Summary of Eddie Van Halen’s Equipment
As far as electric guitars, the best-known piece of Eddie’s gear is definitely his Frankenstein guitar, which he built himself around 1976. During the early years, this was Eddie’s main guitar, especially for live performances. Aside from that one, he also used an Ibanez Destroyer, later named “Shark”, to record a good part of the first Van Halen album.
Around 1979, he built the Bumblebee, a guitar that he used for most of the Van Halen II tour. In 1981 Eddie got his first endorsement deal with Kramer, which resulted in the Kramer 5150 guitar that became his main. In 1991 he switched to Ernie Ball/Music Man and designed a completely new guitar, named the Music Man EVH. A couple of years later he switched to Peavey guitars, and in 2001 he finally joined Fender guitars. During his last years, Eddie played the EVH Wolfgang model and the Fender Custom Shop replica of the original Frankenstein guitar.
Regarding acoustics, Eddie rarely ever picked up one. In a 1980 interview, he was even quoted saying that he never even owned a steel-string guitar at that point.
It’s a similar story when it comes to effects. Eddie never used a distortion or an overdrive pedal. But he did use an MXR Phaser and a Flanger extensively, and occasionally a Wah pedal later on.
For amps, Eddie relied heavily on his 1960s Marshall Super Lead 1959. He used this amp on most of his studio recordings. For live performances, he mostly used newer Marshalls or Peavey 5150s. Most recently, he used the EVH 5150III made in collaboration with Fender.
For strings, in the early years, he used the Fender 150XL set (9, 11, 15, 24, 32, 40). In the 80s he made a deal with Earnie Ball, who produced that exact same set for Eddie. Most recently and since he moved to Fender, he used their custom-designed EVH Premium sets.