Some Random But Good EVH Stuff

May 26, 2011 | By | 3 Replies More

EVH_studio_2011_woodplexi_smallNice weather here in Jersey, finally, feels like Friday, like I should be typing this with a beer next to me. It’s all putting me in the mood for Van Halen’s sunny SoCal music.

So while I let ‘er rip on the stereo computer, here’s some fun EVH stuff for ya.

And of course, while fun, there’s some VH gear notes, including some “almost from the horse’s mouth” info about the Van Halen I signal chain.

Ed Used the Grail on New VH

Dave Freidman of Rack Systems restored Ed’s #1 Marshall lead (aka, “the grail”) for use on the new VH album. There have been several posts by Dave himself about this on various forums, including this one:

I restored it and Ed said it now sounds like it used to [back] in the day.

Sweet! If I remember right, that restoration entailed using some vintage parts taken from other vintage amps…worth it for “the man”….

Now, I believe the grail was used on every album and he does have the 5150 III amp he’s pushing now and also using/used for the new album. So not sure if we can expect gorgeous woody tone like on the first 4 albums in particular, but no doubt it will be a good tone regardless.

Wooden Plexi Not the Grail…

…but here it is in the 5150 control room:


It’s always been one of Ed’s faves, and here’s what Dave Freidman said about it:

I worked on the wood amp also. Stock ’68-’70 [Marshall] spec. Different than the 12-series [circuit of Ed’s grail plexi]. Really stock. Sounds great. He likes that amp also.

He added:

> Any old, great Super Lead with a Variac and the right tubes will get you close [to Ed’s early tone].

> On record he always used the main 12-series amp. Amp into one [4×12] cab.

The VH I Signal Chain

Lots of EVH fans love the world-changing geetar tone on the first album. I do too, but not more than the next three. Anyhow, while the debate has raged (in some cases) for decades about what exactly was used, here’s what Freidman posted on it:

Rudy Leiren [Ed’s tech in the early days] told me personally. Flange [MXR Flanger], Phase [Phase 90], Echoplex into a Marshall [the grail] with Variac to 90 [he writes 91 in another post] into only one cab [4×12].

The Univox echo or whatever was only patched into the chain for “Eruption” – he also used an EQ for “Eruption.”

EQ was also occasionally used for tone-shaping with amps that did not sound as good.

This was the core setup. As more volume was needed, more amps were added and more cabs but still only one [cab] per amp. There really is nothing more to it [other than] lots of sustain and feedback from the sheer volume of it all.

Now Ed was always experimenting and still does to this day, so there might have been some mishaps along the way like tubes melting, etc. No lying, just things not explained the right way [in interviews] out of a lack of technical knowledge [on Ed’s part].

One Reason I’ll Never Sound Like EVH

Here’s a photo posted by Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready on May 12. What do you see?


Look at Ed’s RIGHT HAND! The guy could break Superman’s hand with a handshake.

No, it’s not a trick of the camera, he’s not closer to the camera – he just has huge mitts. Two paws like that can (and do) strangle guitars like I’ll never be able to do.

The man!


Before VHI was recorded. Enjoy!

Category: Dave Freidman, Echoplex, Edward Van Halen, Marshall, MXR

Comments (3)

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  1. E. Heisenberg says:

    Very, very good post! Thanks! Any stuff/news about EVH is welcome. It may seem strange or paradoxical, but the truth is that EVH is the most underrated guitarist in the world, all times…

  2. Chris says:

    Great post!! Thanks

  3. steveboy70 says:

    Thanks for keeping us info’d with all the tidbits of EVH.

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