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Let's Talk Van Halen! 

How cool is it that one of Eddie Van Halen's guitars is going to the Smithsonian?! First, let me say that I love the Smithsonian complex. I try to visit at least one museum every time I visit Washington, D.C. - and D.C. is my favorite city in America.

The National Museum of American History will be displaying the "Frank 2" - that's Eddie's red, black and white guitar with all the stripes. The name Frank 2 is from Frankenstein of course. You know, Eddie's brilliant guitar that came out of constant work and modifications. Frank 2 was used in Van Halen's most recent tour. It will be displayed at the museum's Division of Culture and the Arts. Apparently it won't be immediately on public display - but I'm sure it will be someday.

And on the heels of the awesome Smithsonian news, there's word the guys in Van Halen are planning an Australian tour. And we all know Eddie didn't want to tour again until there was new material, so I guess a new album is imminent. Apparently the tour starts down under in August. To me this means VH will swing around to the states not long after...woo hoo! This would more than make up for a probable abysmal tour season that we're looking at this summer.

Reader Comments (8)

I heard that they have been in the studio recently so heres hoping for new material!

As for the smithsonian museum All we need is a Rhoads polka dot Flying V and we have a whole section on our hands!

As for the new album I hope we get a combination of
Fair Warning and 5150, if thats possible!
February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
I remember a fantastic 1997 exhibit at the Smithsonian, "From The Frying Pan To The Flying V" which featured famous guitars like Prince's "Yellow Cloud", one of Rick Nielsen's checkerboard Hamer Explorers and the first electric, Billy Gibbon's "Pearly Gates", his black '59 Les Paul, The Rickenbacker "Frying Pan" from the early 30's, among others. The exhibit was small but significant, consisting of around twenty iconic instruments. I remember staring at Prince's guitar for like 10 minutes.

All of these guitars are part of the Smithsonian permanent collection with the exception of ol' Pearly.

Now with Frank 2, the collection is even more well rounded.

In the winter of '99/'00, The Metropolitan Museum mounted an incredible exhibit, in conjunction with The Costume Institute and The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, of stage outfits from Rock'n'Roll's most famous performers. Included were Elvis' gold lame suit, Carl Perkin's Blue Suede Shoes, The Beach Boys "Pet Sounds" era "California Casual" wear, The Beatles' "Sgt. Peppers" outfits, Hendrix's British military garb, Jimmy Page's famous blue Dragon Suit he wore in "The Song Remains The Same", all four of the original Kiss outfits (!), Angus' signature black velvet school boy outfit, Jagger's trademark football outfit from '81, Iommi's fringed black leather jacket, Priest's dust laden futuristic "Road Warrior", "Turbo" era leathers and more. This exhibit was absolutely jaw dropping. Another case where I just spent like 10 minutes just staring at each outfit in awe.

In 1998, The Guggenheim in NYC put on an incredible exhibit, "The Art of The Motorcycle" that displayed over a couple hundred motorcycles from the first to the latest, which reached 180 mph.

I mention these exhibits as examples of how The Smithsonian, or any other museum, could mount an exhibit of significant proportions, celebrating the history of the electric guitar.

This spring, my ex=lead guitarist and I are heading out to Graceland in Memphis, The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and The L.A. Strip.
February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Metalboy my friend, if you're going to Memphis, do yourself a huge favor and visit the Stax Museum. they have an amazing amount of stuff there from the glory days of Stax When Otis Redding, booker T. and the M.G.'s, Sam and Dave, etc were laying down some serious soul grooves. My wife and I spent over four hours there. also, be sure to take a tour of Sun Studios. for the serious music fanatic, Memphis has tons of places to visit beyond Graceland.
February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBob
The problem with all this hype is, it's NOT Eddie's guitar. It's one of the REPLICAS made by Fender's custom shop. The odds that Eddie Van Halen ever touched this guitar are almost non-existent. I could see displaying the original, or even one of the well used Kramers, but this particular guitar has no history.

*interesting trivia bit: Ed's navy blue w/ yellow stripe "Van Halen II" guitar was buried w/ Dimebag Darrell.
February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
That's right Ace! That was a sweet looking guitar! I always thought Eddie should do some variations with teh colors of his guitars Black and Blue would look cool!
February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
Imminent is a bit of a stretch but they did enter the studio Jan 20th with producer John Shanks (Bon Jovi, among others). August would seem aggressive but I'd venture a 2012 tour in he States is likely at this point. Regardless, it's very good news.

Only in the name of OCD when it comes to VH, I'd clarify that the 'Frank' in Frank 2 is born from Frankenstrat. A moniker referencing the Frankenstein nature in which EVH's Strat style guitars were fashioned. His original, which the Fender replicas are based on, cost him $130 for the neck and body. When the a small run of replicas were made a few years back and sold by Fender, they retailed for $25k. Really. Interestingly enough, the famous Red, White and Black model is the original Frankenstrat (White and Black) from the VHI era re-taped and re-painted with Schwinn bicycle paint.

The model on the VHII album was actually yellow and black and known as the "bumble bee" and yes, was buried with Dimebag Darrell. Charvel manufactured a limited series of guitars with Frankenstrat style paint jobs and Dimebag had reached out to Eddie for a bumble bee version before they were released. Upon learning of his death EVH brought the original and laid it in the casket.
February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHairMetalHero
Wow. What a story about the original "Bumble Bee" going to the grave with Dimebag.

I did lay eyes on one of the original Kramers that was red with white stripes. It was part of a vast collection on silent auction in the Puck Building in NYC around '92 that was completely insane. I never saw so many goodies in one place.

The display occupied the entire 1st floor.

Whoever's collection this was really had the goods. Tons of guitars. Vintage Les Pauls previously owned by Page and Slash. Hundreds of Rock'n'Roll posters by everyone from Peter Max to Crumb to Coop and that dude that did most of the psychedelic posters from the 60's San Francisco scene.

There was even a red silk robe Page wore after shows from '73. And tons of 45's and LP's. And one of those early Van Halen Kramers. It was one he apparently customized himself, according to the auction literature, all beat up and worn, the white tape all overlapping. It was surprising to see how crudely it was painted but that made it even cooler, no doubt.

Bob! You are so right! I forgot all about Stax and Sun being in Memphis. Crazy, I've got both of those box sets and saw the documentaries on both.

Absolutely, I will be sure to go to both of those legendary Rock'n'Roll institutions. I think we should stay an extra night if it's necessary to properly pull it all off.
February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
This is awesome. I'd already read about this on the VHND and saw the Guitar World issue talking about this guitar on the newstands.

I always loved the story about Eddie placing the original BumbleBee in Dime's casket.

It's awesome to see Van Halen in the news again; I'm really looking forward to their new album with Roth.
February 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteri'mtheone

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