The custom spec'd 5150 strings will be rebranded HP Custom Shop strings, announcement at
Summer NAMM '05.
Got a chance to interview Peavey's guitar product manager at the Winter NAMM 2005 show on the new Peavey HP Special and
what makes the guitar similar/different from the Peavey Wolfgang.
Wolfgang Guitar Registry(WGR): What parts of the Wolfgang does Eddie Van Halen own versus Peavey?
Peavey (PV): The Wolfgang was designed mainly by Peavey with Ed's input. The strict answer is that Ed contributed
to the headstock and parts of the body. We could have built the new guitar with the same look and feel as the Wolfgang but
instead decided to make more significant changes. The Wolfgang is a very special guitar that we wanted to honor by
not just changing the name. The HP Special is a evolution of the Wolfgang with almost all of the changes coming from customer
input though Peavey's Custom Shop and other customer interaction.
Editor's Note: The EBMM EVH/Axis was on the drawing board to be released by Ernie Ball before signing EVH. The Axis model
available today is the guitar that would have been released had Ed not wanted some changes to guitar for his style. This is
the difference between EBMM making very small changes versus Peavey's decision to make more significant changes in design.
WGR: What are the differences between the HP Special and Wolfgang?
PV: Other than the styling differences with the new upper and lower horns the changes are: belly cut, natural binding,
new neck cut at the body, better balance, more sustain, recessed back plate, recessed knob. The neck is a bit different
it will feel very similar to the old neck but as you progress towards the body the back of the neck becomes thinner. This
provides greater access to the upper frets. Also the trem is floating on the HP Special and the production guitars will
have a new device that allows the user to set the trem to be fully floating or down only.
Finally, Peavey is taking more of a custom shop approach with the HP Special. By visiting any Peavey retailer you will be
able to order your HP Special exactly the way you want. Necks will include maple, rosewood and ebony with no additional
charge for rosewood or ebony. Lastly, we will be increasing the build time from 60 to 90 days but feel a much nicer
instrument can be built by spending the additional 30 days. This will give our luthiers time to perfect the burst or find
the perfect flame/quilt or neck. When someone spends approximately $2,199 (approximate MSRP) for a guitar they should get
exactly what they want and the guitar should be extremely high quality. Left handed versions will also be available via the
Editor's Note: D-Tuna will only work on a down only bridge.
WGR: What are the difference in the pickups on the HP Special
PV:The major changes where to make the pickups more appropriate for coil tapping. Howerver we were very congnisant
that many potential owners of HP Specials are already Wolfgang owners so we tried to keep the tone and volume very close.
You can play the Wolfgang and HP Special side by side and notice zero volume drop or major tone change between the two
The tone knob when pulled will activate the coil tap on both pickups while the volume will activate a high pass filter.
If you wanted to get close to the pickups with production pickups (note: these are not the actual pickups used in the
HP Special) the bridge would be similar to a Duncan Distortion and the neck similar to a JB.
WGR: Will the HP Special be offered in different flavors?
PV:Current we have the HP Special (flat top) and the HP Special CT (carved/arch top). Through our new custom shop
approach you will see different pickup configurations including: Hum/Humm, Hum/Single/Hum, Hum/Single/Single and
Single/Single/Single. Currently there is no plan to offer a hard tail version as our HP Signature line of guitars has
Editor's Note: Got a chance to play the HP Special and have got say it is a very fine instrument. Was able to get many more
tones out the the guitar than a standard Wolfgang, Van Halen like tones to Strat blues tones are possible.