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This site is for Wolfgangs but after much consideration I have decided to add a section on the Music Man EVH because the fact is that the Wolfgang owes its heritage to this fantastic guitar. The Custom Shop Wolfgangs are now even more collectable due to the fact there were far fewer produced and the variety in the custom shop offerings far surpasses anything that Music Man ever did with their EVH guitar. However, there are too many production model Wolfgangs produced for them to become highly collectable (except for the first year quilt top), in my humble opinion - of course!
The quality of the tops on the Music Man EVH guitars are fantastic making them some of the most beautiful guitars ever produced for this type of guitar. Based on my extensive experience with both I don't think the quality of the overall guitar is nearly as good as the Wolfgang. They don't hold up nearly as well. The quality of the tops was very consistent throughout the production life of this guitar and there the EVH Music Man is far superior. There are also quite a few beautiful colors to choose from. The guitar itself is very similar to the Wolfgang in many ways but to me has a little higher pitched tone and a slightly brighter sound that corresponds more to the earlier EVH sound, while the Wolfgang has a "warmer" tone. This makes sense when you consider the evolution of the VH sound. I am open to other descriptions but this is the best way I can think of to state the difference. The neck on the Music Man is slightly smaller being 1-9/16" at the nut and the Wolfgang 1-5/8". So as far as which guitar is better when it comes to tone...... I would think that totally depends on which tone you like. I can't really see liking one and hating the other. They are just too similar. I can see liking one just a little better. I like them both. After all, why decide on just one when you can have them both? My favorite though is the Wolfgang. And overall I go for the warmer Wolfgang tone. I also find the Wolfgang much more comfortable to play, which is surprising considering how similar the guitars are. And again, in my opinion the overall quality of the Wolfgangs is much better. They hold up better.
Production Figures - According to someone who should know at Music Man, they produced approximately 6000 of these guitars from approximately January of 1990 to September of 1995 when the last one rolled out the door. The estimate was about 1,200 per year although that would put the number closer to 7,000. This is a recently provided number. They don't give out an exact number. I personally believe it is a little higher than this when you look at the serial number run but that is nothing more than my guess.
How Rare is the Color? The most common colors are red, gold (amber), blue and purple with about 1400 of each. This includes the stop tails as approximately 200 of the red, purple and amber were stop tails (about 600 total of these). There are about 600 trans black and 600 sunburst. I am not sure on the Natural but I would say 400 is a good guess. They only made about 200 pink. Green is said to be the third rarest color with 96 total pieces produced. The rarest color is solid black at 16 pieces, followed by solid gold at 26 pieces. These figures come from a very knowledgeable collector who got them from Music Man years ago and from another collector who for the most part had the same figures. I can't say for sure that they are correct but I think they are at least close.
Serial Number Surprise - The serial numbers on the Music Man guitars are NOT consecutive. You can't tell the day, month and year the guitar was produced by looking at the serial number. The reason is that MM had the serial number plates produced all at once and they came back from the supplier out of order and MM didn't think it was worthwhile to put them in order. So they just used them somewhat randomly. Also, some serial number plates that had quality problems or got scratched were never used. The only way to positively identify the production date is to ask MM. They can type the serial number into their computer and get the date of production. I have these for my guitars below. You can see that although my serial numbers are in different ranges, all the guitars turned out to be from 1995 with the Natural and Sunburst models being two of the last ones built at the end of September 1995 when they ceased production. It makes sense that the ones that are like new would be from 1995 as once people realized they were going away they started collecting them. Peavey puts the Wolfgang serial numbers in the headstock as they produce them so they would not have this problem with serial numbers out of order.
Dye (color) Issues - Ever wondered why you will see the same color EVH MM but the colors look very different. According to a tech at Ernie Ball who works on these guitars Music Man used a dye for a long time that was subject to extreme fading and it could happen very quickly. In as little as 6 to 12 months an amber (gold) guitar could completely loose its pigment and look like a Natural. He said he has seen cases where it is impossible to tell the original color was gold. He says the resulting natural look is very cool and really shows off the wood but it is very different. The only way to know the guitar was originally gold is to look it up in the computer and see what it was built as. The "aqua" color is a result of ageing on a trans-blue. Now I like the aqua color in many cases but the bottom line is that they didn't make this color. Ever seen a red one advertised as a unique color such as "dusky rose". This the same effect. The Ernie Ball tech said he just had a purple one in that looked like a trans black. Even after they switched to a different dye he said the guitars will still fade based on their exposure to UV although not as badly as the earlier ones. I have yet to see a purple one that hasn't faded except a new old stock guitar that was left in its case. Peavey developed a UV blocker they put in their paint that keeps this from happening on the Wolfgangs. It isn't in the first year Wolfgangs though, although I have not seen anywhere near the kind of fading in these as the MM's.
Is it Really Green, Solid Gold or Solid Black? - Before paying a lot of money for a "rare" color EVH Music Man I would check with Ernie Ball to see what the serial number shows it was originally built as. Ernie Ball has been approached by people looking to re-paint their EVH MM Green, Solid Gold, or Solid Black. Ernie Ball will refuse to do it but that doesn't mean it can't be done someplace else!
Don't take those strings all the way off! - When changing the strings always leave one string with tension. Ernie Ball says you can very easily ruin the neck and your guitar by releasing the string tension without loosening the truss rod. It is a very bad idea to ship the guitar with loose strings or without strings unless you had adjusted the truss rod. The tech I spoke with this about at EB says he has seen guitars where the neck and/or body are badly damaged because of this.
How does the cheaper Ernie Ball Axis compare to it's predecessor the Music Man EVH? - That is what I asked Rollie Delgado who was head guitar tech at Ernie Ball from 1991 to 2000 and worked on most of these guitars. Here is what he said: "The only differences between the Axis and the EVH signature are: The pickup switch was moved from the horn to down next to the volume knob; The axis also has a body bevel on the back, which the EVH does not; The neck width above the twelfth fret is also slightly wider on the AXIS. Pickups are the same as the EVH. Finally, The electronics routing on the AXIS is also a little different. If you look on the back of both and compare, the cavities are different. Other than that they are the same, same tone and feel. And the AXIS is much cheaper!"
If you have a Music Man EVH guitar that is a little different from anything shown here (especially a different color), I would love to get some good pictures and feature it on this site. I am also looking for a green one for my personal collection that is a little roughed up and thus not so expensive (i.e. I am looking for a great deal on a piece that has some scars). The rest of my MM EVH's are in collectors condition so I can deal with one with a few blemishes! I would also like to get the serial number on anything you send me. <Click the thumbnail pictures below for a larger image and the links to the left where available for more pictures>
This site was last updated 02/07/06