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EVH 5150 Series Standard review

A high-performance shreddable electric with killswitch, heaps of features and at a very attractive price, too

EVH 5150 Standard
(Image: © EVH Gear)

Our Verdict

A veritable playground for aspiring shredders, with stacks of player-friendly features and pickups that just love gain, the 5150 Standard is fun, fun, fun, and great value, too.

For

  • Impressive features including killswitch and Floyd Rose.
  • Superb overdriven and high-gain tones.
  • A lot of guitar for the money.
  • Cool, stripped-back aesthetic.

Against

  • Limited finish options.

Guitar World Verdict

A veritable playground for aspiring shredders, with stacks of player-friendly features and pickups that just love gain, the 5150 Standard is fun, fun, fun, and great value, too.

Pros

  • + Impressive features including killswitch and Floyd Rose.
  • + Superb overdriven and high-gain tones.
  • + A lot of guitar for the money.
  • + Cool, stripped-back aesthetic.

Cons

  • - Limited finish options.

The stripped-down appeal of the EVH Striped Series of electric guitars will most likely never lose its enduring popularity for Van Halen fans and players alike. Even the many iterations of the Wolfgang series adopted by numerous artists continues to grow by leaps and bounds. 

But if you ask me, I’ve been digging the EVH 5150 Series Standard guitar, which combines the very best attributes of Eddie Van Halen’s famed “5150” guitar along with the refined tones of Eddie’s innovatively designed Wolfgang guitars. 

As much as I loved my first VH-approved guitar when I was a youngster (a 1984 Kramer Baretta), having just one pickup and a volume control severely limited my tonal possibilities – because, hey, I’m no Eddie Van Halen

Thankfully, the new EVH 5150 Series Standard guitar expands upon the EVH Superstrat theme with some extras and updated tweaks that turn this guitar into more than just a one-trick pony.

The 5150 Standard is about as feature-packed as you can get in a stripped-down design. Pressed against your belly you’ll notice its slightly modified Strat-style basswood body possesses a deeper upper-body curve for close comfort.

The bolt-on quartersawn maple neck is graphite-reinforced and features a modified “C” profile that’s comfortably slim and flat, with a hand-rubbed satin urethane back finish, and a 12”-16” compound radius ebony fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and cream dot inlays

What’s nice to see is the addition of a heel-mount truss rod wheel for ease in making quick neck adjustments, and of course, the iconic “hockey stick” headstock that’s color-matched to the body.

EVH 5150 Standard

(Image credit: EVH Gear)

What’s new is the HH pickup configuration of two custom-designed EVH Wolfgang Alnico 2 humbucking pickups controlled by low-friction volume and tone knobs, along with a three-way toggle switch, now found on the upper bout rather than the bottom cutaway.

Where the old toggle switch used to be is now a lower-bout kill switch button, great for replicating Van Halen’s on/off stutter effect on You Really Got Me. Of course, the guitar isn’t complete without an EVH-branded top-mount Floyd Rose locking tremolo with EVH D-Tuna and EVH-branded Gotoh tuning machines.

I don’t need to mince words to describe the feel and playability of the 5150 Standard – it’s exactly as it looks, a total high-performance, hot-rodded guitar engineered for you to play at top speed.

The pickups are boldfaced but remain intensely focused under the most punishing distortion pumped through them, and are seriously some of the best pickups for articulating amps with high-gain preamps.

In short, with all its fully loaded features and affordability, the 5150 Standard is an irresistibly exciting guitar made to scream for you.

Specs

  • PRICE: $899 / £749
  • ORIGIN: Mexico
  • BODY: Basswood
  • NECK: Quartersawn maple, bolt-on, oil-finished with graphite reinforcement
  • SCALE LENGTH: 648mm (25.5”)
  • NUT/WIDTH: Floyd Rose R3Locking/42.8mm
  • FINGERBOARD: Maple with black dot inlays, 305-406mm (12-16”) radius
  • FRETS: 22, jumbo
  • HARDWARE: EVH-branded Gotoh tuners, EVH-branded Floyd Rose 1000 locking tremolo with D-Tuna
  • ELECTRICS: 2x Direct-mount EVH Wolfgang Humbuckers, 3-position toggle switch, Volume (500K EVH Bourns Low Friction Pot) with treble bleed circuit, Tone (250K EVH
  • Bourns high friction pot)
  • LEFT-HANDERS: No
  • FINISHES: Stealth Black [as reviewed], Ice Blue Metallic
  • CONTACT: EVH Gear
Paul Riario

Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.