Eddie Van Halen’s Petschulat Little Guitar (#13)

Eddie bought this guitar for $1,100 in 1981 from David Petschulat, the guitar’s maker. Based on David’s story, this happened in Nashville, before a Van Halen concert. Based on tour dates, the band played the Nashville Municipal Auditorium on August 30, 1981.

According to David, he met Eddie while the band was waiting for a ride on a side of a street. Initially, David planned to go to the concert venue where the band was playing and present the guitar to Eddie, but he couldn’t get past security.

I’m walking down the street and spot Eddie, Alex, and one of their crew sitting on some steps waiting for a ride. I walked up quickly, opening the case before I arrived to make sure I didn’t get shoo’d away before he saw it. He saw it, and the vibe of the day changed quickly.

He loved it, and immediately took it out the case and tried it. He hustled us all to venue to run it through his rig, and there backstage, he bought that one, and contracted me to make him another one.

Small Is The New BIG: How 3/4 Size Guitars Are Currently Reshaping The Sonic Landscape

Little Guitar (Diver Down)

Most famously, Eddie used this guitar on the song Little Guitar from the band’s 1982 album, Diver Down. The song’s title was, obviously, inspired by the fact that it was in fact played on a little guitar, a mini version of a Les Paul.

And the song is titled this because its played on a copy of a Les Paul three inches longer than your forearm to the tip of your finger so you could put the whole thing in your pocket if you wanted to. It makes a very distinctive sound- different from your traditional rock axe. I got the idea for the song from the acoustic part. It sounded Mexican to me, so I wrote a song for a Señorita.

David Lee Roth

Eddie used the mini Les Paul extensively in 1982 during the Hide Your Sheep tour in support of the Diver Down release, as well as in 1983 and 1984. Basically, he used it whenever he played the song live.


Eddie’s little guitar, serial number 13, featured a faded burst finish on a bird’s eye maple top with a mahogany back, a maple neck, and two custom-made mini-humbuckers. According to David, it also had a built-in speaker, which Eddie apparently loved.

Eddie’s LP’s (#13) contained a small battery-operated practice amp & speaker – it was on when the volume knob was pulled and bypassed when the knob was pushed down. Valerie Bertinelli, Eddie’s wife at the time, said he loved it and “practically took it in the shower with him.”

Small Is The New BIG: How 3/4 Size Guitars Are Currently Reshaping The Sonic Landscape


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