Review: EVH 5150 Series Standard

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Review: EVH 5150 Series Standard

EVH 5150

EVH 5150 Series Standard | Fender Music Australia | RRP $1,999

The EVH 5150 Series expands with the feisty, eye-catching EVH Yellow 5150 Series Standard electric guitar. The 5150 series as a whole pay homage to the man himself, Eddie Van Halen, featuring a unique, super-Strat style body shape and “hockey stick” headstock, colour matched to the body, in this case in “EVH Yellow”. A Floyd Rose tremolo system, locking nut and dual direct-mount EVH Wolfgang humbucking pickups offer a range of tones. The EVH Standard Series joins Wolfgang, Frankie and Shark body shapes for a huge range of options for every player, the range most likely having a few options for everyone, so much so that it might be difficult to choose!

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Eddie Van Halen has his own legacy of unique sounds, techniques and tones, built on the back of his constant modifications to his instruments. The 5150 Series Standard encapsulates some of these mods, like a kill-switch and the absence of a pickguard to get everything but the guitar’s tone out of the way! A solid build, bolt-on neck for a controlled sound and locking tuning system make this a formidable instrument to join you on stage. Van Halen’s preferences for body shape shifted throughout his career, the 5150 shape being a streamlined, modern Strat style electric built for maximum speed while flying over the fretboard.

The 5150 Series Standard is a basswood-bodied, six-string electric guitar. It has a quartersawn maple neck and an ebony fretboard, the 22 jumbo frets with cream dot inlays. It has a 25.5” scale length, so will be familiar to standard super-Strat and Strat players, while the compound (12″-16″) radius fretboard helps bends further up the neck, while still having a modern, flatter feel at lower notes. The Wolfgang humbucking pickups feature Alnico 2 pickups, offering warm, gritty tones with a distinct voice depending on either the neck or bridge position selected, offering a wide array of tones. The humbuckers can be toggled between with a three way toggle switch located on the upper horn, again, out of the way of your picking hand but close enough for easy access when going for a solo or falling back into rhythm! The killswitch is a cool addition, its bright red button allowing stutter and mute effects, a favourite of Eddie’s, but often at the mercy of a toggle switch.

The EVH-branded top-mount Floyd Rose bridge is “dive bomb certified”, and the addition of an EVH D-Tuna allows you to switch easily between standard and drop tunings without having to adjust or re-set your Floyd rose. The 5150 Series is all built for gigging and performing, with some super practical additions like the aforementioned D-Tuna, a heel-mount truss rod adjustment wheel, the maple neck also reinforced with graphite to assist in fluctuations in temperature that’s so often associated with travelling for gigs.

In the hands the 5150 Series Standard feels great, is streamlined and has everything you need to be comfortable playing. The neck has an EVH Modified “C” Backshape, which feels comfortable and modern without being overtly flat or thin like some super-Strats can be. The compound radius helps, subtly shifting the playability without you really feeling the shift, techniques like bending and vibrato just feel easy on this guitar. The cutaways of the body themselves help with access as well, all the way up the 22 frets (and beyond in Eddie’s case!) The dual Wolfgang humbucker provide a nice contrast to each other, while also having a cohesive tonality, the middle position being an entirely usable tone, for lack of a better word. The middle position on some other guitars can feel like a muddy mess of elements of both humbuckers, losing the clarity of the bridge position but adding the weight of the neck, converging into something not super pleasant. Not the 5150 Series Standard though, the middle position bolstering a fat, warm bluesy tone of the neck humbucker with the bite and snarl of the bridge. Subtle additions like a low-friction volume pot and high friction tone pot allow you to shape and refine the sounds of the humbuckers even before your pedals and amp take over! The killswitch is fun, practical for when feedback begins to take off, as well as providing a platform for muted, stuttering effects, while the D-Tuna offer flexibility for different tunings throughout your set.

EVH 5150 2

The 5150 Series Standard, finished in this awesome EVH Yellow, makes for a great playing experience. From the well-rounded and thought out hardware layout to the refined neck and body build, as well as solid electronics with some unique additions to access them. The kill-switch, D-Tuna and body shape are classic EVH, while the compound radius, Floyd Rose tremolo and locking system are a culmination of the best specs for hard rock and metal. The EVH Series Standard as a whole exhibits the modifications and additions Eddie made to his own guitars, with extended playability and design to the guitars from the factory, allowing access to the full range of frets easily, all amplified via some great sounding humbuckers. An instant classic, the EVH Series Standard brings a few tried and true design elements to the stable, coupled with modern playability and Eddie’s own unique requirements.

For more info, visit EVH.