In this episode I sit down with Will Ray, a founding member of The Hellecasters and longtime “Bottom Feeder” columnist for Premier Guitar Magazine (among many accolades).
Sporting a skull bolo, slide rings, and cowboy hat we talk guitars, guitars, and more guitars starting with his very first, a Gretsch Country Gentleman he bought when he was 16.
Right out of the gate we take a look at his namesake Fender signature Telecaster model #0001 from 1996.
His “Bottom Feeder” column in Premier Guitar shed light on Will’s experiences with inexpensive guitars he finds online or at garage sales and flea markets. So of course we talk about some of his favorite bottom feeders that he’s actively acquiring.
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Hartley Peavey developed his first amplifier in 1961 and went into production in 1965 as Peavey Electronics, sticking to the amp and PA categories until 1978.
Of course if you can build amps, why not guitars?
Peavey’s first guitar was the electronically sophisticated T-60 in 1978. This guitar introduced the patented tone circuit dual/single coil circuitry allowing humbucking or single coil usage of either pickup by adjusting the tone knobs.
Although the electronics were progressive, Peavey’s initial body styles were fairly conservative. Fast forward a couple of decades…
Before the Ernie Ball guitar deal ended for Eddie Van Halen he had established a relationship with Peavey for his signature 5150 amp and cab.
In the process of building the relationship Peavey subtly presented EVH a couple of guitars to show what they were capable of. The power of suggestion…
So the foundation was laid and the time was right when EVH parted ways with Ernie Ball for Peavey to approach Eddie about a new signature guitar.
Given full design autonomy EVH and Peavey made a go of it and spent the better part of a year working back and forth on a prototype.
The end result was a similar looking guitar to his Music Man, but it sported a maple topped basswood body, and a maple neck with carbon fiber rods.
Another difference is the addition of a tone control.
In terms of unique features was the drop D Tuner on the Floyd Rose and a special double-dipped wax process for the pickups.
From the Peavey manual, “wax dipping process is used to provide ultra-low noise operation and resistance to microphonic feedback. The pickups are mounted directly to the body, which further reduces feedback at high volume levels and offers enhanced tonal response.”
The pickups were made in-house.
Eddie unveiled the Peavey Wolfgang at the 1996 NAMM show and it had a pretty good run for eight years including several budget versions. In 2017 Peavey re-released the Wolfgang as the HP2.