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Thread: Special vs USA

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    Default Special vs USA

    Hey guys

    Im thinking about getting a new Wolfgang stealth, whats the main differences between the special and USA and is the price for the USA worth it?

    As for my amp questions from before I decided to get the 1x12 and 50w for my at home needs.

    All the gear is amazing but I don't need allot of that firepower as a home hobbyist.

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    Depends on which version of the Special you are asking about. The original EVH (Fender) Special had a flat top, and the new version has a carved top like the USA.

    The original EVH Special was different from the USA Wolfgang in the following ways:
    -Flat top
    -non-figured maple fretboard
    -Country of origin
    -no back-tilt on the headstock
    It had many of the feature sets of the USA counterpart that really set it apart from other guitars at the same price point with features like:
    -Thin Skin paint
    -Stainless Frets
    -Unpainted cavities
    -Same hardware and electronics as the USA model, including the same hardshell case

    If you are referring to the new version of the EVH Special, it is the same as the USA version in the following respects:
    -It has a carved top and the same Floyd and tuners

    It differs from the USA version in the following respects:
    -It has a non-figured maple fretboard
    -It has a non-tilt headstock
    -It has Jumbo nickel frets instead of vintage stainless frets
    -It has standard paint instead of thin skin paint
    -It has Chinese manufactured versions of the Wolfgang pickup
    -It has painted cavities
    -It does not come in an EVH case
    -country of origin

    Now, none of this means that the new Special is not going to be a great guitar. Realistically, the new Special more closely compares to the Peavey Wolfgang Standard. Having owned a few Peaveys, I can tell you that they were all great guitars.

    I guess in making the decision, you have to ask yourself what is really important to you about the guitar. Is it the country of origin? Is it stainless frets? Is it the case? Paint? Looks?

    I have yet to get my hands on one of the new Specials, but I have played one of the new Standards, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The new Standards are actually really good feeling and sounding. Is it to the level of my 1st Gen Special? No, but it is amazingly close, and a great value at it's price point. If the quality of the new Standard is any indication of what we can expect from the new Special, then it should be a great guitar.

    I've gone back and forth about whether or not I would trade my 1st Gen Special for a new one. I've pretty much come to this conclusion, I'm not really bothered too much by any of the changes they made enough to keep me from making the trade, except for the case. If I played one, and I really liked the way it felt and sounded, I wouldn't care that the frets aren't stainless, or that the pickups are made overseas. It really wouldn't matter to me that it would have a thicker finish. What would bother me is combining all of those things with the fact that it does not come with a hardshell case. I wouldn't even care if it wasn't the official EVH case. This is why I would not trade my Special for a new one. There are just too many features I'm giving up to walk around with my guitar in a fucking gig bag.

    With all of that being said, if I were going to buy another EVH Wolfgang, and I had to choose between a USA and a new Special, I would probably buy the new Special, and take the money I have left over from not buying the USA, and get a 50 watt 1x12 combo. Maybe I would just buy 3 of the new Specials in different colors, since the USA is about 3 times the price of the new Special. What I probably would actually do is get a Black Wolf Standard and put a stripe job on it, and get one new Hardtail Special, and one Floyd Equipped Special. Anyway, you get the point. The USA version is just so damn expensive that it's tough to justify getting one. If I had unlimited money, sure, I'd have every color. If I had money to buy a USA Wolf, and I could only spend it on one guitar, I would probably find a really nice used EBMM/EVH and get that instead.
    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobozos View Post
    Depends on which version of the Special you are asking about. The original EVH (Fender) Special had a flat top, and the new version has a carved top like the USA.

    The original EVH Special was different from the USA Wolfgang in the following ways:
    -Flat top
    -non-figured maple fretboard
    -Country of origin
    -no back-tilt on the headstock
    It had many of the feature sets of the USA counterpart that really set it apart from other guitars at the same price point with features like:
    -Thin Skin paint
    -Stainless Frets
    -Unpainted cavities
    -Same hardware and electronics as the USA model, including the same hardshell case

    If you are referring to the new version of the EVH Special, it is the same as the USA version in the following respects:
    -It has a carved top and the same Floyd and tuners

    It differs from the USA version in the following respects:
    -It has a non-figured maple fretboard
    -It has a non-tilt headstock
    -It has Jumbo nickel frets instead of vintage stainless frets
    -It has standard paint instead of thin skin paint
    -It has Chinese manufactured versions of the Wolfgang pickup
    -It has painted cavities
    -It does not come in an EVH case
    -country of origin

    Now, none of this means that the new Special is not going to be a great guitar. Realistically, the new Special more closely compares to the Peavey Wolfgang Standard. Having owned a few Peaveys, I can tell you that they were all great guitars.

    I guess in making the decision, you have to ask yourself what is really important to you about the guitar. Is it the country of origin? Is it stainless frets? Is it the case? Paint? Looks?

    I have yet to get my hands on one of the new Specials, but I have played one of the new Standards, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The new Standards are actually really good feeling and sounding. Is it to the level of my 1st Gen Special? No, but it is amazingly close, and a great value at it's price point. If the quality of the new Standard is any indication of what we can expect from the new Special, then it should be a great guitar.

    I've gone back and forth about whether or not I would trade my 1st Gen Special for a new one. I've pretty much come to this conclusion, I'm not really bothered too much by any of the changes they made enough to keep me from making the trade, except for the case. If I played one, and I really liked the way it felt and sounded, I wouldn't care that the frets aren't stainless, or that the pickups are made overseas. It really wouldn't matter to me that it would have a thicker finish. What would bother me is combining all of those things with the fact that it does not come with a hardshell case. I wouldn't even care if it wasn't the official EVH case. This is why I would not trade my Special for a new one. There are just too many features I'm giving up to walk around with my guitar in a fucking gig bag.

    With all of that being said, if I were going to buy another EVH Wolfgang, and I had to choose between a USA and a new Special, I would probably buy the new Special, and take the money I have left over from not buying the USA, and get a 50 watt 1x12 combo. Maybe I would just buy 3 of the new Specials in different colors, since the USA is about 3 times the price of the new Special. What I probably would actually do is get a Black Wolf Standard and put a stripe job on it, and get one new Hardtail Special, and one Floyd Equipped Special. Anyway, you get the point. The USA version is just so damn expensive that it's tough to justify getting one. If I had unlimited money, sure, I'd have every color. If I had money to buy a USA Wolf, and I could only spend it on one guitar, I would probably find a really nice used EBMM/EVH and get that instead.
    So since I'm doing a project hopefully this summer with Stealth parts and pickups that are used in the Washburn N4 (I want a guitar to play some Nuno with the combination of the EVH Stealth look), I should try and buy a new Stealth Special body, and try to find an old Stealth Special neck with the stainless steel frets? Am I missing something here. Is the arch top worth the trade for the paint difference?
    Last edited by Yaminub; 04.07.15 at 08:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yaminub View Post
    So since I'm doing a project hopefully this summer with Stealth parts and pickups that are used in the Washburn N4 (I want a guitar to play some Nuno with the combination of the EVH Stealth look), I should try and buy a new Stealth Special body, and try to find an old Stealth Special neck with the stainless steel frets? Am I missing something here. Is the arch top worth the trade for the paint difference?
    I guess it depends on whether or not you like vintage sized frets or jumbo frets. The Stainless frets are nice, but they are small. I know it took me a while to get used to them. The great thing about the Stainless frets is that they always feel slick and polished. Bends are effortless. You also get a lot more life out of them. The downside to them is when they do need attention, you need to find someone who is willing to dull their files on them. But to answer your question, if you want the stainless frets, yes, you would need to get the new body if you want the carved top, and the old Special neck to get the Stainless frets.

    As far as the paint goes, I'm not sure how much I really buy into all of the hype about the thin skin paint and the unpainted cavities. Does it make a difference in the tone? I'm sure it probably does. Can most average people hear it? Probably not. Like I said earlier, the Peavey Wolfgangs didn't have these features, and they are great guitars. More than likely, the paint thing was probably more based in trying to develop some kind of marketing strategy to differentiate the EVH Wolfgang from the previous Peavey Wolfgang, than it was about any real tonal advantage. Sure, thinner paint should lead to increased resonance and less damping of the wood's vibration, and the unpainted cavities should let the wood age, but the more gain you pile onto the signal in your amplification, the less all that stuff matters.
    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

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    That was some amazing answers guys ! wow. I'm very impressed I want the stealth special and maybe vintage white... we'll see!

    The special seems like a logical choice for me.

    I have to read theses answers a few times !

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    Wow, nobozos summed it up so well.

    As the current owner of a Peavey USA Standard and a EVH MIM Special, and the former owner of a Peavey USA Special and EVH MIJ Special, I'd say one of the biggest factors for you to consider would be fret size.

    When I had the MIJ Special I adapted to the vintage frets just fine....till I switched to any of my other guitars. The difference was too extreme. The jumbo frets on the MIM EVH are awesome. I'm a big fan of the new Special, it's every bit of a guitar that my Peavey standard is.

    I've played the USA EVH guitars in stores and can't comprehend the price difference.

    My recommendation: if you want a Stealth, get a MIM Special.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SDZ View Post
    Hey guys

    Im thinking about getting a new Wolfgang stealth, whats the main differences between the special and USA and is the price for the USA worth it?

    As for my amp questions from before I decided to get the 1x12 and 50w for my at home needs.

    All the gear is amazing but I don't need allot of that firepower as a home hobbyist.
    If you can do without the "Stealth" finish, I have a brand new Peavey Special in black for sale. I also have a brand new EVH American in Ivory. I would rather give a member a better deal than feeBay. No joke, they are both brand new. Ill let the EVH go for silly cheap. (No they aren't hot. LOL)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedi McFly View Post
    I'm a big fan of the new Special, it's every bit of a guitar that my Peavey standard is.
    As I stated earlier, I have not gotten my hands on a new Special yet, but assuming the playability, quality and tone are equal to the Peavey Wolfs, there is one important distinction that separates the two, and that is construction.

    The new Specials use a carved basswood body with a maple veneer, where the Peavey Wolfgang Standard used a true maple cap. This will make a difference in the tone of the instrument that will be noticeable between the two. Now, I will say that my absolute favorite playing and sounding Peavey Wolfgang that I owned was a Solid Black colored one, and that one did not feature a maple cap. In the Peavey lineup, the solid black and solid white Standards did not have a maple cap, while the transparent finishes, the gold-top, and the seafoam all had maple caps. So, when comparing the new Specials to the Peavey Standards, if you find something about the tone is missing between the two, and you are comparing the new Special against one of the maple capped Peavey standards, that's probably it.

    At the end of the day though, they are going to sound different anyway due to the different pickups and electronics, so what really matters is if you like the tone of the new Special. If just knowing that the maple veneer is just there for looks bothers you, then you may want to factor that into your decision. I generally tend to gravitate to solid colors nowadays anyway, so no big deal to me. Personally, I do have a problem with any guitar that uses a maple veneer. I know it's just a hang up that I have, but I feel like unless the maple that I'm seeing in some way contributes to the tone of the guitar, it's kind of useless, and a little bit like false advertising to the less informed buyer.

    The other distinctions between the Peavey and the new Special is the Chrome vs. Black hardware, the back tilt on the headstock, and the neck shape. Chrome vs. Black is just a visual preference. I also consider the back tilt on the headstock a visual preference thing too on the Floyd equipped guitars, since anything past the locking nut does not contribute to tuning stability, which is really the whole purpose of the back tilt. The neck shape is the other construction difference that may matter to you as far as playability.

    Just another quick difference about the neck between the two. The Peaveys had a figured maple neck and fretboard, where the new Specials do not. I would say that is just a visual difference, but it could also be a construction difference worth considering. Since the figuring in the maple is actually a deformity in the wood, it can lead to instability in the neck, although I've never heard of this being an issue on the Peavey Wolfs, probably due to the two graphite reinforcing rods in the neck. The un-figured maple should prove to be more stable.
    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobozos View Post
    The new Specials use a carved basswood body with a maple veneer, where the Peavey Wolfgang Standard used a true maple cap.
    Interesting, didn't know they could do carved veneers. You're absolutely right though, Fender originally described it as a "Arch Top Basswood Body" with "3A Maple Top" in their dealer announcement. That makes sense, as my Peavey Wolfgang I've loved for 10 years is a Black standard, so they're both really all basswood guitars. The MIM Special just has the veneer. That said, I may have gotten lucky but I've never seen a veneer with the depth of my MIM Special. It looks awesome and 3D in person.





    But I guess this is all irrelevant for SDZ, as he's considering a Stealth.

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    If I were to get a new Special, I would get the Stealth, mainly because of the black hardware. I know if I got a Gloss Black or Vintage White, the black hardware would drive me nuts until I changed it. With the Stealth, to me anyway, it looks right where the others look wrong.
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    ^^^ Love that bird's eye view of your Wolf !!!!
    The action looks amazing . Sweet pedal board too
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobozos View Post
    I guess it depends on whether or not you like vintage sized frets or jumbo frets. The Stainless frets are nice, but they are small. I know it took me a while to get used to them. The great thing about the Stainless frets is that they always feel slick and polished. Bends are effortless. You also get a lot more life out of them. The downside to them is when they do need attention, you need to find someone who is willing to dull their files on them. But to answer your question, if you want the stainless frets, yes, you would need to get the new body if you want the carved top, and the old Special neck to get the Stainless frets.

    As far as the paint goes, I'm not sure how much I really buy into all of the hype about the thin skin paint and the unpainted cavities. Does it make a difference in the tone? I'm sure it probably does. Can most average people hear it? Probably not. Like I said earlier, the Peavey Wolfgangs didn't have these features, and they are great guitars. More than likely, the paint thing was probably more based in trying to develop some kind of marketing strategy to differentiate the EVH Wolfgang from the previous Peavey Wolfgang, than it was about any real tonal advantage. Sure, thinner paint should lead to increased resonance and less damping of the wood's vibration, and the unpainted cavities should let the wood age, but the more gain you pile onto the signal in your amplification, the less all that stuff matters.
    That's a great assessment. I like how you weighed the pros and cons here.
    I've thought about it too. I'm not in the market for one right now, but this helped a lot.
    My take on how you approached your response is this:
    Stainless Steel Frets: Meh...I couldn't care less. They're smooth, and last a long time, but honestly, I like the way conventional frets wear, and conform to your playing. It aids in that "broken in" feel, and what makes a guitar your own.

    Non tilt headstock:Not a deal breaker either. With a locking guitar, it makes no difference at all, and from my perspective is just a classic cosmetic nod to say a Gibson, or Gretsch. Adds class, but not essential. Actually usually stronger, and resistant to breakage.

    Finish/Painted cavities: This describes about 95% if not more (if you include actual sealing, but no actual paint) of the guitars on the market....Again, not a deal breaker. Frankly, the more sealed a guitar is, the less prone it is to moisture intrusion which can cause some problems in the right climate, such as a duller less articulate tone.

    When I used to build, we made sure that our body blanks and neck woods were at around 7% moisture content. Kind of a sweet spot.
    There's also the reality that old guitars often sound better, are more percussive, and sustain better simply because over a long period of time, the wood has actually "seasoned", and shed internal moisture content which takes a long period of time through a proper finish.
    You can see it clearly in most vintage lacquer finishes. In addition to grain sinking, you will also see depressions in the pulpy areas of the wood if you hold the guitar up to a direct light source.
    It doesn't absorb moisture as easily in a typical environment, because the periods of high humidity are relatively short, and don't have time to penetrate it.

    If you have an unfinished, or unsealed piece of wood, the grain is much more susceptable to humidity, and will wick it from the surface.
    it's more complex than that, but in a nutshell, sealed is generally better than unsealed in theory.
    One of my favorite guitars to play is a 40 yr. old beater that sounds simply amazing. It's from the 70's, kinda dated looking, but it just has the most amazing tone and response to your playing. I'd never consider refinishing it. Why screw with a good thing?
    And wasn't there actually some early reports of small cracks forming in the unsealed cavities in some areas? I seem to recall a guy in Arizona was real angry because he had a crack show up through to the top from inside the control cavity. That would piss me off if I dropped $3.000.00 on a guitar!

    Chinese made pickups: I don't know how close they are to the US spec., and I DO have a loyalty to domestic labor, but again, for me personally...As I usually change out pickups in most guitars I buy to tailor them to my own preference, it's no big deal at all, but that would be my only real issue.

    I think overall they are a pretty damn nice guitar really. A case would be appreciated, and I think the price warrants it.
    I was surprised when you said the new ones didn't come with one included.
    My only real bitch about them I'd have to say.
    Last edited by we die young; 04.08.15 at 09:38 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brn5150 View Post
    If you can do without the "Stealth" finish, I have a brand new Peavey Special in black for sale. I also have a brand new EVH American in Ivory. I would rather give a member a better deal than feeBay. No joke, they are both brand new. Ill let the EVH go for silly cheap. (No they aren't hot. LOL)

    Well yeah I really like the Stealth, I also live in Canada and would order here locally.Thanks anyhow!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedi McFly View Post
    Interesting, didn't know they could do carved veneers. You're absolutely right though, Fender originally described it as a "Arch Top Basswood Body" with "3A Maple Top" in their dealer announcement. That makes sense, as my Peavey Wolfgang I've loved for 10 years is a Black standard, so they're both really all basswood guitars. The MIM Special just has the veneer. That said, I may have gotten lucky but I've never seen a veneer with the depth of my MIM Special. It looks awesome and 3D in person.








    But I guess this is all irrelevant for SDZ, as he's considering a Stealth.

    Awesome how old is this one?

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    I guess I'm wondering if the price difference is worth it?

 

 

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