EVH Wolfgang Standard vs Special (WORTH The Price Upgrade?)

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Today I am doing a review on the EVH Wolfgang standard model electric guitar vs the special model of the same brand. As many may know (and as I learned through researching the topic) the EVH in the brand name stands for Eddie Van Halen.

These guitars were pioneered and designed by the rock legend himself Eddie Van Halen; best known for his work in the titular band, Van Halen, this man was an absolute god of rock n roll.

We’re going to cover the body shape, pickups, neck shape, frets, scale length, bridge, tone knobs and weight.

The bodies of the wolfgang standard and special were created exactly to his specifications. As a man so knowledgable about all things musical, these guitars are surely allstars in their class.

They are made to be sturdy, to be absolutely gorgeous, to hold up through the sickest of riffs and above all to be an assault of sound.

We’re going to talk about the guitars and examine what are the attributes and the faults of both to see what is the best fit for nearly any musician (be they novice and seasoned). Without further adieu, let’s get into it. 

If you are in a hurry, here’s a quick comparison:

Pros and Cons

Standard ProsStandard Cons
22 Jumbo fretsNot as flashy
Angled neckA little less sensitive on the tuning knobs
Dual HumbuckersStill a tad expensive
Minimalistic body
Special ProsSpecial Cons
Much more sensitiveMore expensive
More flashy bodyStill not as flashy as some more expensive guitars
Graphite reinforced neck
Quilted top neck

Body

Both the standard wolfgang and the special sport intricate craftsmanship and come in a multitude of colors. Both are absolute knock-outs in terms of look and aesthetic.

Whether you’re taking inspiration from Joan Jett and looking for a beautiful little cherry bomb in obsidian and crimson; or maybe you’re newer generation and looking to kill it on something a little more blue and platinum, wolfgang’s got the guitar for you.

I know this might not make a huge difference to everyone and some people might be thinking I’m just worried about it holding up. I personally have a strong need to feel emotionally empowered with whatever colors I’m rocking in pretty much anything.

Both guitars feature a sturdy bass word body that makes for something strong but also something you can feel the work that went into. Designed for comfort, playability and speed.

The standard rocks a conveniently placed spoke wheel at the base of the neck, making for a quick and painless truss rod adjustments.

It also has the prestige of an oil finish along the back of the guitar. Humbucking pickups on the body allow for better transfer of vibrations when jamming out.

The black knurled tone and volume control knobs were designed and placed according to Eddie Van Halen’s specifications.

The 500k pots feel just like silk and make simple work of finding your own style while “retaining the crisp high-end sparkle of the Wolfgang pickups”.

Both guitars have been heavily tested on the road and on-stage where all their glamour and ruggedness could be shown off to a crowd.

Both guitars are also designed to fit comfortably against the body of the player with the ergonomic build of the body.

Features and Aesthetics

The standard shows off with a quilted maple top to its body, The humbuckers on the body again leaning into the beautiful, earth zeal that the guitar radiates. The Flyod Rose  Special tremolo and locking nut to keep up intonation.

Two dommed, black knobs yield for ultimate volume control and only add and extra bit of edge to the look of the beast. The tremolo’s locking design works to keep your guitar in tune no matter how wild you want to get with your playing.

A transparent finish on the body just piles onto the aesthetic appeal of the Wolfgang standard.

While the design however is so intricate and beautifully wrought, the design also makes for a more minimalistic look that is flattered by the unstained wooden edges. 

The Wolfgang special adds a little more swagger and flare to the immaculate build of the standard body. There are additional controls added to the make of the special that are not part of the package in the standard model.

It includes volume control with a treble bleed circuit and tone control. The special features an arched top to the body of the guitar. This body also features the humbuckers and the spoke wheel at the base of the neck.

The sound on the special is said to a be a lot cleaner and to be built for a lot more devilish riffs in terms of volume and in terms of energy. This body unlike the standard has a hand rubbed urethane finish on the back.

The tremolo of this body features a locking mechanism meant to more easily transition between levels of sound and intonations.

The D-Tuna tunes from drop D and back with all unrelenting accuracy. Finally, the body sports a three toggle switch for further control.

Pickups:

Both guitars feature humbucker pickups mounted right to the body of the instrument. These multi-layered noise canceling machines can go for a lot of money on there own.

I saw this particular brand of humbucker going for upto several hundred dollars just because how good they are at doing their job.

They vary from typical pickups in their double-coiled design and how sturdily they are built. These pickups are perfectly designed to help cancel out any unwanted electrical humming via the two built in coils instead of one.

For the body of the guitar to mount the humbuckers themselves onto the body of the guitar says so much about the quality and build of the guitar. You can get as crazy as you want with those chords without fear of annoying electrical interference.

They are called humbuckers in that they buck out the unruly humming that would otherwise be heard on the amp, interrupting the flow of the fiery strumming.

Whereas on the standard Humbuckers on the standardare mat black and not typically made of metal.

The mounted pickups (also humbuckers) are usually metal and lean more into their metallic nature, sporting that gleaming chrome.

The humbuckers on the special also boast that they are more sensitive to the tuning and thus much more capable of drowning out that excess noise.

Neck Shape, Frets, Scale Length And Bridge :

Both guitars feature the Wolfgang backshape neck shape. Both Feature a comfort cut forearm contour on the body and neck making for a unique playability.

Both also come with a bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforced rods, making for smooth riffs and top of the line sturdiness.

The graphite re-inforcement keeps everything held together tight and prevents the strings from warping in humid conditions.

Both guitars sport a compound radius baked maple fingerboard with rolled edges making for a better fit in the hand, 22 jumbo frets and black dot inlays make the experience all the easier to handle.

The roasting process involved in baking the maple fingerboards removes moisture from the wood and helps making the instrument further resistant to potential warping caused by humidity.

This process of roating the fingerboard also creates brighter, more clear tones in the playing.

Both guitars feature a black headstock with chrome hardware on the standard and black on chrome on the special. The neck lengths of both guitars clock in at a soaring 25.5”.

Whereas, many guitars possess a 24 fret neck, the 22 frets held on the wolfgang models shift the neck slightly further away from the bridge.

This creates a difference in tone that makes a bit warmerof a sound, allowing also for more bends and twists of the hands while performing to add a bit of flare.

The fretboard goes from 12” at the nut to a more manageable 16” radius on the higher frets.

The fretboard edges are again rounded to make for a better grip on the neck, making either instrument a good choice for a new musician. The neck of both are fast and makes for a great grip, but not so large that it will slow you down. 

Unlike in the standard, the special has a quartersawn Maple neck. This not only gives it a more distinguished appearance than plain-sawn necks but also makes it less like to twist, warp or shrink with the ravages of time and wear of extended use. 

Tone knobs:

As with everything else on these beauties, the dynamic tone knobs have been made specifically under Eddie Van Halen’s instruction and tutelage. The dommed knobs are of a sleek black design and intensely sensitive.

The knobs on both guitars are chrome black and made of metal making them sleek but sturdy. The knob on either guitar comes with a number of setting, making higher frequencies on the strings appear and disappear like magic.

Several sources however do say there are a few more gears on the knob of the special, meaning more sounds are more easily possible.

I have also read that the tone knobs of the special are much more sensitive, making it much easier to fine-tune and pioneer your own sound.

Weight:

The weight of either body is very easily portable. The basswood bodies make for a very rugged feel and yes they will be a tad larger than a few other models out there, the maple make of the instruments make for a study yet light carry.

On stage or on the road these are guitars that will hold up without slowing you down at all. The ergonomic design of these bad boys means that not only will playing be a breeze, but taking it to and from your destination with be a thing of ease.

In terms of carrying it from one place to another, taking it from the music store to your set-up will also be easier; because these models are the real deal in terms prestige but they are also considerably cheaper than some models out there on the market.

Along with being a lighter weight, the unique cut of both guitars bodies make for easier playing.

The EVH Wolfgang Standard and Special electric guitars are absolutely beautiful. The come with a sleek and stylish finish. The body of the guitars are genuine wood with a baked maple fingerboard.

The bells and whistles added on to both instruments make them well worth the price tag attached to them. In terms of which guitar is a better buy it really depends on your price tag and level of experience.

If you are a newer player and have a little extra money to burn, I would greatly recommend the Wolfgang special.

More sensitive tuning knobs and the extra dials included in the make of the instrument make it a bit easier to play.

If you are worried about cost and or you are a more experienced musician, then the Wolfgang standard is also a great choice and it has a lot of unique characteristics that make it also a good choice for a new guitarist such as the humbuckers, the jumbo frets and neck made for the perfect grip, along with the spoke wheel.