REVIEWS

EVH Frankenstein Relic Series | Review

Published 5 months ago on September 26, 2023

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

EVH Frankenstein Relic Series

MSRP: (UK) £1249 / (US) $1699

If your playing incorporates the gamut of rock pyrotechnics—the EVH Frankenstein Series Relic was built with you in mind. Paying tribute to Edward Van Halen's revered proto-superstrat platform, draping it in a road-punished, solid-coloured finish and updating it with modern hardware and electronics, the Frankenstein Series Relic includes a comfortable quarter-sawn maple neck and fast-playing compound-radius fingerboard, and its dive-bomb-only D-Tuna-equipped Floyd Rose lets you mimic Eddie's signature trem-work with ease Nick Jennison Reviews.

A strong contender for "Most Important Guitarist Of All Time", Edward Van Halen's explosive 1978 debut heralded a seismic shift in not only the way guitar was played, but in the form the electric guitar would take for decades to come. Perhaps the most iconic of Ed's innovations is his legendary "Frankenstein"; an unholy union of Californian playability and Kalamazoo grunt, and the world's first "Superstrat". There's probably no more recognisable guitar in all of rock history.

Perhaps a little TOO recognisable for some folks, particularly in the striped finishes that adorn the EVH brand's loving recreations of Ed's legendary guitars. Fortunately, there is an answer in the form of the new "Frankenstein Relic" series. Essentially, these guitars are "Frankie" replicas, but without the stripes. Available in black, red and white heavily relic'd finishes, they're handsome and hugely evocative of Ed's legendary guitar without being quite so "on the nose" visually.

The body is a classic Strat shape, complete with cut away pickguard and exposed pickup routes, housing a direct-mounted Wolfgang humbucker along with a vestigial neck single coil and a pickup selector that aren't actually wired in - just like Ed's original. With only a single volume pot (with a knob marked "tone"), this is not a guitar that promises an endless array of tones - rather, it delivers one voice with laser-focussed excellence. In the world of the Frankenstein Relic, it's always rock o'clock.

So yes, one tone, but my word, what a tone! It's powerful, articulate and very well balanced, with a tight low end that chugs and thumps with the best of them, and is beautifully responsive to your pick dynamics while still being forgiving enough for all manner of shreddy tomfoolery. It takes confidence and experience to get the best out of a single pickup guitar like this, but if you've got the chops and the touch, this guitar will reward you with heaps of character and expressiveness.

If you're played any guitars that have bourn the EVH name, the neck profile on this instrument will feel very familiar. It's not "shredder-thin", but it's very fast and comfy. The 12'16" compound radius makes for a very low action without a hint of buzz, and the jumbo frets make legato and bending an absolute breeze. The relic finish is very good, but the neck really stands out in this regard, with a very authentic "played-in" look and feel.

The tremolo, an aged, EVH-branded Floyd Rose, is everything you'd hope for in such a unit. Yes, there are compromises when it comes time to change strings, but the performance benefits are well worth the extra headache. Where this guitar differs from some previous EVH guitars is that the bridge is floating - meaning you can not only dive, but also pull up. This not only makes harmonic screams even more dramatic, but also facilitates better chord shimmers, bar vibrato and pseudo-slide lines. It also comes fitted with a D-Tuna, making traditions between standard tuning and drop-D an absolute breeze.

The EVH Frankenstein Relic is a "Frankie" through and through, but in a finish that doesn't scream "signature guitar" quite so hard. It plays like a dream, and has a powerful and expressive tone that makes it hard to put down. Funk choppers, jazz cats and blues dads may want to look elsewhere, but if you're a rock player who wants a rugged, handsome and focussed instrument, this guitar will do you proud.

For more information, please visit:

www.evhgear.com


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