Ask Eddie: The Addition of a Neck Pickup and/or Tone Knob

It’s time for another installment of Ask Eddie, where Eddie Van Halen answers questions submitted by fans around the world.

In this edition, Mike Ratliff from Virginia asks Van Halen about the addition of a neck pickup and/or tone knob to the guitarist’s preferred axes over the years.

Ratliff:  Hey Eddie, In the early days of VH, you almost exclusively used guitars with a single bridge pickup and a volume knob.  Now, it’s two pickups with master volume and tone knobs. Has having access to a neck pickup and/or a tone knob changed how you approach certain songs?

Eddie Van Halen:  Hi Mike.  The reason I used only one pickup and volume knob in the early days was actually out of complete ignorance.  When I tore apart my first Strat to put a humbucker in the bridge position, I didn’t have a clue as to how to wire up the other two pickups and the pickup selector switch.  So, (hoping it would work) I just soldered the humbucker straight to the volume knob and, “Voila,” it worked.  As time went on and I started designing my own guitars, I added the neck position pickup, because for years I actually kind of missed having one, but it does not influence how I approach songs.  It does, however, allow me to have different sound choices, mainly for soloing.

Submit your questions for Eddie Van Halen here