With the release of the EVH sneakers, the only piece of EVH gear left to see the light of the day – presumably for now – is the Drop To Hell tailpiece, or D2H. Although a few pics of it have been posted on the Internet, no one’s really sure about the whys and whats of the D2H.
So what to do? Read the patent application – whose apparent purpose is to repeat things ad nauseum while never really making clear what the heck the thing is. Anyhow, here are the highlights:
> “An apparatus for adjusting the tension of at least one string of a stringed musical instrument.”
> “The tailpiece includes a lever that can be used to adjust the tension of a guitar string (or, alternatively, multiple guitar strings).”
> “The tension adjustment mechanism may be associated with more than one string, or multiple tension adjustment mechanisms may be included in a single tailpiece assembly.”
> “While various embodiments described herein have generally been discussed in terms of dropping down pitch by decreasing string tension, alternatively such embodiments may be viewed, and utilized, as a tension increasing mechanism, wherein the normal playing pitch is the lower pitch, and the string tension adjustment mechanism is activated to occasionally increase string tension on demand.”
> The application specifically tries to differentiate this from a whammy: “Conventional techniques for adjusting the tension of musical instrument strings may suffer from various drawbacks. For example, with a tremolo bar, the shift in the tension or tone of a string depends upon the amount of physical displacement of the bar, and is therefore relatively imprecise. Also, the tremolo bar generally affects all of the strings simultaneously. In various other techniques, the amount of potential change in the tension of a string may be limited. Also, the mechanism for adjusting the tension of the string may be inconvenient or difficult to use, particularly during live performances or other renditions.”
Pending the official announcement of details from EVH, here’s how I read the application along with looking at the available photos:
1. Right now the D2H is for quickly dropping just the low E string to D or lower, while, thanks to the Floyd nut, keeping the whole guitar in tune.
2. I believe the application mentions the possibility of dropping “multiple guitar strings” (presumably in tune) as legal CYA in case that is possible or desirable, or in case someone decides to make a six-string version of a D2H. But I have to wonder if Gibson, which now owns Steinberger, might take issue with that.
Of course, I could be dead wrong.
Without seeing and hearing what the D2H does, I have to wonder how practical this would be: How many people would want to rout their tailpiece areas to accommodate the D2H and rout their necks for a Floyd nut?
None of this info and speculation explains the why, however. Is Ed all of a sudden going to play multiple songs with one, non-Floyd guitar? (I doubt it, but that could be cool.) If not, couldn’t he just change guitars like he used to for Unchained and the other detuned-low-E tunes?
> Speaking of playing a new type of guitar and possibly writing new types of material, I’ll leave you with this ditty from rollingstone.com: “I’ve got tons of music written, such a variety of stuff,” says Eddie, who thinks some of it may surprise fans. “The essence of me is obviously there, and those drums, they’re always recognizable. But people expect a certain thing from Van Halen, and this isn’t exactly bang-your-head-against-the-wall stuff.” [So I guess another “Loss of Control” ain’t happenin’?]
Category: Edward Van Halen
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