Wolfgang Van Halen Shares Details Behind His Semi-Hollow Prototype Guitar, Reveals When It’s Coming Out

The whole world of guitar kind of got stirred up when Wolfgang Van Halen, the song of Eddie Van Halen and leader of Mammoth WVH, appeared in public with a brand new previously unseen guitar model. Obviously done by his father’s, and now his, brand EVH, it was a semi-hollow body guitar with some classic EVH traits. Later on, it was revealed that the instrument’s designated name is SA-126

And now, in a brand-new interview with Ola Englund on his Coffee With Ola podcast, Wolfgang shared a few details behind this prototype and also revealed how many of these he actually had. Asked about what his main guitars are at the moment, Wolfgang replied (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):

“Very exciting. I’m playing a new guitar that we’re sort of crash-testing with the brand. It’s called the SA-126. It’s kind of the first semi-hollow. I guess you could call it a performance semi-hollow[-body guitar]. I don’t know how to lead you into the process of how we came about it.”

Wolf Van Halen's EVH SA-126 Signature Prototype | Mammoth WVH Rig Rundown Trailer

“Starting Mammoth [WVH], I thought it was really important for me to have my own sort of tone, my own sort of sound instead of just playing a Wolfgang through 5150s and just kind of calling it a day. So I ended up being attracted to this sort of classic semi-hollows and that sort of warm tone.

As he further explained, the SA-126 is designed to be sort of a “blend” between the classic old-school semi-hollow-body guitar with some of the more “shredder” kind of designs. He continued:

“And the brand does not offer that. Especially since most of the older… I mean, really, the semi-hollows, [they always have] like a really big wide almost like baseball bat neck. And so the instrument didn’t really exist.

Wolf Van Halen's Pedalboard

“So it was fun to sort of merge the worlds of the classic semi-hollows with like the performance sort of guitars that the brand is known for, and kind of putting them together. So it’s like a marriage of like a Wolfgang.”

“And actually, what we’re using the neck profile of the Bumblebee [Eddie Van Halen’s old custom guitar], the black and yellow. That was like the base. It’s definitely been moved around a little bit. But sort of that really thin but wide [neck].”

“I can’t wait for you to try it. It’s a very shredder neck. It’s like a shredder hollow-body. It’s a fun little marriage of both. It’s got a basswood center block. That was dad’s choice of tonewood. And it’s got this really cool… The way Chip Ellis who’s the designer — his whole process for putting it together is really cool.”

Going more into the details, he also added:

“It’s got a maple top, mahogany sides and back, ebony fretboard. I believe that the neck is maple too. I have to double-check. But yeah, it’s badass. And it’s really fun to be crash testing.”

As Wolfgang also reveals, there’s been a few of these around since he started working on the model:

“There’s about seven prototypes. We did three early on. And then these new ones that I have on tour with me are sort of the new batch. It’s like a new assembly method. So you know, we’re just always trying to improve upon what we can do better. But yeah, it’s really exciting.”

Wolfgang Van Halen, Justin Hawkins (On Fire) Cover song (Multi-cam) Live 2022

When asked how much he’s involved in the new product lines, Wolfgang replied:

“It’s a tough thing. I’m doing everything I can that sort of keep up. Luckily, Matt [Bruck, also known as Eddie Van Halen’s tech] has been involved in the brand and involved with my dad and everything he did since my mom was pregnant with me. Like Matt was there when my mom walked into the studio and said, ‘I’m pregnant.’

“So there’s no one better to be heading the brand. And you know, dad wanted me there with him. So I’m doing the best I can to kind of help. Dad still had so many fucking ideas. It’s like, we have so much kind of cooking, that’s really exciting. And then we have the SA, which is looking like next year. It will be finally coming out, which is very exciting. But yeah, just kind of doing my best.”

Mammoth WVH (Wolfgang Van Halen) Don’t Back Down LIVE Austin, Tx. 9/2/21

In an interview conducted by Van Halen News Desk, published early this year, Matt Brucks and Wolfgang Van Halen discussed what’s going on inside the company after Eddie’s passing. Brucks explained that Eddie “left a lot of ideas to develop” which confirms what Wolfgang also told Ola now. So whether they’re preparing something as exciting as the SA-126, we’re yet to see. In the meantime, stay tuned for any updates.

Photo: Andraia Allsop (Wolfgang Van Halen Instagram)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.