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Learn Guitar: Van Halen, 3 Tips For Lead Play Guitar Solos

  There are so many sounds you can get out of a guitar by just
  tapping, hammering, bending, harmonics, vibrato bar, feedback,
  you name it, Eddie Van Halen has tried it!

  Eddie Van Halen is one of rock's true guitar innovators ...
  you've heard him on Van Halen's hits: Eruption, Jump, Mean
  Street, Fair Warning, Spanish Fly where he squeezes every little
  noise he can out of his guitar without using an (electronic)

 Additionally Eddie has played many outstanding guitar solos
 for other high profile Artists ... check out Michael Jackson's
 hit "Thriller" (from the album of the same name) to hear a
 classic Eddie Van Halen solo.

 Here is just a small sample of some of the techniques Eddie
 employs in his complex guitar style, remember Eddie prefers to
 work at getting natural effects from his guitar rather than
 relying on echo, reverb, chorus, flanging and other electronic

 Here is three tips to get you started with Van Halen's solos

 Tip 1: Arpeggios

 Playing arpeggios is a lost art for most guitar players, in fact
 a great many guitarist's don't have a clue what an arpeggio is.
 There is a reason for this guitar instruction books started to
 phase out arpeggios around 1961. Only a very small number of
 guitar publications have continued to include arpeggio studies in
 their method books.

 This is most unfortunate as a well balanced musician must
 practice scales and arpeggios equally. Today, with the focus
 almost entirely on scales it's no wonder guitar players have
 difficulty working out a Van Halen solo!

 An arpeggio is simply playing the notes in a chord consecutively,
 in the hands of a skillful player arpeggios eliminate the need
 for a chord accompaniment as the arpeggios spell out the harmonic

 Here are the three structures in music: (1) scales = horizontal
 structures, (2) chords = vertical structures, (3) arpeggios =
 oblique structures.

 As musical examples in the key of C ...a C major scale
 (horizontal structure) C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C this would be a

 A C major chord (vertical structure) would be the notes C, E , G 
 played simultaneously this is what happens when you strum a "C"
 major chord on the guitar as an accompaniment to a melody.

 Whereas a C major arpeggio (oblique structure) would be the notes
 C, E, G played consecutively.

 Notice how the notes in the "C" major arpeggio are exactly the
 same as the notes in a "C" major chord the difference is way the
 notes are played. With a chord the notes are played
 simultaneously i.e., all the notes are played at once while the
 arpeggios is played as a broken chord.

 Tip 2: Linear scales

 One of the keys to Eddie Van Halen's style is the way he
 approaches the guitar fretboard. Eddie plays many of his scales
 an arpeggios on linear fashion, this adds an element of
 excitement similar to what you can hear in Gypsy guitar music.

 There's always element of risk when playing the guitar this way
 ... the performer may not always make it, and the audience can
 feel this!

 It's a great way to play if you know your fretboard.

 Try playing a C major scale using only the first string, starting
 in the open "E", play the following notes E = open, F = 1st fret,
 G = 3rd fret, A = 5th fret, B = 7th fret, C = 8th fret, D = 10th
 fret, E = fret.

 As you will have noticed this is not the traditional way of
 playing a "C" major scale by starting on the note "E" and
 continuing up the fingerboard until we reach the octave "E" we
 have in fact played an "E" Phrygian mode.

 Now play the "G" major scale notes on the same string: starting
 in the open "E", play the following notes E = open, F # = 2nd
 fret, G = 3rd fret, A = 5th fret, B = 7th fret, C = 8th fret, D =
 10th fret, E = fret.

 Again, you will note this is not the traditional way of
 playing a "G" major scale by starting on the note "E" and
 continuing up the fingerboard until we reach the octave "E"
 remembering to sharpen the F (because of the G major key
 signature of one sharp) we have played an "E" Aeolian mode.

 Tip 3: Two handed arpeggios

 This is one of the most popular Van Halen two handed techniques.
 Eddie basically came up with the idea (which is like having a 6th
 finger on your left hand) of trying to extend the basic rock
 technique of pulling-off notes with the 3rd and 4th fingers down
 to the 1st finger.

 The concept is to use your right hand index finger (assuming you
 are right handed) to play the first note of a musical phrase,
 then drag your index finger downwards toward the floor, as you do
 this the string will be plucked by the index finger.

 Here is a musical example: C major arpeggio ( C - E - G) played
 entirely on the first string.

 Step 1: place your left hand index finger on the 8th fret first
 string (C = 8th fret)

 Step 2: place your left hand 4th finger on the 12th fret first
 string (E = 12 fret)

 Step 3: play "G" on the 15th fret with your right hand index
 finger (the note is produced by tapping down on the note with
 your index finger in the same way you would hammer-on to a note).

 Step 4: drag your right hand index finger downward creating a
 pull-off effect, the string will return to it's point of rest
 whereby playing the note "E" which you had previously set in
 place with your left hand 4th finger.

 Step 5: now drag the left hand fourth finger downwards creating
 another pull-off, again the string will return to it's point of
 rest this time playing the note "C" on the 8th fret first string.

 The power in Van Halen's solo's comes from his music not from his

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