-hollow design to emerge from the Fender-owned brand. Presumably, those strap buttons will receive a few tweaks before guitars begin leaving the factory, however.
Up until now, EVH Gear has been best known for its array of solidbody guitars based on Eddie Van Halen’s Wolfgang design, as well as other classic striped configurations played by the guitar legend throughout his career. Wolfgang Van Halen’s semi-hollow design could mark a bold new chapter for the firm.
The Young Guns Tour continues through March and into April – we look forward to seeing if Wolfgang pulls any other surprise guitars out of the bag during the trek.