On loan to The Met The Met accepts temporary loans of art both for short-term exhibitions and for long-term display in its galleries.

"Frankenstein," composite electric guitar

Edward Lodewijk "Eddie" Van Halen American, born the Netherlands

Not on view

Aptly nicknamed “Frankenstein,” this guitar was pieced together by Eddie Van Halen from modified factory seconds and mismatched odd-lot parts, then spray-painted. It represents an effort to combine some of the most desirable elements of Gibson and Fender guitars into a single instrument that was not commercially available at the time. Van Halen was continually striving to achieve the ultimate guitar for tone, playability, dependability, and functionality. The unique guitar embodies not only his groundbreaking and unorthodox playing style but also his ingenuity in design and engineering. One of the most recognizable guitars of all time, it spawned legions of copies from other manufacturers and inspired generations of fans to design their own instruments.

Technical Description:
Contoured ash Strat-style body and two-piece maple neck; 25½ in. scale; spray-painted red finish with black and white stripes; bolt-on neck with rosewood dot inlays; unmarked headstock; modified Gibson PAF humbucking pickup at bridge, dummy neck pickup, heavily modified pickup cavity routing, single volume control knob labeled “Tone”; chrome Floyd Rose locking vibrato bridge and nut, recessed input jack, nickel Schaller tuners, hand-cut plastic pickguard, eye bolt strap hooks, rolled duct tape on lower horn for attaching picks, plastic reflectors attached to back, 1971 quarter to shim and level bridge; Fender neck plate with serial number 61071

"Frankenstein," composite electric guitar, Edward Lodewijk "Eddie" Van Halen (American, born Nijmegen, Netherlands, 1955), Ash, maple, nickel, chrome, plastic, spray paint

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.