In 1982, I took my graduation money and headed to Marguerites Music in Moorehead, Minnesota, at that time, one of the biggest music stores in the midwest. On the wall was an expensive Charvel that I knew little about, except that it was painted to look like Eddie Van Halen’s, so I wanted it.
The story on these guitars is pretty cool. Grover Jackson purchased the Charvel name in late 1978 and started producing Charvel brand guitars from a factory in San Dimas/Glendora, California. When the company started selling “Van Halen Model” guitars painted with Van Halen’s signature yellow-and-black-striped patterns to the general public without Eddie’s authorization in June 1979, his relationship with Jackson/Charvel began to sour, as he did not get any royalties. Charvel produced the “Van Halen Model” in minimal amounts (estimates are less than 100 guitars) through late 1982, when Van Halen filed a cease and desist order against the company.
Eddie got five of the guitars from Grover as a piece offering, and one of them sold at auction for a ton of money.
I got mine home and wanted to try doing some dive bombs to discover the thing would not stay in tune to save its life. I tried all kinds of things, but it was only suitable for one song before it had to be re-tuned. I played live with it only about two or three times, and by the time I got into my first band, I sold it for the cash to buy my next guitar.
It’s a good thing to let “things” go. At the time, I didn’t like the guitar paint because I didn’t want to be seen playing an “Eddie Val Halen” guitar. I wanted to get known for my guitar. I also couldn’t get it to stay in tune, and so the guitar didn’t “spark joy” for me.
But I think it would now. 😉
Doc Jim singing Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild.”