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In praise of: Music Man Axis

In 1990, Music Man's Sterling Ball was flicking through a guitar magazine when he came across a photo of Eddie Van Halen posing in his pit-like studio, 5150.

On the floor, packs of bog-standard strings lay scattered around. Ball saw an opportunity: to produce a range of signature strings for Van Halen.

"Music Man's EVH was a Strat-style axe, but more refined with a figured maple top"

A meeting was arranged and the strings duly went into production. At the same time, Ball offered to produce an EVH signature guitar. Eddie agreed, and the Music Man EVH was born.

Like Eddie's 'Frankenstrat', Music Man's EVH was a Strat-style axe, but more refined with a figured maple top. It also boasted dual humbuckers, easy upper-fret access and a Floyd Rose, natch. For Eddie fans, it was the stuff of wet dreams.

In 1995, Eddie left Music Man for Peavey, which could meet buyer demand more easily than MM, then began producing his own version, the Wolfgang, under the Fender-distributed EVH brand in 2009.

It's no longer endorsed by Eddie, but the Music Man EVH lives on as the Axis, and remains a staple of the company's catalogue to this day.

Music Man Axis timeline

1991

Music Man produces Edward Van Halen signature model

1995

EVH leaves Music Man, signature model rebranded 'Axis'

1997

Axis Super Sport makes its debut at the NAMM show

1999

Semi-hollowbody version of Axis Super Sport introduced

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