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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
1370 - Purple Quilt
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This is one of the better quilts I have seen in purple. This color is the most difficult to photograph. The guitar is in near mint condition with no blemishes. It is a dark purple. Early on the purple color appeared to be brighter and then the hue got darker as they went. It is also possible the color is turning a little bit as they didnt use the UV block in the clear coat in the first year.

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1409 - Amber Quilt
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The tops dont get much nicer than this on the first year quilts. This one belongs to Paul who use to run a site called the Wolfs Den, dedicated to the Wolfgang guitar.
1414 - Amber Quilt
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This guitar belongs to David Andrews. Indoor lighting on the picture gives it a darker look.
1417 - Amber Quilt
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This quilt shows off the wood nicely. Amber seems to be the best color for that. This one and 1418 are consecutive serial numbers and are same the color, but it is hard to tell from the picture. I have photographed them together above. Also notice how different the quilting is on consecutive serial numbers..

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1418 - Amber Quilt
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This picture is taken outdoors in the sunlight while 1417 is taken indoors. It certainly shows how different the color can look in different lighting.
1421 - Amber Quilt
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This one was for sale on eBay. It is in near perfect condition. It came up on 4/4/05 and was the first one I have seen come up in many weeks. These are amazingly scarce.
1524 - Sunburst Quilt
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This guitar belongs to Roman Amrein from Switzerland. It was born on May 8, 1997. Roman has 5 Wolfgangs. He says this one is not the greatest playing guitar of the bunch, which you usually dont hear when it comes to first year Wolfgangs. His favorite is his Ocean Blue Quilt, Custom Shop Special.
1533 - Red Quilt
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This guitar belongs to Roger Cheffer. It was suppose to be for Roger when it was first sold in 1996 but a friend snagged it before Roger did. He graciously sold it to Roger recently at a price that proves he is a friend.
1537 - Red Quilt
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This guitar belongs to Steve who is the original owner. He ordered it when they first came out and waited 16 to 18 months for it!
1542 - Prototype Stop Tail
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This is a prototype for a stop tail created in the first half of the first year of production. It is the only first year stop tail quilt known (by me) to exist in amber other than any that might have been shipped to EVH. I only know of one other one - near mint red one owned by a long time Peavey employee (below). They never produced a stop tail in the first year or in a quilt other than later in the Custom Shop. This guitar was not sold retail. It has three very small indentations on the top, which actually dont detract at all. They are shown on the pictures on the link page. The guitar feels and plays great.

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1581 Prototype Stop Tail
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This is the other stop tail first year quilt prototype that I am aware of. It was displayed in a case at Peavey for awhile and then purchased by Scott Brady who currently runs the Peavey custom shop. Scott sold the guitar to Robert Letizio who was kind of enough to provide me this picture. A stop tail quilt was never offered for sale the first year and both of these were purchased from Peavey employees who acquired them from the company. There are likely a couple more of these. Maybe a purple and a sunburst?
1583 Prototype Stop Tail
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So there were two red ones. Maybe a 3rd (1582?). This guitar was purchased as a wedding gift for Brian Gentile by his fiancÚ. I dont remember getting anything this great when I got married (besides my wife of course!). Brian is a lucky guy! This one is in new condition. Kept as a museum piece so far! It was completed August 27th, 1997 and one of only a few prototype stop tail model, first year quilts that were never sold to the public.
87 guitars on 8 pages.   Click to change page »   1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8
 
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