April 9, 2021 – In still another in the latest in several auctions since Edward Van Halen’s passing, a Kramer Ripley guitar once owned by Eddie will be put up for auction.
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Heritage Auctions is currently listing the guitar, painted with Eddie’s signature red-black-white striped pattern for sale at their auction site (current high bid is $13,000.) According to their website: “A Frankenstrat guitar originally owned by Eddie Van Halen. The instrument was made for Eddie circa 1984 by Steve Ripley, who was renowned for his stereo guitars that Eddie used on songs like “Top Jimmy.” Built from a Kramer Striker very early in the Ripley/Kramer era as it does not have stereo. The instrument is believed to have been used by Eddie as a backup guitar on the 1984 and 5150 tours in the mid-1980s.”
“The guitar features Steve Ripley’s custom-made, dark-colored Rosewood neck which is extremely rare as Eddie typically used light-colored maple necks. Only several Rosewood Frankenstrats were made for Eddie, this being one. The body has been spray-painted and striped by hand, presumably by Eddie himself, given the instrument’s vintage. The white painted stripes are tinged with a light yellow, or cream color, both from age, and extensive exposure to cigarette smoke while on tour with Van Halen in the 1980s. Has a Floyd Rose tremolo.”
This guitar was originally gifted to Mountain founder and guitarist Leslie West in the late 80s. Van Halen had cited West as a big influence on his development as a guitarist. The auction also includes an affadavit (letter of authenticity) signed by the current owner, Christopher Kiszka (no relation to the Greta Van Fleet Kiszka brothers.) of how he obtained the guitar.
“The guitar was given to me by Leslie West of the group Mountain. I worked as Leslie’s personal bodyguard between the years of 1989-2001, spending a considerable amount of time with him both on and off the road. In 1990, after working for Leslie for a number of events, he offered me the guitar in lieu of payment as he knew I was a Van Halen fan. The guitar has been kept in its case, untouched for thirty years. As I never saw Leslie use the guitar, I believe the nicks, dings and metal coating wear to be the result of Eddie playing the guitar on tour.”
The sale includes the guitar, and a hard shell case. It doesn’t state whether the case originally came with the guitar.
Bids are being taken online at Heritage Auctions website. You can sign up to bid here. No mention is made whether proceeds of the sale of the guitar will be given to charity. It appears not as of this writing. Bids are being taken now and bidding ends on April 11 at 12:50 PM (CST.) UPDATE: 4/12/2021 – The Van Halen Ripley Guitar was sold for $50,000.00
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