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  1. #1
    Top Of The World AtomicPunk91's Avatar
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    08.16.13 @ 10:05 AM
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    Default The 5150 Guitar: Official Appreciation Thread

    It's the Official 5150 guitar pictorial history thread!





    The guitar we know and love as 5150 started off life in 1983, born in Neptune, New Jersey...

    The body featured a new shape that would come to be known as the Kramer American Pacer. It was a single humbucker routed body, made of a mystery? wood. It has been said to be made of poplar, as factory Kramer Pacers were being made out of maple and poplar. Yet other sources have stated it's made of basswood. This would possibly explain Ed's later use of basswood on his signature guitars...

    Paul Unkert built the custom one-piece maple neck. It was unusual in that it featured an asymmetrical back profile. The headstock shape was copied from an Explorer. The tuners were Gotoh 90 degree tuners.

    A rare, early prototype fine tuner Floyd Rose was installed. It is identified by it's non-centered 'Floyd Rose' logo and brass fine tuners. The nut is also unique from later Floyd nuts.

    The pickup is another custom piece. It is rumored to have been a specially wound Seymour Duncan pickup, based on the '59 model but with an Alnico II magnet. The Custom Custom is supposed to be derived from this pickup...

    1983

    The guitar soon to be known as 5150 is made by Paul Unkert. It's one of many similar guitars made for Ed at this time and was first used on the 1984 tour. It did not feature the '5150' spacetape yet.







    1983-4

    '5150' spacetape is placed on the body.

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    "Life is like music; sometimes it's the silence in between the notes that is most important..."

    "I'd rather be a failure with my own music, than a success off of someone else's music..." - Edward Van Halen

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  3. #2
    Top Of The World AtomicPunk91's Avatar
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    1984

    One of Ed's more unusual inventions is installed; his patented guitar tray table.


    ^This looks rather uncomfortable^





    The wacky patent drawing...

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    "Life is like music; sometimes it's the silence in between the notes that is most important..."

    "I'd rather be a failure with my own music, than a success off of someone else's music..." - Edward Van Halen

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  5. #3
    Top Of The World AtomicPunk91's Avatar
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    More pics from the 1984 tour,



    Final 1984 era pic. With another famous someone...
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    "Life is like music; sometimes it's the silence in between the notes that is most important..."

    "I'd rather be a failure with my own music, than a success off of someone else's music..." - Edward Van Halen

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    Top Of The World AtomicPunk91's Avatar
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    1986-1991

    "It's 5150 Time!!!"

    The Van Hagar era has arrived. Ed has retired his old Frankenstrat at this point and turned to his 5150 guitar as his weapon of choice.



    5150 takes an incredible beating as it survives through several world tours as Ed's main ax. It almost never leaves Ed's hands it seems. Of course that's the sign of a great guitar, one that you can never put down.



    Detail of the bridge and humbucker. Note the beginning of stress cracks.






    Heading towards retirement now itself, 5150 poses with the retired Frankenstrat.
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    "Life is like music; sometimes it's the silence in between the notes that is most important..."

    "I'd rather be a failure with my own music, than a success off of someone else's music..." - Edward Van Halen

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  8. #5
    Top Of The World AtomicPunk91's Avatar
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    1991-2004

    At some point 5150 suffered a total headstock split. This was the beginning of Ed's association with Ernie Ball, and they apparently fixed the headstock, adding a seventh tuner, putting their logo over the old Kramer one, and most sacrilegiously, cleaning the fingerboard



    It's last recording is on the song 'Judgement Day'. Thus ends the career of 5150.

    ...until, 2004!



    Yes, 5150 surfaces once more for live action on the 2004 Van Halen tour with Sammy Hagar. It's been fitted this time with a new Strat headstock neck...

    ...and that's the last time 5150 was seen live. Somewhere it resides in Ed's 5150 studio, fitted with yet another neck, this one striped on the fingerboard apparently
    .





    The original neck.
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    "Life is like music; sometimes it's the silence in between the notes that is most important..."

    "I'd rather be a failure with my own music, than a success off of someone else's music..." - Edward Van Halen

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  10. #6
    Top Of The World AtomicPunk91's Avatar
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    The body it seems is truly 'swiss-cheesed'.



    Final glimpse ever seen of the 5150,



    Thus ends the story of one of Ed's most amazing guitars,

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    "Life is like music; sometimes it's the silence in between the notes that is most important..."

    "I'd rather be a failure with my own music, than a success off of someone else's music..." - Edward Van Halen

  11. #7
    Hang 'Em High sickman's Avatar
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    Bravo, nice pictorial history, very cool. Thanks
    I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.

  12. #8
    Romeo Delight OokraMoO's Avatar
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    Awesome thread man, also mention that the pup gets changed to the zebra pup (most likely a wolfgang) in the last few pics!

  13. #9
    Top Of The World jroundy5150's Avatar
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    Nice job...thanks again. Picked up a couple more nice pics.
    .
    .

    The poor folks play for keeps down here...They're the living dead. Nobody rules these streets at night like Van Halen!!

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    On Fire DirtyWaterDoggie's Avatar
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    Thanks, this was the guitar that introduced me the Van Halen.

  15. #11
    Romeo Delight
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    Always loved that guitar... I honestly think the banana headstock is the shit...

  16. #12
    Hot For Teacher
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    08.19.12 @ 08:35 AM
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    Well done. I enjoyed that. The 5150 is definitely the guitar I most associate with Ed. More so than the Frank, actually.

    It's why my first guitar was a Kramer with banana neck (THE FOCUS 3000!) and the guitar he played when I first saw the band. It's the Live Without a Net guitar. So many great memories. If I ever purchased or built a replica, this would easily be the one.

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  18. #13
    Hot For Teacher psrajam91's Avatar
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    I'd really love to see Ed and Matt Bruck sit down with someone like Jas Obrecht or something and put together a book documenting Ed's famous guitars. If David Gilmour and Phil Taylor can do it for his Stratocaster, Ed and Matt Bruck can do it as well.

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  20. #14
    Eruption
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    My fav Eddie axe. LOVE the Strat body with the Explorer headstock.

  21. #15
    Good Enough 5150rob's Avatar
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    The pic from 04 with Ed playing the 5150 I took with my camera in the golden ring. Man that pic has been around the block since I first posted it years ago. Somehow it even made its way into a young guitar mag at one point. Ha ha. That was taken in Worcester MA on 6/20/04 on the 2nd Worcester show by yours truly.
    I was able to shake Ed's hand that night during jump. I have many other pics of Ed from that very night. Some not so flattering. Good to see my pic being put to good use.
    Rob

 

 

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