| play guitar | Van Halen
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 =
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
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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