Review: EVH MIJ Series EVH Signature Wolfgang

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Review: EVH MIJ Series EVH Signature Wolfgang

MIJ EVH Signature Wolfgang
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

MIJ Series EVH Signature Wolfgang | Fender Australia | $4699 (Ivory) & $4499 (Stealth Black)

Eddie Van Halen pioneered the Wolfgang shape, having moved with it through multiple companies before it landed home with EVH Guitars. Combining the best of heavier, more boisterous rock guitars and streamlined, high-performance electrics, there’s not a better match for the new Wolfgang Signature than the masterful builders of Japan.

Read more gear reviews here.

Constructed from a basswood body, the EVH Signature has a quartersawn maple neck and ebony fretboard, the brightness of the fretboard complimenting the warmth and sonic weight of the basswood. To coax a comfortable play, the fretboard features a 12″-16″ compound radius and 22 stainless-steel frets, ensuring your bends feel as smooth as your big chords. All this is complimented by a “dive-bomb” certified EVH-branded top-mount Floyd Rose and finished in either an Ivory (Gloss Urethane) or Stealth Black (Satin Urethane). The Stealth Black features pearloid dot inlays and black hardware to keep it looking slick, while the Ivory features pearloid blocks.

The MIJ Series EVH Signature Wolfgang is a basswood body, featuring a big leaf maple top carved top and five-ply binding. The maple cap helps to brighten up the guitar acoustically, some of that resonance making its way into the Alnico 2 and Alnico 3 humbuckers in the bridge and neck position respectively, toggled between via a reverse wired three-way toggle. The pickups are then controlled by a master EVH BI Tech HPU low friction volume knob, which makes for a more even taper of volume, rather than the sudden jump you sometimes get from standard pots. The tone pot is an EVH Bourns® high friction pot, meaning that accidental bumps won’t stifle your top end. There’s a red kill-switch on the belly of the guitar for creative, rhythmic, stutter effects as well!

The scale length is 25.5”, so it’ll feel like home for Fender-style players, while also handling lower tunings if need be. The maple neck is a bolt-on, a preference for some more modern players as overt resonances fizzle into the neck joint that’s also reinforced by graphite on the MIJ Series EVH Signature Wolfgang. This is all secured by an EVH-branded Floyd Rose locking trem and R2 locking nut, “dive bomb certified” in case anyone needs to see your licence, also featuring an EVH D-Tuna allowing you to switch between standard and drop tunings without adjusting the trem mechanism.

In use, the MIJ Series EVH Signature Wolfgang feels great. It’s a high performance guitar, but it’s got the feel and mojo of a big rock guitar. The Floyd Rose, EVH-branded, keeps the whole thing in tune no matter how much you wail on it.

The addition of the upgraded volume and tone pots are an interesting one; you don’t notice how much they help until you’ve got them. A subtle bump to your Tone can shift the attack of your playing entirely, muffling all your attack, and volume swells require a keen ear to ensure they’re balanced and consistent. The EVH branded pots do away with all these issues, allowing you to focus on your playing.

The alnico pickups are balanced, modern and consistent, the neck pickup offering a particularly thick, bluesy attack, especially with cleaner settings, and the bridge humbucker giving all the attack and punch you may need from a rock guitar. The addition of the reverse wired toggle is a welcome one, allowing you to switch to your bridge pickup with an up motion before strumming back down.

The compound radius of the fretboard is something you don’t notice while you’re playing so much as miss it when you’re not. A compound radius means that the frets flatten out the higher up the neck you go, for a more ergonomic feel. Our hands naturally curve more towards the lower end of the fretboard, i.e. for chords and rhythms, and the flattened workspace beyond helps you navigate the higher frets and faster picking usually associated with Eddie Van Halen himself. While on the subject of Eddie himself, the neck shape is Eddie’s own preference, feeling comfortable as it rolls in the hand, helped along by the hand-rubbed satin urethane finish. Gloss finished can become ‘grabby’ and sticky, and we ain’t got time for that.

MIJ EVH Stealth Black

The EVH Signature Wolfgang is the latest in a budding line of EVH guitars made in Japan, the makers of Japan imprinting their own feel and quality to an already stellar design. There’s something about Japanese guitars that makes them feel sleek, consistent and well-made, and the MIJ Series EVH Signature Wolfgang is no exception. It features all the specs that players look for in a guitar of this calibre, while also adding a few bells and whistles that we didn’t know we needed, like premium pots, a D-Tuna and a compound radius fretboard. Premium woods like an ebony fretboard and big maple leaf top make for a resonant and controlled sound acoustically, bolstered by the presence of the alnico humbuckers themselves.

The aesthetics of the guitar compliment the sound, the unique Wolfgang shape allowing unreserved access to the higher frets while bolstering the harmonics and resonance of the guitar. The MIJ Series EVH Signature Wolfgang is a home run, honouring Eddie’s need to strive for innovation in its hardware, while balancing a well-rounded, tried and tested guitar design. 

For more info, visit EVH.