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  1. #1
    Good Enough Kevin Dodds's Avatar
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    Default Kevin's EVH Replicas

    I got started about a month ago, and now it's pretty much an obsession. I have built four different Frankensteins in the past few weeks. Here they are all together:



    Left to right: Late 1979; 1983 US Festival/"Jump" video; 1977-1978 VH1; early 1979 before red paint added.

    KBD3
    Author of Edward Van Halen: A Definitive Biography. Available on The Official Van Halen Store website (*preferred seller*), Amazon, Barnes & Noble.com, eBookShop.com, and iUniverse.com.

    Official Van Halen Store link: http://www.vanhalenstore.com/page/VH/PROD/B60

    VHND article: "Edward Van Halen: A Definitive Biography" Is a Must-Read http://www.vhnd.com/2011/11/10/edwar...s-a-must-read/

    “I’m very excited, you know, to be makin’ music with my son, my brother, my new brother [Dave]… It’s, it’s the shit. That’s all I can say.”—Edward Van Halen, August 2007

    Edward Van Halen: A Definitive Biography Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Edw...61217513921920

    VHLinks forum topic thread : http://www.vhlinks.com/vbforums/book...rd-t53329.html

  2. #2
    Good Enough Kevin Dodds's Avatar
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    The original 1977-1978 VH1 recording and touring version.



    The early 1979 white pickguard version.



    The late 1979 first red paint job version with white pickguard:



    A modification of the above for the 1980 tour with an LP pickguard and cream pickup.



    Another modification of the same guitar to replicate the "Loss of Control" version with a chrome pickup.



    The classic 1983 US Festival/"Jump" version.



    KBD3

  3. #3
    Good Enough Kevin Dodds's Avatar
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    Default

    Compare shots.

    VH1 77-78:


    Early 1979:


    Late 1979:


    Early 1980:


    Mid to late 1980:


    Classic 1983 version:


    KBD3

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  5. #4
    Atomic Punk RRvh1's Avatar
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    Default Wow !!!

    Just logged in to say "Wow" , "Holy Sh*t" , and again ..."Wow" !!!
    You've done a superb job on those replicas . I love them all . Great details and I like how you included the pics of Ed , during the various incarnations of each axe .
    Outstanding job , Kevin
    "There's too many people on this basketball that's floating around the sun, who are too afraid to allow themselves to FEEL" - Edward Van Halen
    "Van Halen was never about the singer..." - a very wise fan.
    "Embrace the past. Live in the moment but keep your eyes on the future, and keep on moving forward..." - Richie Sambora

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  7. #5
    Good Enough Kevin Dodds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vhMcG View Post
    Just logged in to say "Wow" , "Holy Sh*t" , and again ..."Wow" !!!
    You've done a superb job on those replicas . I love them all . Great details and I like how you included the pics of Ed , during the various incarnations of each axe .
    Outstanding job , Kevin
    Thanks so much, man -- I really appreciate it.

    KBD3

  8. #6
    Good Enough Kevin Dodds's Avatar
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    Thought you might get a kick out of this: 15 minutes worth of work in 50 seconds.



    KBD3

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  10. #7
    Atomic Punk RRvh1's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Dodds View Post
    Thanks so much, man -- I really appreciate it.

    KBD3
    You're more than welcome ! I should be thanking you though - I love seeing stuff like this

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Dodds View Post
    Thought you might get a kick out of this: 15 minutes worth of work in 50 seconds.



    KBD3
    Very cool . I especially liked seeing the r/w/b Frankie come to life , so to speak . As someone who's never tried such a project , I get a major kick out of seeing it done with such attention to detail . Nice touch with the bootleg Eruption tagged on the end .

    It's hard to believe that a young Eddie made his own guitar sound so amazing !!! He's truly one in a million .
    "There's too many people on this basketball that's floating around the sun, who are too afraid to allow themselves to FEEL" - Edward Van Halen
    "Van Halen was never about the singer..." - a very wise fan.
    "Embrace the past. Live in the moment but keep your eyes on the future, and keep on moving forward..." - Richie Sambora

  11. #8
    Hot For Teacher maltiero's Avatar
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    Those look fantastic man. I would love to be able to do that!

  12. #9
    Romeo Delight Tank2000's Avatar
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    Those are awesome man...where did you the wood
    Earn this...

  13. #10
    Good Enough Kevin Dodds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tank2000 View Post
    Those are awesome man...where did you the wood
    I have yet to lathe any actual wood myself -- however, a good friend of mine's wife's father makes acoustic guitars (not electric), and I have been trying to get her to see if I can go to his ranch and watch him or help him make a Destroyer and a Star both. I figure that's the only way I'll ever be able to have replicas of those. First off, Destroyers are close to impossible to find, and Explorers retain every penny of their value +25%. I found a great Explorer, but they were asking $950. If I were to do that, I could not chop out a section of it. I just couldn't do that. I am way more about paying $80 for a guitar and replacing every part of it myself and setting it up and making it play great. I agree with what Eddie said once, there are really no bad guitars, just badly set up guitars and bad parts.

    So, the 1983 replica is a Kramer knockoff brand from the 80s called Lotus. They are on Wikipedia. I actually got the guitar for my birthday in 1984. It was Korean, but actually came with a Rockinger and a Seymour Duncan Crusader (cream). You won't believe this, but this is me playing that guitar as it was bought off the shelf in 1984 when I was 12 at a student assembly in 7th grade -- for real:

    The guitar actually played great, but I ended up getting a real Stratocaster later on, and took that guitar apart and tried to paint it but never finished it. Amazingly, I held on to the neck and body for 30 years, just something to keep in a box in the attic. About a month ago, I got it out of the attic and got started.

    So the 1983 version is a Lotus body (honestly unsure of the wood) and a Lotus maple neck and fretboard. The pickup is a vintage 80s Dimarzio -- honestly not the greatest, but really gets that "Pretty Woman" sound down perfect. I went all out and got Sperzel locking tuners and a Floyd Rose bridge. In retrospect, buying those at full price at Guitar Center was idiotic, and I don't think I'll ever do that again.

    And, as it turns out, the VH1 version is also a Lotus, but a Stratocaster copy, not a Kramer/Charvel copy. I actually did what Ed did and chiseled out a slot for the Seymour Duncan 59 I bought...at full price at Guitar Center like an idiot. The Lotus body is heavy as all hell, and honestly may be plywood for all I know, but the neck is a really nice maple with, again, a maple fretboard that simply to my good fortune already had a graphite nut just like Ed's. So I completely rewired the guitar. That one probably sounds the absolute best, I guess just because of the 59 and whatever magic alignment just happens.

    The 1979 black and white with white pickguard and the 1979-1980 modular red, black, and white one are both straight up Squier Stratocasters that I bought for less than $100 each. The 1979-1980 modular one has a nice maple neck and again a maple fretboard, but I'd have to research the wood for the bodies (I would assume something fairly cheap). The 1979-1980 one I put in a vintage Seymour Duncan Crusader and holy crap does that guitar sound crazy good. This is what that one simply sounds like:



    The 1979 black and white with white pickguard is still just a Squier Strat at the moment -- all single coils and a 5-way switch, your basic Strat. I faked that humbucker look! But I am going to slap probably another 59 in that one because that one seems to sound so damn good for Ed's sound to my ears. Fortunately that one has a maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. I personally prefer maple fretboards, but go to any pawn shop and you'll see that 9 out of 10 fretboards are rosewood which drives me nuts. If I find a decent Squier Strat with a maple fretboard, chances are, I'm going to go home with that thing and start busting out the masking tape and spray paint.

    So none of these guitars are anything super crazy or anything -- I have replaced the right parts and am now trying to get the best deals I can rather than forking out full markup at the monster that is Guitar Center. I do spend tons and tons of time working on the action and intonation. Like Brett said in another post, I very much use shivs -- almost always picks -- under the neck to get the alignment right. I also replace the neck machine screws -- that and other things are just $5 or less at Home Depot. Whatever, I just work on them until they play like I want them to. I don't care if they're not the exact same wood or the greatest wood. But the paint jobs -- I do care a lot about getting those as accurate as possible.

    However, now that I'm eBaying for Bumblebee parts, I did buy a full-blown vintage Charvel Model 2 body identical to a Charvel I have but refuse to customize. And the neck I bought was a pretty pricey Squier II maple with maple fretboard. So, I guess for this one, I am taking the construction pretty seriously. Otherwise, I swear, I can just take a Squier Strat and put a good pickup in it, paint it, and be perfectly happy.

    KBD3

  14. #11
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    Far out man...You really did these all yourself! I've only done one VH replica technically-that is one with the paint scheme and everything. That is my black and white '78 replica and I got Jimi and mrbond5150 (Nick) to help me with the paint job.

    Mad props to you for going totally D.I.Y. on yours...that is well beyond me!

  15. #12
    Romeo Delight Tank2000's Avatar
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    If you go on eBay and type in EXP KIT under musical instruments and gear, let me know what you find for a Shark replica
    Earn this...

  16. #13
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    Awesome dude! Stellar work. You did these in a few weeks? Where in the hell do you find the time?

  17. #14
    Good Enough Kevin Dodds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vhin04 View Post
    Awesome dude! Stellar work. You did these in a few weeks? Where in the hell do you find the time?
    Let's just say I have manic phases. I was up until 3am many nights.

    I've always fixed up my own guitars and have a fair amount of practical art training. Couldn't do it without a full toolbox, including a power drill and soldering iron. I have hit road blocks, but I have access to one of the oldest and coolest guitar shops in Austin where I can walk in and they will simply look things over for me. One of the guitars, I wired and it just didn't work. Rewired it a second time. No dice. I was going nuts. Finally, I took it down to South Austin Music, and the guy took his electrical meter -- which is something I do not have but need to look into. He said visually everything was fine, but that the volume pot was dead. Otherwise, I would have never known. Sold me a new one for $5 and it worked immediately. Also, the repair tech there has taken an interest in the stuff I'm doing and gave me invaluable advice on how to improve my wiring and solder points.

    I will say this, too: once you've done one -- they get a lot easier after that. I've been adjusting action and intonation since I was a teenager, so I just have a decent sense for that.

    Thanks so much for you compliments. That means a lot and I appreciate it!

    KBD3

  18. #15
    Good Enough Kevin Dodds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vhMcG View Post
    It's hard to believe that a young Eddie made his own guitar sound so amazing!!! He's truly one in a million.
    I could be the guy's #1 fan. I've been listening to those same six albums for more than 3 decades. It NEVER gets old, and is always as fresh and exciting to me. Whatever it is, it has permanent access to the pleasure center in my brain.

    I have had this discussion with my son -- he's an 11-year-old bad ass guitar player. We've talked about it so much. No one, I mean no one, ever thought "Man, I love the way a Strat plays but I love the way a Gibson sounds -- can't I combine them?" Well, no -- Strats are fitted for single coils, not humbuckers. That's when "THE MOMENT" came. Ed took a hammer and chisel to a guitar body and widened the slot. That was one of the most definitive changing moments in the history of electric guitars, just short of their invention.

    Jimi Hendrix is actually my favorite guitarist. I could really get into that, but calling Eddie my second is not saying anything small. Big differences between the two make comparison impossible though: Jimi wrote the music, the lyrics, and the vocals for all of his own songs and took the tremolo places it wasn't supposed to go. Nevertheless, Jimi never customized a guitar. He never even had a main guitar. He just took whatever Strat was there and never questioned it.

    Eddie did question it. Ed doesn't write lyrics and sing lead, but he was NEVER happy with guitars as they were off-the-shelf. He also had no training whatsoever, he learned everything by trial and error, and admitted that he ruined a lot of guitars -- including a vintage 50s Gibson sadly. But Edward is a genius, and he just figured it all out. Look where he is now -- he owns his own brand of amps and instruments and accessories. There are few to no other guitarists that have had such an impact as far playability, look, and sound and furthering the evolution of what had become a bit of a static instrument at the time.

    Because of my book, my son knows everything about Ed...including all the bad stuff. But I emphasize that everyone is flawed, and that he should be inspired by Ed's creativity and innovation as much as by his playing, and not so much by some of the things in his personal life. Although, his recent charitable work is so fabulous I show those to him to illustrate how someone can completely turn themselves around and how alcohol is the worst drug that exists.

    KBD3

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