HomeMusicThe Origin of the Striped Design of Eddie Van Halen's Frankenstrat

The Origin of the Striped Design of Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstrat

picture: Invoice O’Leary
A lot has been mentioned about probably the most well-known guitars in rock historical past – Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstrat, which made its first look on the quilt of Van Halen’s traditional self-titled debut (using white and black colours, earlier than a paintjob added purple to the equation), and would ultimately spark off a craze of different guitarists assembling their very own devices out of varied components and distinctive appears.

And in my new e book, Iconic Guitar Gear, EVH knowledgeable/former Guitar World editor Brad Tolinski (who can also be the writer of the e book, Eruption: Conversations with Eddie Van Halen), totally analyzes when and the way the legendary guitarist assembled his now-instantly identifiable axe.

However maybe most fascinating of all, Tolinski defined the way it was in all probability not only a completely happy accident regarding how Eddie got here up with the seminal design on his Frankenstrat. The primary potential inspiration stretches again to the place the Van Halen brothers unique hail from. “How he really got here up with the precise thought…I’ve just a few concepts about it. One is – which is fascinating to me, and if it is true then it was a unconscious form of factor – there’s a motion of artwork and design known as De Stijl, that really began in Holland within the Netherlands.”

“And there have been artists like [Piet] Mondrian who turned massively celebrated. And De Stijl is principally these work that have been created through the use of main colours at onerous angles. Among the artwork was simply purple squares on white backgrounds or black stripes. However should you go have a look at these De Stijl work, you may instantly get the vibe of Ed’s guitar. So, to me, that was form of a captivating factor. As a result of Ed lived in Holland till he was seven or eight, there was no approach he did not see that as a part of the Dutch tradition – this portray and this artwork. So, I believe among the inspiration and aesthetic of that guitar simply comes from that.”

Secondly, Tolinski theorizes the affect of the Van Halen household’s relocation to California when Eddie and Alex Van Halen have been nonetheless youngsters performed an element, as nicely. “I believe one other fascinating and funky factor is that he grew up in Pasadena, proper? Pasadena was an enormous middle for decent rods – for making sizzling rods and making customized automobiles. There have been children actually engaged on their entrance lawns with their automobiles – spray-painting sizzling rods, pinstriping them themselves. All types of issues.”

“And I believe Ed, additionally – possibly not consciously – he was a automobile freak, so undoubtedly he was conscious of this. Possibly the entire notion of taking your guitar and ‘sizzling rodding it,’ and portray it and rearranging it…he would see these children all over, taking their automobiles and modifying them – pulling out exhaust pipes and placing new ones in, or altering the tires or the engine, or repainting them. Does not that sound acquainted to you? Does not that sound like what Ed was doing along with his guitar? So, I am unable to assist however suppose that in the entire course of of making your individual guitar, it may need come from being uncovered to the Pasadena and LA sizzling rod tradition. I consider that there is one thing to do with that.”

And whereas Van Halen would ultimately turn into most aligned with heavy steel and enviornment (stadium?) rock, it was one other rock subgenre that reared its head within the mid-70s that additionally could have impressed Eddie, too. “After which, lastly, I do not know what to think about this but it surely’s an fascinating story – we contact on this in Eruption – however proper across the time Ed was creating his guitar, he, Al, and Dave would go to the golf equipment in LA. And so they form of dug punk rock. They have been curious a minimum of.”

“You all the time hear that Ed mentioned, ‘Effectively, ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love’ was a tribute to our model of a punk rock music.’ And so they even went to I believe it was the Whisky dressed up as punks one evening. And there was this band taking part in on the time known as the Dils. And the guitarist of the Dils [Chip Kinman] had a white Les Paul, and he adorned it with black electrical tape. For those who see photos of him and also you see the guitar, you may see it instantly as one thing that was not fairly as fascinating or as dimensional as what Ed did, however very comparable. And Van Halen did see the Dils.”

“So, it could possibly be a bizarre mixture of all these issues. Like, one thing about what the Dils guitarist did may need appealed to him, and possibly it obtained triggered by the De Stijl work that he noticed as a baby, and combined with somewhat little bit of Pasadena sizzling rod tradition. For Ed himself, he would simply say he thought it was a cool thought.”

“I by no means noticed him draw something, so I do not suppose he was a painter or something. Nevertheless it was one thing he might do – stripes. It is one thing he might make to jazz up his guitar – he clearly wished it to look totally different, sound totally different, and really feel totally different. So, I do not know the place it got here from precisely and Ed can be extremely imprecise about it – as a result of I do not suppose he took it immediately from something. However should you take all of those components and mix them collectively, you in all probability have one thing near the place he obtained it.”

Greg Prato is a longtime AllMusic contributor. Iconic Guitar Gear is his thirty sixth e book total.

Iconic Guitar Gear



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