Black Label Society’s Zakk Wylde recently joined Guitar World for an interview and argued Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads have the credit for introducing handmade guitars.
Throughout his music career, Randy Rhoads used various guitars. Before leaving the Quiet Riot in 1979, the guitarist presented some hand drawings of a polka-dot Flying V-style guitar to a luthier, Karl Sandoval. This guitar Sandoval built for Rhoads became one of his trademark instruments.
In addition to him, the guitar legend Eddie Van Halen also used custom equipment. Eddie made guitar endorsements, developed guitars, and built custom guitars from parts, such as his Frankenstrat. He created the Frankenstrat by combining a maple neck, an ash body, and a tremolo arm.
Speaking to Guitar World, Zakk Wylde revealed his thoughts on the dominating guitar companies and personal efforts to create custom guitars. He highlighted the importance of the freedom of creating a guitar that suited one’s needs and argued Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen ushered in these handmade guitars.
According to Wylde, the only guitars used back in the day were Gibson or Fender, and influential names in the scene were playing either the Gibson Les Paul or Fender Strat. However, when Eddie Van Halen’s innovative approach drew attention, new guitar designs emerged.
In the interview with Guitar World, Zakk Wylde said the following:
“At the end of the day, it’s all about freedom of being able to create and do all the things that you want to do. When you think about it, back in the late ’70s, St. Randy Rhoads and King Edward Van Halen were the ones that ushered in these boutique and handmade guitars.
Back in the day, it was Gibson and Fender. Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton were playing either the Gibson Les Paul or Fender Strat. That was about it. Then Eddie came in, and it was like, ‘What kind of guitar is that?’ You know, him using all the different crazy shapes. And just like that, it ushered in new guitar designs.“
Zakk Wylde is known for using Gibson Les Paul Custom model guitars with his signature ‘bulls-eye’ design on them. He has also used Randy Rhoads’ cream-colored Les Paul Custom and the Polka-dot V created by Karl Sandoval.