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When Peavey initially began producing the Wolfgang guitar in late 1996 (most were produced in 1997) it only came in the Standard model (the Special had not been introduced) and it was available in six colors.   It came in Black, Ivory and 4 curly maple (quilt top) options.  These were red, amber, purple and sunburst (shown above).  People often refer to the Sunburst as "Tobacco Burst", but to the best of my knowledge Peavey did not make a color with this name.  There is just the one sunburst color that can look very different in photographs based on the lighting. The Gold top was added later in the year and was used to primarily to paint guitars a color other than black when a top was rejected for one reason or another.   Also, only the tremolo model was produced, other than a few prototypes (see #1542).  The "stop tail" or fixed bridge model was not introduced until the 2nd year and never came in a quilt top.  There were no "Specials" the first year.  EVH played a Sunburst original year quilt throughout the VH3 tour and the 2004 tour.  Unfortunately he smashed it the last show in Tucson along with another guitar in an unfortunate display of anger about who knows what.

As everyone likely knows EVH had been with Music Man (Ernie Ball) from 1990 through most of 1995.  During that time they produced approximately 6000  Music Man EVH guitars, or 1,200 per year.  This is a number directly from the company.  Most of the tops on the MM guitar were (are) exceptional.  However, by the time the Wolfgang came along, getting good quality curly maple at a reasonable price was becoming difficult.  Peavey and EVH had a price point they wanted to meet and the quilted maple they were getting was not to either of their satisfaction.  So after only about 2000 (that is the best number I have for now) quilt tops were produced, Peavey switched to flame maple from curly maple.  They made a lot of Black and Ivory guitars  (especially black) during the first year, and later Gold as well.  They had roughly 8,000 orders in year one for the Wolfgang and didn't begin to fill them all.  The rumor was that Ed was very unhappy with the overall quality of the tops, and rightfully so if he was judging them against his Music Man.  So rather than raise the price of the guitars to get the more highly figured materials they switched to flame maple.  This is how the story has been told to me by several people at Peavey.   Also, 2,000 may still sound like a lot but it is not that many for a production guitar like this and probably less than half are still in collectable condition.  That is only an average of 500 per color or less.

I can tell you from first hand experience that the tops on the first year quilt tops vary greatly.  In a sheer judging contest of the quilting qualities of curly maple they would perform rather poorly.  However, the great deal of variation in the wood is quite unique and I personally believe this is their charm.  They are not the standard run of the mill quilts.  If you go out looking for the ultimate quilted top you will be disappointed with almost all of them.  It is rare to find a super nice one.  In fact, I have never seen the ultimate quilt top on a production Wolfgang.  Even the red quilt in their original brochure is not a great example.  If you go out looking for the beauty in the variation of the tops and their unique qualities you will be quite pleased. 

I have had several amber original year quilt tops.  By chance I ended up with 2 consecutive serial numbers.  They are very different.  The pair (consecutive serial numbers) are shown below.  Click on the thumbnail picture to see the larger picture.  Notice the difference in the quilts.  So while there were only four colors produced, they varied greatly within each color.  One reason is that the method they used to stain the tops did not provide for consistent results.  They later solved this "problem" so that the staining process could be repeated with consistent results.  However, I think the fact the original year guitars did turn out different is part of their unique quality.  The guitars do not fade as much as the Music Man because Peavey had a better UV block on the first year models than Music Man, but it wasn't until about the 2nd year that Peavey developed a unique UV blocker they put in the paint that prevents the fading almost entirely.  Music Man had all kinds of problems with serious fading (see the Music Man section).  It is too bad Peavey didn't develop the advance UV block in time for the First Year models.  I have not noticed any real color change from fading though, except in the Purple as they might turn a little darker.  I also saw a red on eBay that looked faded.  However, it is so hard to tell because the color staining was not consistent. 

When you consider that on average that 500 or less per color were likely produced, this is a much rarer guitar than almost anyone realized.  Just getting the number produced from Peavey has been very difficult.  The number I am using is the best guess from someone who was involved in production and has been there quite awhile.  They said probably "no more than 2,000". My general sense is that they just don't know, but they know it is a low number due to the problems they had.  When you further consider that maybe half (or less) of the original guitars produced are in collectable condition, this is far more rare than is generally known.  I see about 10 to 15 (or less) a year for sale on eBay and not too many really nice ones.  When EVH was out playing again the interest (and prices) on his guitars really went up.  There was a stretch of about 3 months this past year without a single original year quilt top coming up for sale on eBay.  Most of the time there is not one available.  It is far more likely to not find one than to find one available when you look.  Compare this to the Music Man EVH, which is very collectable.  There are always a few to choose from and I have seen as many as 7 or 8 at a time on a semi-regular basis available on eBay. So it really makes you wonder how many are actually out there in collectable condition.  I think it is certainly less than 1,000!

After having owned so many of these guitars I think I can now say that the original year quilts are "slightly" different from the later production models in their feel.  They seem overall heavier and the necks are generally nicer (not always).  I think the materials they got that first year were different, and possibly better in some cases.  I have to say I like them better.  This "perceived" difference also creates value because for someone who likes that specific feel, only an original year will do.  If I could have only one production Wolfgang I would definitely have an original year quilt top model.  And I would want one with the screw down trem handle that were used on some that didn't have any play in it.  The fact that Ed kept playing his original year Sunburst quilt for 7 years says something about that too I think.

Serial Numbers - I have looked at the dates on the build sheets of the original year guitars and compared them to the serial numbers.  They are close, but not necessarily in order.  I think that is because the serial numbers are pulled during production and the delivery date entered when the guitar is completed.  A guitar that needed something reworked or was set to the side for some reason would have a later delivery date even though it had an earlier serial number.  The first 500+ guitars that were built were black or Ivory, mostly black.  I have not seen a serial number below 580 that is a quilt and I have been told that it was close to 600 that they started producing the quilts.  What is also interesting is that quite a few "nice tops" were painted black, which means that although most black Wolfgangs are solid basswood that there are lots of early year black ones with tops as well as later years as this practice continued for a few years.  If you look real close at the finish you can see the solid basswood construction is in 3 pieces on the tops as opposed to the two piece maple tops.  The basswood guitars were made of 3 pieces of basswood because they would "curl" sometimes if only two were used.  They tried to do two and it "potato chipped".  EVH had nothing to do with this decision.  It was done for "strength". The two outside pieces were in the same direction grain wise and the center part was flipped with the grain in the opposite direction.  The black/ivory were CNC'd with the archtop from a solid blank as opposed to the maple tops where it would be sanded down, a top glued on and then CNC'd.  Thus, the black/ivory have no top glued on, but the others have a maple top.  If you have a black or ivory guitar that is two piece construction (look real close at the top under the light) then you have one with a top. 

If you have a quilt top that is earlier than 580 I would like to get the number and a picture.  Actually, I would like to get a picture and serial number on any first year quilt you have. There may be a few special builds early on of quilts but I am pretty sure they didn't get production ramped up until well into the 500's or thereabouts.  To get the build date of your guitar from the serial number you can go to the Peavey Guitar forum on their site and post it as a question.  Someone from Peavey will look it up and give you the answer.  <Click the thumbnail pictures below for a larger image and the links to the left where available for more pictures>

580 - Purple Quilt This is the earliest serial number quilt I have seen and could be the best quilt I have ever seen on a production Wolfgang.  The guy who sold it to me said it was the very first one delivered to the Seattle area.  I have had a few other Purple quilts and the color is significantly brighter than the others even accounting for this picture being taken in the sun. This could go back to the "problems" Peavey had with consistent color tones.  It is in near mint condition   It seems like the quilts were better early on and got less consistent (in general) as they went, which makes sense since Peavey switched to flame maple due to problems getting the quality of quilt they wanted at a price they were willing to pay.
581 - Purple Quilt This guitar belongs to Chip (didn't get the last name).  It is the consecutive serial number to the one above it but you can see how different the wood is.  They clearly did colors in batches.  It looks like Purple might have been first.
610 - Purple Quilt Sometimes it pays to be lucky and Gary Gould was living right when he found someone wanting to get rid of this stored since new very early Wolfgang treasure at a more than attractive price in November of 2005..  Finding it is harding enough, but buying it cheap at the same time makes it one of those rare finds.  There are still probably quite a few of these early quilts in the hands of owners who have no idea what has happened to the value of them.
615 - Purple Quilt

This is a great example of a purple quilt that came up for sale on eBay.  I do not know who the owner is.  The guitar was listed as having been played a lot but having no blemishes and being near mint.  
640 - Sunburst Quilt

This sunburst is in great shape.  It has no nicks, dings, or blemishes.  Very little wear.  Tomo from Japan now owns this one, via Chris in Australia!  This Wolfgang has traveled the world.  I wish I would have taken a better picture of it when I had it.  This is one of the earlier ones I got before I figured out the preferred way to photograph these guitars.
645 - Sunburst Quilt This is my best Sunburst.  I am keeping one of each color and unless I find a better one, this is it.  The guitar is in very nice shape without any noticeable blemishes on the top, body or headstock.   It rivals 580 as the nicest quilt pattern of any I own.  It is uniform throughout and a good pattern, which most are not.
647 - Sunburst Quilt This Wolfgang belongs to Adam Barrett from Georgia.  Nice quilt on this one. 
666 - Sunburst Quilt This guitar belongs to Jonathan Kreusch of Denver who acquired it in 1997 or 1998 for $660 in cash in a "fast talking" trade.  He has played it quite a bit but still says it rates a 9.5 for the condition.  He has pretty much retired this one due to it's status.
668 - Sunburst Quilt This guitar came up for sale on eBay.  The pick-ups had been changed but the originals were with the guitar.  It had a few scratches and went for just under $2,300 in October of 2005.
670 - Sunburst Quilt This guitar belongs to Hiroshi K. from Japan.  He originally purchased this guitar from the Yamaha Osaka guitar shop in Japan.  There are original year quilts spread all over the world!
675 - Sunburst Quilt This guitar belongs to Frank Forte from Utah who bought it in January of 1998 in Salt Lake City.  The lighting on the picture gives the guitar a darker/redder look.  You can see how different these guitars can look in photographs based on the lighting used.  An interesting characteristic of this guitar are the two small matching knots on both halves of the top.
708 - Sunburst Quilt This Wolfgang is owned by Arnaud from France.  It is another nice early serial number Sunburst quilt.  It is starting to look from the serial numbers that they produced "color runs" in the beginning as it is starting to look like the colors are grouped together.
718 - Sunburst Quilt This guitar is owned by Tim Consley who bought it in 1997 when it was just a few months old.  Tim, who is from Indiana is an "ordained music minister".  I am not sure what that is but it sounds cool.  This is his main axe that he plays on a weekly basis.  Tim says the guitar is still in great shape.  Some different lighting would likely bring the quilt out more in the picture.
724 - Sunburst Quilt This quilt top has nice wood grain but isn't the classic quilt.  Many of the Wolfgang quilts have this quality.  The action on this guitar is as low as I have experienced on any trem model.  This guitar plays great.  The top has no blemishes and the back looks almost new as well.  This guitar belongs to Mark Summers.
737 - Sunburst Quilt This sunburst quilt was submitted by Steve Kramer from IL.  He bought it in 1997 from a guy on the Internet from his website (before eBay) and has kept it ever since.  The person selling it couldn't have had it long.  This is an early serial number.  The quilt on this one is not real detailed like the few before it, which suggest that in this area of production they were not getting great tops, which really is the case with most of them.
761 - Red Quilt This guitar belongs to Derek Fuller who plays in two Van Halen tribute bands in Southern California.  They are called "On Fire" and "Girl Gone Bad".  In the second one they have a female DLR!  This is the earliest serial number red quilt so far that I have seen. 
788 - Red Quilt This guitar is from the collection of Scott Garrand.  Scott has 4 original year quilts (one of each color).   The Red quilts seem to be the most consistent.  Maybe that is because all three of these are close in serial number and were likely built around the same time.  The consistency is surprising compared to everything else I have seen with the Wolfgangs.
807 - Red Quilt

This is one of three red quilts I have owned.  They have a very similar look.  All three are in near mint condition with no dings or blemishes on the guitar.  Very slight wear.  Tom Dunn is now the owner of this beauty!
830 - Red Quilt This guitar belongs to Jeff Goebel and has a story I like.  Jeff had been reading this site so he was aware of the value of the first year quilts.  He was in a Sam Ash store and saw this guitar for sale for $750, which is 1/3rd of what it is worth or less.  The big box retailer had no idea what they had.  Of course Jeff snatched up the prize.  It pays to check out the guitar stores because in many places they won't know what this guitar is or what it might sell for because they won't know it is different form a regular Wolfgang.
873 - Red Quilt

This red quilt is in fantastic condition.  The top is perfect.  So far, it appears as if Red is the rarest color.   It is photographed without strings.  This is my Red Quilt keeper.
930 - Amber Quilt This guitar is owned by Leon Heberger.
939 - Amber Quilt This guitar is from the collection of Scott Garrand.  Scott has 4 original year quilts (one of each color).   This is another interesting quilt.  This has that darker amber (butterscotch) color, which could also be the lighting.
943 - Amber Quilt I bought this guitar directly from one of my favorite guitar players from a band you are sure to know.  He got the guitar directly from Peavey when they toured together in 1997 with Van Halen.  Peavey gave one to each of the guitar players in the band (Snake & Scotti). Ed gave them each a 5150 Combo, which they still have. While Scotti didn't play this guitar live (prefers Fenders - huh?), Snake has a few hundred shows on his red original year red quilt (Snake).  This guitar (943) got some playing but mostly spent its time in the closet, which is why it is almost like new.  The top is perfect.  Plays awesome. Click here to see the former owner:  Scotti Hill  Check their tour dates and see a show.  You won't be disappointed.  I saw them at the Hard Rock. Can't wait for the next one!
945 - Amber Quilt

945 has that "blotchy" look to the quilt.  It is a different look than all the others.  This can look outstanding in the right light.  Tom Dunn got this one from me as well.  He now has one of each color.  It was really hard to sell two of these.  It took me so long to find them!
962 - Amber Quilt This addition in Feb '04 is now one of my best.  The top is nearly perfect and the guitar is in beautiful shape.  No blems.  The neck has yellowed a tiny bit but it has never been oiled.  I got this from the original owner who gave me all the details (and paperwork).  It has a great feel.  I played it for about six hours the first day I got it.  I think I can now say without a doubt that on average the best quilts on these guitars are the early production ones.
979 - Amber Quilt

This early quilt top is in super nice shape.  It is a darker hue than most of the ones that I have seen in person. The plastic is still on the larger cover on the back. The quilt pattern is typical of several I have seen and the guitar is beautiful in the right light as is the case with most of these.  You can really see the wood grain on the amber models the best.
996 - Amber Quilt This guitar is in great condition.  The top is perfect.  The fretboard shows light signs of playing, but overall I would give this guitar a 9.8 on the condition.  The quilt is average for the Wolfgangs.  Action is perfect.  Plays great. 
1029 Amber Quilt This guitar was sold on eBay and went for a little over $2,500 in October of 2005 when it could have gone for much more ($3,500 was realistic) because it is in new condition having been stored away since it was purchased new.  The pictures were not good as the lighting made it look like there were flaws.  The seller only ran a 3 day auction - big mistake, and did not feature the guitar.  If you have a unique guitar like this I suggest paying the $20 to feature it and running it for 10 days.  And take good pictures.  This picture came from the eBay listing and is not bad but the other pictures made the guitar look like it had scratches.  This one does a little too from the lighting.  The color is also off quite a bit.
1033 - Amber Quilt This guitar belongs to Jim Ryan.  It is a pretty good quality quilt for a Wolfgang. 
1037 - Amber Quilt

This is a beautiful amber quilt that got away from me once that I eventually was able to purchase.   As with most quilts the lighting shows off the quilt to a greater or lesser degree.  It has been played but very little.  The guitar is in almost perfect condition.  No blemishes of any kind.  It is more yellow than most.  This is my keeper, although I still have 943 and 962, which I am also keeping.
1040 - Amber Quilt This guitar belongs to Yves St-Denis of Ottawa, Canada.  Yves has kept the guitar in original condition along with everything it came with.
1054 - Amber Quilt This guitar belongs to Joe from Germany.  Very nice quilt and good lighting to bring it out.  Thanks for the pictures Joe!
1342 - Red Quilt Super nice condition and a very nice quilt.  Not much birdseye in the neck but still feels great. 
1370 - Purple Quilt

This is one of the better quilts I have seen in purple.  This color is the most difficult to photograph.  The guitar is in near mint condition with no blemishes.  It is a dark purple.  Early on the purple color appeared to be brighter and then the hue got darker as they went.  It is also possible the color is turning a little bit as they didn't use the UV block in the clear coat in the first year.
1414 - Amber Quilt This guitar belongs to David Andrews.  Indoor lighting on the picture gives it a darker look.
1417 - Amber Quilt

This quilt shows off the wood nicely.  Amber seems to be the best color for that.  This one and 1418 are consecutive serial numbers and are same the color, but it is hard to tell from the picture.  I have photographed them together above.  Also notice how different the quilting is on consecutive serial numbers.. 
1418 - Amber Quilt

This picture is taken outdoors in the sunlight while 1417 is taken indoors.  It certainly shows how different the color can look in different lighting.
1421 - Amber Quilt This one was for sale on eBay.  It is in near perfect condition.  It came up on 4/4/05 and was the first one I have seen come up in many weeks.  These are amazingly scarce.
1524 - Sunburst Quilt This guitar belongs to Roman Amrein from Switzerland.  It was born on May 8, 1997.  Roman has 5 Wolfgangs.  He says this one is not the greatest playing guitar of the bunch, which you usually don't hear when it comes to first year Wolfgangs.  His favorite is his Ocean Blue Quilt, Custom Shop Special.
1542 - Prototype Stop Tail This is a prototype for a stop tail created in the first half of the first year of production.  It is the only first year stop tail quilt known (by me) to exist in amber other than any that might have been shipped to EVH.  I only know of one other one - near mint red one owned by a long time Peavey employee (below). They never produced a stop tail in the first year or in a quilt other than later in the Custom Shop.  This guitar was not sold retail.  It has three very small indentations on the top, which actually don't detract at all.  They are shown on the pictures on the link page.  The guitar feels and plays great. 
1581 Prototype Stop Tail This is the other stop tail first year quilt prototype that I am aware of.  It was displayed in a case at Peavey for awhile and then purchased by Scott Brady who currently runs the Peavey custom shop.  Scott sold the guitar to Robert Letizio who was kind of enough to provide me this picture.  A stop tail quilt was never offered for sale the first year and both of these were purchased from Peavey employees who acquired them from the company.  There are likely a couple more of these.  Maybe a purple and a sunburst?
1634 - Purple Quilt Nice purple quilt in near mint condition.  Bought this one as a part of a collection for resale.
1655 - Purple Quilt

This guitar is from the collection of Scott Garrand.  Scott has 4 original year quilts (one of each color).  This is one of the better Purple Quilts I have seen.  Each of Scott's guitars is really nice.  He managed to find a really nice one in each color.
2013 - Sunburst Quilt

This Sunburst Quilt is in new condition.  It came from a collector who bought it originally and never played it (said about 6 hours).  Plastic still on all three covers.  This could be sold as new in a guitar store.
2031 - Sunburst Quilt

This sunburst is in great shape and has a real interesting pattern as it actually looks like a "burst".  It has no nicks, dings, or blemishes and very little wear.
2032 - Sunburst Quilt This guitar belongs to "Wally Gator" and has been played all over the USA in a Houston based rock and blues band called "The Guzzlers".
2038 Sunburst Quilt This guitar is owned by Hywel Jones in the UK.  Final inspection was on June 16th, 1997.  It looks like a pretty good quilt but the picture is a little blurry. 
2052 - Sunburst Quilt This is Tom Dunn playing an original year quilt top at the Whisky a-GoGo in L.A.  He loves the early Wolfgang quilts!  He has two Sunburst and one purple and he also got a red one (807), and an amber (945) from me.  He now has one of each color.  There should be some kind of club for that!  He will tell you the original year quilts are just better.
2066 - Sunburst Quilt This guitar belongs to Colin McTaggart from Australia but is up for sale.  The quilt is about as good as they get for the Wolfgangs.  It is in near mint condition.  Super nice guitar.
2179 - Red Quilt This guitar is the typical 1st year quilt.  Interesting top but not at all uniform.  This is more contrast in this one than most and what is unique about this guitar is that the red hue is slightly different on this one than my earlier ones.  It is a little brighter.  This is typical of the variations Peavey experienced with the color during the first year.  The guitar is nearly flawless.  No dents, dings, or noticeable scratches.  I got this from the original owner who played it quite a bit the first year he got it and then it sat in its case until I bought it.  The fretboard has been cleaned and oiled and there are new Wolfgang strings on it. 
2165 - Red Quilt This guitar is owned by Ron Turner.  It is in near mint condition.  It looks very similar to the other red ones I have on the site even though the serial number suggests the production was a few months or more later.  For whatever  reason the red quilts seem very consistent, albeit with a small sample size.  I can't explain that considering how different the other colors I have seen are.
2719 - Sunburst Quilt This guitar is from the collection of Scott Garrand.  Scott has 4 original year quilts (one of each color).  This picture does suggest there is red in the burst but that is from the lighting.  This appears to be a very nice quilt.
2738 - Sunburst Quilt It is hard to tell if it is just a really good picture with the lighting bringing out the quilt or whether this is a pretty good quilt for the back end of the production run for the Quilt tops.  This was for sale on eBay.  The seller ended the bidding (12/19/04) to sell it.  The bidding was already at $2,025.  I think it was a big mistake to end it early.  This could have gone for a lot more in the current market.  Of course we don't know what he sold it for either!
2740 - Sunburst Quilt This guitar belongs to Ron Maatita.  It is a fairly plain quilt, but in nice condition.
2744 - Sunburst Quilt This guitar was recently for sale on eBay (I don't own this one).  It is in great condition.
2767 - Purple Quilt

This purple quilt is very dark.  It has a very interesting top but you really have to put light on it to bring it out.  Notice how one half has a quilt pattern and the other more lines.  This is the kind of top I think that they objected to because it is not uniform, although it really is very interesting.  The wood is beautiful.  Many of the Wolfgangs are like that, where you can really see the wood grain more than in most quilts.  These are the type of variations I find interesting and which give them their charm.
2777 - Purple Quilt This one came up on eBay in October 2005.  The picture is from the eBay listing.
3185 - Sunburst Quilt This is a really nice quilt, especially for a later serial number.  It has that flamey quilt look and it is mostly uniform throughout.  The owner says it has an awesome neck and seems a cut above other production models.  He feels like it might have been a NAMM guitar or produced specially for some reason based on the unique and quality top along with the extra nice neck.  He might be right on the NAMM thing but I don't think there is any way to figure it out.  The fret protector is on in the picture for anyone wondering what that is above the neck pick-up.
3472 - Sunburst Quilt This guitar belongs to Brandon Keirns.  It is real near the end of production on the quilt tops.
3473 - Sunburst Quilt This guitar is new old stock that came up on eBay in March of 2005.  It was right at the end of the quilts so it looks like someone was smart and put this one away.  It is also a consecutive serial number to the one above it which is kind of cool.
3515 - Sunburst Quilt

This is getting towards the end of the production for the quilts.  This guitar is a great example of a beautiful wood grain that doesn't happen to be a great quilt. I think it makes these guitars all the more unique.  If they were all that same great quilt they would probably still be making them that way and they wouldn't be rare.  This guitar has the darkest birdseye in the neck of any Wolfgang I have owned or seen.
     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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