Learn essential licks from one of the most influential guitarists of all time.
• Improve tremolo-picking technique.
• Learn how to shift between several different rhythms during a solo.
• Understand how to play arpeggios with right-hand tapping.
If Jimi Hendrix was the most influential rock guitarist of the late ’60s, then Edward Van Halen is without a doubt the most important rock guitarist to emerge during the latter part of the ’70s. After relocating to California from the Netherlands, Van Halen completely reinvented modern rock guitar and totally changed everything that came after him. Along with his brother Alex on drums, bassist Michael Anthony, and manic frontman David Lee Roth, Van Halen would go on to spearhead one of the biggest rock bands of all time. The group’s catchy, hook-filled songs scored high on the charts and were the perfect vehicle for Eddie’s blistering guitar work.
For this lesson I’ve focused on the sound of vintage Van Halen tracks like “I’m the One” and “Hot for Teacher.” The licks in the solo can be heard in numerous Van Halen songs and will give you a pretty good overview of his style. The main challenge will be the feel of the rhythm part. It’s an uptempo shuffle that clocks in at a death-defying 230 bpm. The tendency will be to play the eighth-notes with a straight feel, but try to swing them as much as you can. I’ve tried to include as many “Eddie-isms” as possible in this track.
The opening riff kicks things into high gear and is inspired by the groove from “I’m the One.” It’s built around an open-string figure based on the 5th string, and includes a speedy triplet move on the 4th string. The double-stops in both the first and second endings give a nod to Eddie’s fretwork in “Hot for Teacher.”
Eddie loves to use natural harmonics and I’ve included a bunch in the next section. These are fairly simple to play, but the key is developing just the right touch to make them pop. Place one of your fretting-hand fingers (usually your middle finger) directly over the fret shown in the tab. Don’t fret the note, but place just enough pressure to sound the harmonic when you pluck the string. If you’re new to this technique, start over the 12th fret—those are the easiest harmonics to generate.
The solo section kicks off with a flowing legato phrase that pops up in several of Van Halen’s most famous lead breaks. The lick is quite tricky and mixes up several different rhythms. The opening flurry is played entirely on the 1st string before descending across the strings and ending with a pair of bends.
Harmonics appear again in the next section of the solo. While holding the bend up to the C#, tap on the indicated frets to sound the artificial harmonics. These harmonics will be diatonic to the fretted note, namely a third or fifth. Hints of “Eruption” come next with a two-measure phrase that uses tremolo picking to walk up an F# Dorian (F#–G#–A–B–C#–D#–E) scale.
Take it easy with the wide legato stretches in the next section. Start them slow and make sure each note comes through clearly before you increase the tempo. At the end of this phrase, I mixed up the rhythm again and added in a quintuplet—a rhythmic figure that incorporates five notes in a single beat.
It would be hard to overestimate the importance of right-hand string tapping in Van Halen’s technique. He likely wasn’t the first one to do it, but he took it to places nobody had ever thought of. As a tribute to the groundbreaking “Eruption,” the next section of the solo is a very long legato phrase that screams all things Eddie. I start by arpeggiating an Am triad (A–C–E) before moving to an F triad (F–A–C). Since both triads share two common tones, the shift is as simple as moving the tapped note from the 12th fret to the 13th. More “Eruption” hijinks happen with a legato phrase that’s based around the A blues scale (A–C–D–Eb–E–G). With enough gain, these licks should flow pretty smoothly.
Recording details: For our track I used my Music Man Axis Super Sport, a guitar derived from the original EVH Music Man. The guitar tones came from Positive Grid’s JamUp Pro for iPad via an Apogee Jam interface. I panned the guitar to the left and added reverb on the right during mixdown. This technique adds space to the mix and is very apparent on Van Halen’s first album.
For the solo, I used a little bit more gain with a model of an MXR Micro Amp in JamUp and added both reverb and echo to the right side. Eddie’s tone is a lot cleaner than you may think, so don’t go for a saturated metal tone. To get that vintage EVH bite, make sure you don’t scoop out the midrange. Instead, try to dial out some of the lows and add some top-end presence.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.
The new finish, according to Lava Music, is “inspired by the beauty of the golden hour,” a shining time just before sunset and after sunrise when photographers covet to capture stunning pictures.
With bright and warm golden hues, the new finish adds a brilliant metallic glow to the surface of Lava ME 3, complementing its AirSonic 2 carbon fiber unibody which features L3 Preamp with FreeBoost 2.0, delivers industry-leading sounds by breakthrough acoustic technologies, and houses a multi-touch display powered by Lava-developed HILAVA system.
Speaking of the HILAVA system, Lava Music also added four new effects: Nebula, Desert Rose, Cassette, and Edge of Breakup. As unique as their names sound, they are very much different from what we normally know about effects. Programmed into the HILAVA system, each of the four is powered by the company’s latest ArctanDrive algorithm and incorporates effects like Pitch Shift, Delay, and Reverb. And every one of those incorporated sub-effects comes with various parameters that players can adjust to design unique, overdriven sounds by just tapping on the multi-touch display. That said, those effects enable users to play with overdriven tone on an acoustic-electric guitar without even plugging in any external gear.
LAVA ME 3 | Now in Golden Hour | LAVA MUSIC
Lava Me 3 in Golden Hour is now available starting from $999 on LAVA MUSIC, Amazon, and local guitar dealerships near you.
For more information, please visit store.lavamusic.com.