#1
So my band finally agreed to let me play a Van Halen Song in our set and I ran into the problem of not quite knowing how to improvise a solo and riff over the song. Almost all of our songs are dopey bar blues with mostly stock pentatonic major and minor riffage, which I am good at; however, the song we want to play: "Eruption" transitioning into "You Really Got Me" is giving me trouble.

I can just about play "Eruption" note for note, but I have no idea what's going on underneath the notes.

HALP.
#3
Well, I think Eruption is one of those solos that should be played note for note (or at least parts of it). It won't sound like Eruption if you don't play certain parts in it (for example the iconic tapping part). But I wouldn't play Eruption. It's a bit of a cliche. Compose your own guitar solo if you want to play a guitar solo.

Also, Eruption is pretty much Eddie just "noodling around" with the guitar. There's really nothing "underneath the notes" - I mean, it's a guitar solo (I mean, guitar playing alone). It's just basic shredding and some cool tapping arpeggios and stuff like that. But if you want to be really unoriginal, learn the recognizable parts from Eruption (the tapping part being the most important, and the tremolo picking part is also pretty recognizable) and add your own parts to it. Just play what you feel like playing (maybe learn some other Van Halen solo stuff like Spanish Fly and Cathedral - Eddie combined parts of different solos in his live solos). I mean, it's your solo. Or just don't play a solo (which I would recommend, because to me that feels a bit wannabe, unless you are a really innovative guitarist).
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#4
We are a classic rock cover band so solos are like the whole point. Every time I have played eruption note for note without the transition the crowd loves it, even though the guitarists in the crowd know it's a bit cheesy.

The problem I have is knowing how to improvise during You Really Got Me, without sounding too bad.

For example before the tapping in Eruption there is that kind of "pre-chorus" part that sounds a bit diminished?

Is there like a scale or mode he tends to float through on you really got me? Or is it all just differently voiced pentatonics so to speak?
#5
Quote by str4t
Is there like a scale or mode he tends to float through on you really got me? Or is it all just differently voiced pentatonics so to speak?
Yeah pretty much just penta-blues noodling. It's Great! I love VH!!

Here's something I got sick of not seeing online:
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1635078
just remember Ed runs through that part Far-ricken quickly.
#6
This is most definitely the hardest part in eruption. I actually play it differently than both of those parts, trilling on 5-7 of the b and g string.
#7
Quote by str4t
We are a classic rock cover band so solos are like the whole point. Every time I have played eruption note for note without the transition the crowd loves it, even though the guitarists in the crowd know it's a bit cheesy.

The problem I have is knowing how to improvise during You Really Got Me, without sounding too bad.

For example before the tapping in Eruption there is that kind of "pre-chorus" part that sounds a bit diminished?

Is there like a scale or mode he tends to float through on you really got me? Or is it all just differently voiced pentatonics so to speak?

Pentatonic should work well in You Really Got Me.

Again, you don't need to improvise. Many solos sound great and can be played just like the original. Another way is to play the solo pretty similarly as on the record but a bit more freely. So you change some parts to your liking and still keep it sounding pretty close to the album version. Also, in cover bands you usually want to sound close to the original.

And as I said, if you want to play Eruption, take a couple of parts from it, maybe take a couple of parts from Eddie's other solos and add some of your own. Watch some of his live versions to get an idea how it's done live. Listen to which parts Eddie keeps the same and which parts he doesn't play at all. And he may add some random shredding between those parts. It's a guitar solo, you can do whatever you want to do. I would still suggest planning it. You can have improvised parts too, but when you are playing a solo alone, you want to be sure you have at least something to play.


Have something planned. No solo needs to be fully improvised. You may notice that most rock guitarists always play similar kind of solos in the same song - they may change some parts but usually they don't "rewrite" the solo every time they play it. And I wouldn't suggest fully improvising the solo if you can't even figure out what scale Eddie is playing and if you can't figure out which scale would work over the two note bassline.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#8
Oh that's actually good advice. I actually prefer to play most things note for note anyway. I guess in a cover band that would be better, especially since we're playing a lot of southern rock standards, people just want it to sound correct.
1999 MIM strat with 57/62 pups
Marshall DSL40C
Joyo-laden Pedal Train Mini
#9
Yeah.

If the original solo sounds good, there's no point in changing it, especially if you aren't great at improvising (or just don't know what to play). There's nothing wrong with playing the original solo note for note. Cover bands aren't meant to be original.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#10
^ Yeah, agreed. Why improvise if there's no real reason to and you're not confident doing it?
#13
I'm actually pretty good at improvising in our dopey bluesy songs and the wonderful psychedelic tune "Down by the River" by Neil Young, but I was hoping there was some secret theory thing that Eddie does that I just didn't understand.

Yes I saw your postmodern joke haha. I am aware of how stupid my super serious hobby can look to guitar people. I also love making songs that are aware of themselves so to speak.
1999 MIM strat with 57/62 pups
Marshall DSL40C
Joyo-laden Pedal Train Mini
Last edited by str4t at Jan 26, 2015,
#14
Almost all of our songs are dopey bar blues with mostly stock pentatonic major and minor riffage


so van halen should be pretty familiar territory for you
#18
Hey I take whatever gigs I can get. Not many places want to hire Van Halen bands where I live. It's all hokey stuff. I started playing guitar when I was 12 because I heard Eruption and refused to believe it was really a guitar. I learned it and never really thought about the theory behind it until now.
1999 MIM strat with 57/62 pups
Marshall DSL40C
Joyo-laden Pedal Train Mini
#19
You might want to practice improvisation at home for quite some time before trying to improvise live (speaking from personal experience here).

If you have close to no experience with improvisation, you might aswell forget everything you know about guitar, as your first improvisations will sound like you never touched an instrument before in your life...

Your technique and previous experience playing guitar is irrelevant. The ONLY way to get good at improvisation, is to actually improvise.