Earlier this year, Wolfgang Van Halen dropped Take a Bow – an epic Mammoth WVH track for which he used not only Eddie Van Halen’s iconic Frankenstein electric guitar, but also his father’s OG Marshall amp rig.
It proved to be one of the most memorable tracks from his latest album, Mammoth II (and, indeed, one of the most special Mammoth WVH tracks outright), with Wolfgang dusting off the revered duo for the track’s knockout two-hand-tapping-heavy guitar solo.
At the time of the song's release, Wolfgang understandably labeled the whole experience as “really special”, and said it made him happy to “capture some of Dad’s history on this song forever” – and it seems as though those sentiments have just got even stronger as time has passed.
Speaking in the new issue of Guitar World, Wolfgang reflected on the recording of Take a Bow, and said it was his initial plan to use a different guitar of EVH’s for each of Mammoth II’s guitar solos.
That plan, however, was soon revised, and it was determined that only one solo would be recorded using Eddie’s gear – and, naturally, it was the Frankenstein that was chosen for the job.
“When I started making the album I thought it would be fun to use a different guitar of his for every solo,” he explained. “But then it turned into, 'Let’s just boil it down to one moment that feels really special.'
“When I first wrote the solo section for Take a Bow, it started as a looped section of the main riff,” Wolfgang went on. “As I was recording the solo I sat there for three or four hours and came up with all these fun parts. The solo section got longer and longer, which made the whole song longer.”
As expected, using Frankenstein through his father’s OG Marshall amp rig (the same used on early Van Halen records) “was such a special moment” – so special, in fact, that it felt like Eddie was in the studio with him while he tracked it.
“It felt like such a special moment that I didn’t want to change it,” Wolfgang said of the solo. “So that’s where that whole buildup comes from. And it felt like such a departure, or really an elevation from anything I’ve done before.
“It felt like a really special moment to celebrate by using the Frankenstein and the original Marshall through one of Dad’s OG Marshall cabs from the club days at the same time. It was really cool to be able to have that special moment in my career, songwriting and guitar playing marked by something so important. It was like having my dad right there with me.”
Head over to Magazines Direct to pick up the latest issue of Guitar World, which features the full interview with Wolfgang Van Halen and a comprehensive breakdown of the best gear and guitarists of 2023.