Wolfgang Van Halen is currently on the road for his postponed Young Guns tour with his Mammoth WVH bandmates and Dirty Honey. And, as we reported last month, the band’s shows have offered up a number of surprises both on the setlist and in the gear department, with Wolfgang offering a teasing glimpse of an elusive, as-yet-unannounced EVH semi-hollow electric guitar.
Besides some live footage and a few Instagram snaps, details on the guitar have been sparse. That is, however, until now, after the multi-instrumentalist discussed his upcoming signature during an appearance on Chris Shiflett’s Walking the Floor podcast.
While in conversation with Shiflett, Wolfgang revealed the name of the upcoming guitar will be SA-126 as a tribute to his father and late guitar icon Eddie Van Halen, whose birthday is on January 26.
“There are so many people who are like, ‘Why don’t you develop your own guitar?’ It’s like, ‘I’ve been doing that this whole time,’” Wolfgang revealed. “We’re developing a guitar I’m very excited about.
“I’m calling it the SA-126: Dad’s birthday is January 26,” he continued. “He named a song, 316, after my birthday. SA [means] semi-acoustic. That’s been the code name, and the more I’ve sat with it, the more I really like it.”
That’s not the only nod to his father, though, with Wolfgang also revealing the guitar’s single f-hole has been turned into what he calls an "E-hole" – an appointment that pays homage to Van Halen’s initial.
“It has one f-hole, but we’ve modified it so it’s an E-hole, for dad,” he explained. “I’m really stoked about it, and I think people are going to dig it when they see it.”
However, Wolfgang remained tight-lipped over when the guitar will be officially released, though confirmed he's in the midst of a “crash-testing” phase – inspired by how his father tested his signature gear – to see if it holds up to scrutiny.
As a result, we can expect to see many more snaps of the six-string in the coming months. “That’s what this next year of touring will be: getting the idea of it out there and seeing people’s response to it,” Wolfgang said.
Van Halen, who was previously seen playing a Gibson ES-335 on stage, also took the opportunity to explore his relationship with semi-hollow guitars, which stems from an old guitar he found in his father’s personal collection.
When asked about his affinity for the model, and why he doesn’t play an EVH Wolfgang model more, Wolfgang replied, “The main thing with Mammoth is that I wanted to establish my own identity and my own sound.
“When we started recording [the album],” he continued, “the first guitar that was like, ‘Oh, wow, this is starting to become its own thing,’ was when I pulled out my dad’s ‘59 ES-335.
“And it was so old that when I tried to tune it – I believe the tuning pegs were ivory or something – they crumbled in my finger. Like, it just turned into cinnamon in my finger. But when we recorded it, it sounded amazing, and that’s when I got that bug for the hollowbody sound.”
Head over to Wolfgang Van Halen's Instagram page to keep up to date with any forthcoming tour snaps, which will undoubtedly give us further looks at the SA-126 as it evolves.