On August 31, 1996, Eddie Van Halen paid a visit to another titan of electric guitar, Jason Becker.
Becker was diagnosed with ALS in 1989, and was gradually robbed of the ability to speak, walk, and play guitar. His 1996 meeting with Van Halen proved to be an emotional one, with the latter telling Becker stories, and even – in one particularly powerful moment – playing Becker's own guitar through a small practice amp.
During the meeting, Van Halen also gifted Becker a signed Peavey EVH Wolfgang guitar, one of the first 100 examples of the model ever made.
Now, that guitar is being put up for sale to assist Becker and his family with the guitarist's extensive medical bills – which Becker's family says average over $100,000 a year.
The sale is being personally brokered by Benny Goodman (who posts on YouTube under the moniker The Neurotic Guitarist) as a means of avoiding auction fees, and maximizing the proceeds for Becker.
As can be seen in the video above, Van Halen personally demoed the guitar – which features Becker’s thumbprint on the back of the neck, and has been certified as authentic by former Peavey designer (and current Gibson Master Builder) Jim DeCola – for Becker and his family, playing parts of "Eruption" and explaining the origins of the model's name.
“Jason – we will play guitar together in the future," Van Halen's inscription on the guitar reads. "Love – from heart to your soul – Eddie Van Halen.”
“Eddie was such a beautiful person,” Becker said of Van Halen in 2020. “He was incredibly kind to me and my family. Not only was he my biggest influence, he had such a huge heart. He honestly saved my life.”
Those who don't have the funds to buy the autographed Wolfgang but are interested in assisting Becker with a smaller personal donation can do so via a portal at jasonbecker.com.
Those who are, in fact, interested in purchasing the guitar are encouraged to contact Goodman via his YouTube channel.
Get The Pick Newsletter
All the latest guitar news, interviews, lessons, reviews, deals and more, direct to your inbox!
Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.
“What we all used to dream a guitar shop should be”: Gibson opens new Gibson Garage London flagship store in star-studded fashion, unveils new Jimmy Page signature 1971 EDS-1275 double-neck guitar
“I thought I'd mastered the 7-string after a week of sitting and practicing... then I went to a Korn rehearsal and stood up – My whole week of practicing sitting down was for nothing”: Brian Welch on his 7-string journey, and his unusual playing posture