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When Peavey initially began producing the Wolfgang guitar in late 1996 (most were produced in 1997) it only came in the Standard model (the Special had not been introduced) and it was available in six colors.   It came in Black, Ivory and 4 curly maple (quilt top) options.  These were red, amber, purple and sunburst (shown above).  People often refer to the Sunburst as "Tobacco Burst", but to the best of my knowledge Peavey did not make a color with this name.  There is just the one sunburst color that can look very different in photographs based on the lighting. The Gold top was added later in the year and was used to primarily to paint guitars a color other than black when a top was rejected for one reason or another.   Also, only the tremolo model was produced, other than a few prototypes (see #1542).  The "stop tail" or fixed bridge model was not introduced until the 2nd year and never came in a quilt top.  There were no "Specials" the first year.  EVH played a Sunburst original year quilt throughout the VH3 tour and the 2004 tour.  Unfortunately he smashed it the last show in Tucson along with another guitar in an unfortunate display of anger about who knows what.

As everyone likely knows EVH had been with Music Man (Ernie Ball) from 1990 through most of 1995.  During that time they produced approximately 6000  Music Man EVH guitars, or 1,200 per year.  This is a number directly from the company.  Most of the tops on the MM guitar were (are) exceptional.  However, by the time the Wolfgang came along, getting good quality curly maple at a reasonable price was becoming difficult.  Peavey and EVH had a price point they wanted to meet and the quilted maple they were getting was not to either of their satisfaction.  So after only 1000 to 2000 (I have new information as of April 2006 suggesting the real number is closer to 1,000) quilt tops were produced, Peavey switched to flame maple from curly maple.  They made a lot of Black and Ivory guitars  (especially black) during the first year, and later Gold as well.  They had roughly 8,000 orders in year one for the Wolfgang and didn't begin to fill them all.  The rumor was that Ed was very unhappy with the overall quality of the tops, and rightfully so if he was judging them against his Music Man.  So rather than raise the price of the guitars to get the more highly figured materials they switched to flame maple.  This is how the story has been told to me by several people at Peavey.   Also, 1,000 to 2,000 may still sound like a lot but it is not that many for a production guitar like this and probably less than half are still in collectable condition.  That is only an average 250 to 500 per color.

I can tell you from first hand experience that the tops on the first year quilt tops vary greatly.  In a sheer judging contest of the quilting qualities of curly maple they would perform rather poorly.  However, the great deal of variation in the wood is quite unique and I personally believe this is their charm.  They are not the standard run of the mill quilts.  If you go out looking for the ultimate quilted top you will be disappointed with almost all of them.  It is rare to find a super nice one.  In fact, I have never seen the ultimate quilt top on a production Wolfgang.  Even the red quilt in their original brochure is not a great example.  If you go out looking for the beauty in the variation of the tops and their unique qualities you will be quite pleased. 

I have had several amber original year quilt tops.  By chance I ended up with 2 consecutive serial numbers.  They are very different.  The pair (consecutive serial numbers) are shown below.  Click on the thumbnail picture to see the larger picture.  Notice the difference in the quilts.  So while there were only four colors produced, they varied greatly within each color.  One reason is that the method they used to stain the tops did not provide for consistent results.  They later solved this "problem" so that the staining process could be repeated with consistent results.  However, I think the fact the original year guitars did turn out different is part of their unique quality.  The guitars do not fade as much as the Music Man because Peavey had a better UV block on the first year models than Music Man, but it wasn't until about the 2nd year that Peavey developed a unique UV blocker they put in the paint that prevents the fading almost entirely.  Music Man had all kinds of problems with serious fading (see the Music Man section).  It is too bad Peavey didn't develop the advance UV block in time for the First Year models.  I have not noticed any real color change from fading though, except in the Purple as they might turn a little darker.  I also saw a red on eBay that looked faded.  However, it is so hard to tell because the color staining was not consistent. 

When you consider that on average that 250 to 500 per color were likely produced, this is a much rarer guitar than almost anyone realized.  Just getting the number produced from Peavey has been very difficult.  The number I am using is the best guess from someone who was involved in production and has been there quite awhile.  They originally said probably "no more than 2,000" but after further research it is looking like 1,000 may be the real number.  I am continuing to try and get a hard number, but the majority got painted black or Gold. When you further consider that maybe half (or less) of the original guitars produced are in collectable condition, this is far more rare than is generally known.  I see about 10 to 15 (or less) a year for sale on eBay and not too many really nice ones.  When EVH was out playing again the interest (and prices) on his guitars really went up.  There have been stretches of about 3 months without a single original year quilt top coming up for sale on eBay.  Most of the time there is not one available.  It is far more likely to not find one than to find one available when you look.  Compare this to the Music Man EVH, which is very collectable.  There are always a few to choose from and I have seen as many as 7 or 8 at a time on a semi-regular basis available on eBay. So it really makes you wonder how many are actually out there in collectable condition.  I think it is certainly less than 1,000 and maybe closer to 500!  The Custom Shop Wolfgangs come up just as often or more often and they only made 500 of those.

After having owned so many of these guitars I think I can now say that the original year quilts are "slightly" different from the later production models in their feel.  They seem overall heavier and the necks are generally nicer (not always).  I think the materials they got that first year were different, and possibly better in some cases.  I have to say I like them better.  This "perceived" difference also creates value because for someone who likes that specific feel, only an original year will do.  If I could have only one production Wolfgang I would definitely have an original year quilt top model.  And I would want one with the screw down trem handle that were used on some that didn't have any play in it.  The fact that Ed kept playing his original year Sunburst quilt for 7 years says something about that too I think.

Serial Numbers - I have looked at the dates on the build sheets of the original year guitars and compared them to the serial numbers.  They are close, but not necessarily in order.  I think that is because the serial numbers are pulled during production and the delivery date entered when the guitar is completed.  A guitar that needed something reworked or was set to the side for some reason would have a later delivery date even though it had an earlier serial number.  The first 500+ guitars that were built were black or Ivory, mostly black.  I have not seen a serial number below 580 that is a quilt and I have been told that it was close to 600 that they started producing the quilts.  What is also interesting is that quite a few "nice tops" were painted black, which means that although most black Wolfgangs are solid basswood that there are lots of early year black ones with tops as well as later years as this practice continued for a few years.  If you look real close at the finish you can see the solid basswood construction is in 3 pieces on the tops as opposed to the two piece maple tops.  The basswood guitars were made of 3 pieces of basswood because they would "curl" sometimes if only two were used.  They tried to do two and it "potato chipped".  EVH had nothing to do with this decision.  It was done for "strength". The two outside pieces were in the same direction grain wise and the center part was flipped with the grain in the opposite direction.  The black/ivory were CNC'd with the archtop from a solid blank as opposed to the maple tops where it would be sanded down, a top glued on and then CNC'd.  Thus, the black/ivory have no top glued on, but the others have a maple top.  If you have a black or ivory guitar that is two piece construction (look real close at the top under the light) then you have one with a top. 

If you have a quilt top that is earlier than 580 I would like to get the number and a picture.  Actually, I would like to get a picture and serial number on any first year quilt you have. There may be a few special builds early on of quilts but I am pretty sure they didn't get production ramped up until well into the 500's or thereabouts.  To get the build date of your guitar from the serial number you can go to the Peavey Guitar forum on their site and post it as a question.  Someone from Peavey will look it up and give you the answer.  <Click the thumbnail pictures below for a larger image and the links to the left where available for more pictures>

 

87 guitars on 8 pages.   Click to change page »   1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8
670 - Sunburst Quilt
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This guitar belongs to Hiroshi K. from Japan. He originally purchased this guitar from the Yamaha Osaka guitar shop in Japan. There are original year quilts spread all over the world!
675 - Sunburst Quilt
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This guitar belongs to Frank Forte from Utah who bought it in January of 1998 in Salt Lake City. The lighting on the picture gives the guitar a darker/redder look. You can see how different these guitars can look in photographs based on the lighting used. An interesting characteristic of this guitar are the two small matching knots on both halves of the top.
708 - Sunburst Quilt
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This Wolfgang is owned by Arnaud from France. It is another nice early serial number Sunburst quilt. It is starting to look from the serial numbers that they produced color runs in the beginning as it is starting to look like the colors are grouped together.
718 - Sunburst Quilt
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This guitar is owned by Tim Consley who bought it in 1997 when it was just a few months old. Tim, who is from Indiana is an ordained music minister. I am not sure what that is but it sounds cool. This is his main axe that he plays on a weekly basis. Tim says the guitar is still in great shape. Some different lighting would likely bring the quilt out more in the picture.
724 - Sunburst Quilt
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This quilt top has nice wood grain but isnt the classic quilt. Many of the Wolfgang quilts have this quality. The action on this guitar is as low as I have experienced on any trem model. This guitar plays great. The top has no blemishes and the back looks almost new as well. This guitar belongs to Mark Summers.

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737 - Sunburst Quilt
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This sunburst quilt was submitted by Steve Kramer from IL. He bought it in 1997 from a guy on the Internet from his website (before eBay) and has kept it ever since. The person selling it couldnt have had it long. This is an early serial number. The quilt on this one is not real detailed like the few before it, which suggest that in this area of production they were not getting great tops, which really is the case with most of them.
742 - Sunburst Quilt
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This sunburst quilt was submitted by Ron. It appears to be in great shape.
761 - Red Quilt
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This guitar belongs to Derek Fuller who plays in two Van Halen tribute bands in Southern California. They are called On Fire and Girl Gone Bad. In the second one they have a female DLR! This is the earliest serial number red quilt so far that I have seen.
762 - Red Quilt
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This one belongs to Bennett from Montville, NJ. Bennett has the start of a nice Wolfgang collection with a few Custom Shop pieces as well as well as Sunburst 2031 and Purple 600.
788 - Red Quilt
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This guitar is from the collection of Scott Garrand. Scott has 4 original year quilts (one of each color). The Red quilts seem to be the most consistent. Maybe that is because all three of these are close in serial number and were likely built around the same time. The consistency is surprising compared to everything else I have seen with the Wolfgangs.
791 - Red Quilt
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This red quilt top belongs to Brian Basara. It was built on 2-18-97 and has been played like they were meant to be, but is still in nice shape.
807 - Red Quilt
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This is one of three red quilts I have owned. They have a very similar look. All three are in near mint condition with no dings or blemishes on the guitar. Very slight wear. Tom Dunn is now the owner of this beauty!
87 guitars on 8 pages.   Click to change page »   1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8
 
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