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  1. #1
    Good Enough 5150rob's Avatar
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    Default EVH Mexican Archtop Specials

    Hey guys,

    anyone here played or purchased one of the newer Mexican Archtop Wolf EVH special guitars? These are the ones with the black hardware. I gotta say I have been eyeing these for a while now and I really like the tops on them with the black hardware..... kinda a neat transition. Other than the black hardware they sort of remind me of the PV Wolfgang guitars.

    my question is, what are your thoughts on them as far as cosmetics and playability? What do you guys think of the necks on them? Are they better or equal or less quality than the other specials (japan flat tops)? Seem to be a good price for an archtop I guess. Been thinking about pulling the trigger on one of the tobacco ones.

    what are your thoughts on them?

    Rob

  2. #2
    Whoa, this is heavy! Jedi McFly's Avatar
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    Here's my review from this thread a little over a year ago. This guitar has been my primary gigging axe for the past year now, and it has not dissapointed me. I'd still like to swap out at least the bridge pickup, as I don't think it has the same charm as the USA Wolfgang pickups I have installed in other guitars and had in a MIJ Special.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jedi McFly View Post
    NGD (or week, rather?) I received my new MIM EVH Wolfgang Special on Wednesday and have been playing it like crazy since the minute I opened the box. Here's my review, a quick clip, and a few pics. I tried to be thorough, but feel free to ask any questions I may have missed.

    Fit and Finish

    • Superb. The cavities are painted, unlike the previous Specials and the USA models. But the finish on this guitar is stunning, the top is beautiful, and the D-Tuna recess makes the device much more usable.
    • This is the Three Tone Cherry Burst model. The top and stain on this is ridiculous in person. The pictures on the EVH Gear and Guitar Center websites suck, they make the three tones of the burst seem to be very separate when in reality they’re blended quite nicely.


    Playability

    • Out of the box the guitar comes with 9’s and medium-height action. This got me through two dress rehearsals and one performance no problem. But I switched it to 10’s and made a few tweaks to increase playability...
    • How the neck is seated is an adjustment I’ve made on each EVH Wolfgang I’ve had my hands on. They all require two things:


    1. The slightest shim possible. I take a business card, cut about 1/4” off the end, round the edges and make a spot for the lower neck screw. This lets it sight nicely in the bottom of the neck pocket and angles the neck ever so slightly to allow for better action. (I don’t recommend doing this with anything thicker than a business card. If a more radical adjustment is needed make a full neck pocket shim).
    2. Pulling the neck towards the bass side. Simply hold the guitar in a manner that allows you to put pressure on the treble side of the neck while you’re bolting it back on. This helps move the high E string a bit away from the end of the fretboard, causing less slippage.

    Now this thing plays like butter. Nice low action with minimal/acceptable buzz.

    Tone

    Acoustically it sounds incredibly well balanced. Plugged in I believe it’s missing a tiny bit of the typical EVH magic. I’m very familiar with the EVH Wolfgang pickups, as I’ve got them in my 2 main partscasters and I had them in the MIJ Special I owned for a while. While I think these pickups are probably 90% of the way there, they may be a tad bit different. I haven’t taken them off the guitar yet to measure and confirm that, but it’s my gut feeling from my ears. They may be overseas pickups made to the same/similar spec as the US made pickups, like the “BJK” ones mentioned in another thread. Either way, they still sound great and are nothing to be disappointed about.

    The Little Things

    • The pickup switch was wired reverse for a Wolfgang, like a standard Les Paul would be (bridge down, neck up). I had to open up the switch cavity open and reverse it.
    • The new switch tip is a sort of trapezoidal shape. It seems to be some sort of metal and feels like a nice durable piece of hardware. I switch pickups a lot when playing, and while this switch tip looks super cool the sharp edges were a bit abrasive on my right hand. I might just be a sissy, and it may round out over time, but I swapped it with a standard switch tip.
    • Interestingly, the nut is shimmed from the factory, and the shim is a bit taller than the nut is, so you see some of it when looking directly at the headstock. I’ve never seen that on a Wolfgang before.
    • My neck heel has “US” written in pencil on it…hmm?


    Overall/Conclusion

    On paper I felt this guitar would be missing a few things compared to the MIJ/MIC models, most notably the Stainless Steel Frets, the birdseye maple, and the case. After tweaking the setup and putting it through its paces at several rehearsals and performances I can easily say that I’ve ended up with the superior guitar. The neck is silky smooth, the larger frets are more comfortable to play on, and the arched top (including D-Tuna recess) just makes the guitar feel classier to me. Since it's more like my Peavey it's a bit more “homey” to me.

    Attachment 2620
    Attachment 2621
    Attachment 2622
    And here are two videos recorded at home with my 5150iii. These were faux audition videos I did as a favor for my buddy's entertainment company.


    Last edited by Jedi McFly; 01.15.16 at 06:14 AM.

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  4. #3
    Atomic Punk RRvh1's Avatar
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    Great playing chops and awesome sounding rig, as usual!!!
    Fantastic job, Jedi! You have a lot of fun while you're playing. Those hands of yours have the "X" factor for sure. Effortless looking technique.

    Kudos.
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  6. #4
    Good Enough 5150rob's Avatar
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    great and helpful review Jedi... thanks

    Rob

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  8. #5
    Romeo Delight
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    I picked up the MIM model about a month ago and I really like it. The feel is great and it sounds fantastic through my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp. I have two Telecasters and a Les Paul but am really enjoying the tremolo bar which I haven't used in many years.
    For the price you can't beat it. It looks sharp and plays great with one exception...

    One issue I'm having is the high E string... It tends to slip off of the neck which was a big problem for me at first. I've had to adjust my playing a bit and be mindful if I'm playing a lick using the high E. I almost returned the guitar because of it. I'm using the stock 9's but will probably change to 10's once I make a string change.

    I read a review a while ago and the person had the same issue.

    Jedi,
    Will you expand a bit on the fix you explained? It seems to me the the neck should be pushed down to add more neck surface below the high E. Maybe I'm confused....

    Thanks!
    Last edited by trendsetter; 01.17.16 at 11:24 AM.

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    Eruption
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    Quote Originally Posted by trendsetter View Post
    I picked up the MIM model about a month ago and I really like it. The feel is great and it sounds fantastic through my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp. I have two Telecasters and a Les Paul but am really enjoying the tremolo bar which I haven't used in many years.
    For the price you can't beat it. It looks sharp and plays great with one exception...

    One issue I'm having is the high E string... It tends to slip off of the neck which was a big problem for me at first. I've had to adjust my playing a bit and be mindful if I'm playing a lick using the high E. I almost returned the guitar because of it. I'm using the stock 9's but will probably change to 10's once I make a string change.

    I read a review a while ago and the person had the same issue.

    Jedi,
    Will you expand a bit on the fix you explained? It seems to me the the neck should be pushed down to add more neck surface below the high E. Maybe I'm confused....

    Thanks!
    What you do is loosen the neck bolts just a little and stick your right elbow in between the neck and lower horn while putting pressure on the neck to move it to the left. While doing that, tighten the neck bolts. It will move the neck to give a little more wood below the high E string. First time I saw it done, I couldn't believe it. But it works.

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  11. #7
    Atomic Punk RRvh1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Lee View Post
    What you do is loosen the neck bolts just a little and stick your right elbow in between the neck and lower horn while putting pressure on the neck to move it to the left. While doing that, tighten the neck bolts. It will move the neck to give a little more wood below the high E string. First time I saw it done, I couldn't believe it. But it works.
    A very worthwhile tip/trick for sure.
    Thanks, Jedi & Rick!
    "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

  12. #8
    Whoa, this is heavy! Jedi McFly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Lee View Post
    What you do is loosen the neck bolts just a little and stick your right elbow in between the neck and lower horn while putting pressure on the neck to move it to the left. While doing that, tighten the neck bolts. It will move the neck to give a little more wood below the high E string. First time I saw it done, I couldn't believe it. But it works.
    Yup, nailed it.

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    I've played the new Specials in my buddy's guitar shop. It's a really nice guitar on it's own, but you really have to decide if you like the guitar as it stands and not compare it to other versions. On it's own, I would say it's well worth the money.

    If you want my opinion on how it compares to the flat-top version of the Special, well then it gets a little more complicated. There are things about it that are lacking when compared to the previous version. The neck, while comfortable, is shaped differently than the flat-top. The cavities are painted on the new Special, so that whole story about the wood being able to "Breathe" and age is right out the window with this one. No big deal, since the Peaveys never had that, but it's a difference between advertised selling points of the previous Special. The other is the Flat-Top had the "thin skin" paint, which was supposed to help with resonance and tone. The new model is your standard thick poly finish (again, like the Peavey model) The pickups are MIC, and not USA model Wolfgang pickups like on the Flat-Top version. They also went from vintage sized stainless frets to medium jumbo nickel. Last but not least, the new version does not come with a hardshell case.

    Another detail is the top. While the carved top on the new Special is nice, and seductive, it is different than the carved top on the USA or the Peavey. It' a little flatter over the majority of the surface instead of a round carve. No big deal, but it's not the same. Still a pretty sexy looking body.

    If none of that bothers you, I would say to go for it. I had a flat-top Wolf Special, and considered trading it for the new one before I had a chance to investigate the differences. After discovering what the differences were, I decided to stick with the flat-top version. Two major things for me that I couldn't get over was the black hardware and the lack of a hardshell case. I actually kind of liked the larger frets, and it didn't matter to me that they weren't stainless.

    I don't have a Wolf right now, because i traded it for a 1993 Blackie Strat, but if I were in the market to buy one, It's tough to say which I would choose. I guess it depends on the price. The new Special is visually stunning for sure. It is a better looking guitar than the flat-top version, but you do give up some things for looks. It just depends on what's important to you.
    "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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  15. #10
    Eruption
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    I'm very happy with my MIC Wolf Stealth. I've played it in comparison to a new MIM Wolfgang and I prefer the flat top with the smaller stainless frets. I plan on picking up a Tobacco burst while they're still cheap on the used market.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Lee View Post
    What you do is loosen the neck bolts just a little and stick your right elbow in between the neck and lower horn while putting pressure on the neck to move it to the left. While doing that, tighten the neck bolts. It will move the neck to give a little more wood below the high E string. First time I saw it done, I couldn't believe it. But it works.
    Thanks! I'll give it a try ASAP...

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    Wow, that didn't take long!

    I made the correction and so far, no slippage....

    I have zero complaints about this guitar now......I think it's a great price for the quality. (I got $150 off on black Friday too)

    Thanks a lot guys, I really appreciate the tip!

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    Good Enough 5150rob's Avatar
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    I just snagged one off eBay last night (archtop tobacco special basically brand new) for 575 total. Even comes with a hard shell case.

    I got a steal on it I think

    Rob

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    Whoa, this is heavy! Jedi McFly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5150rob View Post
    I just snagged one off eBay last night (archtop tobacco special basically brand new) for 575 total. Even comes with a hard shell case.

    I got a steal on it I think

    Rob
    That's a *killer* deal. Nice score, Rob!

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  21. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5150rob View Post
    I just snagged one off eBay last night (archtop tobacco special basically brand new) for 575 total. Even comes with a hard shell case.

    I got a steal on it I think

    Rob
    Great stuff, Rob!
    Hope it's going to work well for you. Try and show us your new "baby" when it arrives.

    Kudos.
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