Eddie Van Halen’s 1958 Fender Stratocaster

Very little is known about this guitar, aside from what was said by Eddie in a few interviews where he mentioned it. According to him, he used this guitar briefly, before Van Halen formed, but the rest of the band didn’t like the sound of it, so he ended up selling it.

So I bought a ’58 Strat years ago when we played high school dances, and Dave and Al just turned and started throwing sticks at me! They said, “Don’t use that guitar — it sounds to thin!” You know, single-coil pickups. They had a real buzzy, thin sound unless I used a fuzz box, and that’s even worse. So I sold that and then two years later I bought a router and dumped a Gibson PAF pickup into a ’61 Strat. It got very close. All of a sudden the band said, “That’s okay, It doesn’t sound like a Strat anymore.”

Young Wizard of Power Rock” By: Jas Obrecht Guitar Player (April 1980)

In a later interview regarding this Frankenstein guitar, Eddie noted that he used a tremolo from a ’58 Stratocaster on the earlier incarnation of the guitar. This would mean that even though he sold the ’58, he somehow kept the tremolo.

Unfortunately, we don’t know whether he sold the guitar “as is” with the tremolo missing, or if he installed something else on it. It’s also possible that this was a case of Eddie misremembering details, and that he actually used a ’61 tremolo on Frankie, from his second Stratocaster.


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