JEFF SHATTUCK MUSIC

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• The new EVH Wolfgang. I want one, though I am pretty far from being a shredder.

At 45, I'm the perfect age to have heard Van Halen's first album in the best possible context. Because when Eruption, Running With The Devil, You Really Got, Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love and other tracks all started blasting forth from the radio and my home stereo pretty much constantly, it was fresh. Wait, make that FRESH. Even FRESH. I had NEVER heard anything like it, not even close. And by IT I mean Eddie Van Halen's guitar playing. To this day, no new pop sound has ever floored me the way Halen did.

Moreover, not only did Eddie Van Halen re-invent guitar playing, he also re-invented the guitar itself. After Van Halen, the notion that you needed an expensive guitar built by craftsmen in order to be a real Player melted like a tube in Eddie's sweating Marshall (oh, he reinvented amps, too). No, after Van Halen, all you needed was parts, because you were going to build the guitar yourself.

So when I read on CNN that Eddie Van Halen had finally designed a production guitar -- called the Wolfgang -- that truly reflected his knowhow, skill and creativity, I headed straight for fender.com (Fender makes EVH gear) and read all about it. Now, EVH has put his name on guitars before -- various Kramers, EVH stuff -- but it was always more of a cosmetic effort, I felt, than a true expression of Eddie-ness. Not the EVH Wolfgang. Read all about it here -- the woods, the low-friction pots, the raw neck, the stainless steel frets and more -- and even if you're not a guitar player, if you just appreciate well built stuff, you will get goosebumps. Damn, I mean, the only guitar I've really wanted for several years now, is some form of Telecaster, but the EVH Wolfgang just got added to my list, albeit in second place.

Way to go Eddie.

(Oh, and for the CNN, click here.)