Summer NAMM 2019: EVH Unveils New ’79 Bumblebee Tribute Guitar

(Image credit: courtesy of EVH)

Summer NAMM 2019: EVH has unveiled the ’79 Bumblebee tribute guitar, a recreation of the iconic black-with-yellow-stripes model seen on the cover of Van Halen’s 1979 album, Van Halen II. Eddie Van Halen also played the guitar extensively throughout the band’s 1979 world tour.  

The ’79 Bumblebee tribute model features all of the original specs, including an ash Strat body, a bolt-on birdseye maple neck with an oiled back finish, a straight 12” radius birdseye maple fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets, katalox dots and black side dots, and a skirted Strat-style “Tone” volume knob.

Additionally, the guitar has been outfitted with an EVH ’79 Bumblebee humbucking bridge pickup. EVH also matched the Bumblebee’s six screw holes (hidden under the original prototype's non-fine tuner locking tremolo bridge, which EVH recreated just for this project), along with the original prototype locking nut. All hardware has been relic’d, including the custom brass string retainer, screw-eye strap hooks, side output jack and original period-correct Schaller tuning machines.

The black-with-yellow-stripes paint job has also been relic’d, and Van Halen’s signature appears on the back of the headstock.

Said Van Halen in a statement, “The 79 Bumblebees that we’re making sound very much like how I always wanted the original to sound. So it may have taken 40 years, but I now have everything I wanted back then—a bitchin’-looking guitar that plays and sounds great.”

The new model comes in a custom-made Anvil hardshell case and includes '70s-era Fender Super Bullets strings, Van Halen Seventies tortoiseshell picks, an exclusive Bumblebee collector’s booklet, the Van Halen Live Tour in Japan 1978 & 1979 book and several autographed items—a certificate of authenticity, an 8”x10” 1979 concert photo of Eddie Van Halen and a vinyl copy of Van Halen II.

The new ’79 Bumblebee is limited to 50 instruments worldwide. 

For more information, head to EVH Gear.

(Image credit: courtesy of EVH)

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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.