Stage-Used 1984 Eddie Van Halen Kramer Sells for $120,000 at Auction

A hand-built 1984 Kramer used onstage by Eddie Van Halen
(Image credit: Live Auctioneers)

Add one to the parade of Eddie Van Halen-used electric guitars that have been sold for big money at auction in recent months.

This guitar – a hand-assembled 1984 Kramer – was one of five examples hand-made by Eddie at the Kramer factory in New Jersey in 1984, and was used by him onstage during Van Halen's 1984 and 5150 world tours.

Put up for sale by Guernsey's, the heavily-worn guitar sold for an even $120,000.

Hand-painted in red with white stripes, and featuring the remains of five black marker tape stripes on the body's face, the guitar has a one-piece solid poplar body that's contoured on the back and bass-side top edge, and a one-piece Eastern hard rock maple neck with a mahogany "skunk stripe" and a maple fretboard with 22 jumbo frets, a 26-inch scale length, and black dot position markers.

Electronically, it boasts a Seymour Duncan Custom humbucker in the bridge position, controlled by a single volume control with a seven-sided black plastic control knob taken from an MXR Flanger effects pedal.

A Floyd Rose bridge and locking vibrato unit with two springs and six individually adjustable saddles also comes standard, in addition to a locking nut assembly, a single-bar string retainer, and individual Schaller M6 Mini rotomatic tuners.

Visually, the guitar features a cigarette burn on its headstock by the low E tuner, a streak of black tape across the face by the G tuner, and an inscription inside the guitar's neck pocket – written in black marker by Kramer assembly foreman James Paul DeCesare, who helped Eddie build the guitar – reading "JPD / EVH #4."

The guitar was sold with two letters of provenance, from DeCesare and Backstage Distributions President Danny Perkins.

The letter from DeCesare affirmed the instrument's origins, and explained the differences between the custom build and the similar, EVH-style production-line Kramers of the time.

The letter from Perkins, meanwhile, detailed the history of its ownership, and what distinguishes the built-for-the-road guitar from the near-identical, hand-built-at-the-factory-by-EVH '84 Kramers that were given away around that time in promotions. 

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Jackson Maxwell
Associate Editor, and

Jackson is an Associate Editor at and 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.