More research....
A guy sent this photo, and it was supposedly taken backstage at the Whiskey in LA in the early days of VH.

Mr. Van Halen is holding a black Strat, which is clearly different than the other Strat he is associated with, a '61 Sunburst (Page 58, March 2007 GuitarWorld).

Unless this was painted black just prior to the first FrankenStrat photo, this may be the only photo available of this guitar.

We got this note, and it was a exactly what we were looking for:

Hi GuitarAttack,
I hope all is well with you. Regarding that pic of Eddie w/Frankie where he has on the white spandex top..that pic is from early, early ' was taken by Lynn Goldsmith (I asked her about it) It first appeared in GP'April'80..THE Eddie interview. We all had along discussion about this pic at (me supplying most of the info). In other pics with Ed wearing the same exact clothing you can see Al with his chrome drum set..the one he played on the '79 tour. Also, if you notice Ed is wearing a VH logo necklace.. those were not available until '79 as I was member of VHArmy from '78. What you have is Frankie in a transition just before the '79 tour..he took off the racing stripes I think the original neck was broken at this time and he put in the other 2 pu's. Soon after he painted it red and put the neck from the bumble bee Charvel on Frankie.

Here is another pic Lynn took from ''ll notice Dave in spandex..he only wore leather the first tour and before

Mark A.


Here is a color shot of the guitar above.

Note the red pickup in the neck position which we believe made it onto the red version of the FrankenStrat.

While we thought that this photo showed the original Fender Strat, it is pretty clear now that this is the original Van Halen 1 guitar during its transition to the famous red 5150 guitar.

Take note -- You can build a replica of this guitar with a Saga S-Style Kit!  Keep checking back -- we are planning to take this project on!


There is a lot more to follow on this.  Keep checking back.


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