Edward Van Halen: Understanding The Man

Learn how Eddie did some of his tricks and learn how to incorparate them into your own playing styles, this lesson will go in depth with EvH style and offer ideas towards your own abilitys.

Ultimate Guitar
WE all know that ed is one of the best of the best and is cirtanly the best tapping guitarest ever, he took it to a whole new level then just playing tripples. So with out wasting time lest get right into his styles because my goal is to inspired you with his crazy ability to amaze people every time. Sorry about any spelling mistakes :\ First of lets start with something basic. The A blues scale
this is one of the most commonly used scales that eddie used and is arguably his fav. About 70% of his songs use this scale. Learn this scale and as many other scales (Eb-G# + all the the fancey other scales)as you can and practic with them and just play around and I garenty you will get something catchy out of it. You also need to know how to transfer the scales like for example witht the A Blues you and move it up the neck of the guitar useing this progrestion, there are all kinds of progrestions for scales but these two are most common around the fret bored.
that would be the next scale the conects to the a blues NOW back to Eddie, if you want to understand Eddie you have to understand some of his favourite tricks with the guitar like natural harmonics, advanced tapping and using the wammy bar. Eddie realy likes to use those natural harmonics for his small fills, it gives the music a sorta chillin sensation but how do they work, well there are more detailed lessons on this subject but I'm gona share some of the basics lets take a basic fill
what you want to do for this is set one of your fingers very gentaly over the fret bar of the 7th fret and with out pushing down at all just strum you should get a nice ringing noise, you can transfer this in all sorts of place on the fret bored but its most noticable on the 5th 7th 12th and if you have a strat over the pick ups closest to the neck of the guitar. The natrual harmonic over the pickups is special though because its known as a perfect harmonic. Now ed usaly does more then just one row of harmonics at a time he will move his hand to other notes, I feel its importand that you know that the lower the note that is played as a natual harmonic the higher the harmonic will sound. Now lets get into some tapping, lets see some examples of tapping methodes Eddie uses First the LONG REACH pull offs This example is from spanish fly it shows how makeing the extra reach can add to the dynamics of the solo expecaly for flemenco style playing
    ^fast build up         ^tapx6    ^tapx6  ^tapx6
   hammer on tapping
Now some of you may be saying that that stretch form 9-4 is burning thats good, once you play it through enough it stops burning and opens up an even wider range of notes to combine into you own tapping (ex deminished) sequences I strongly recomend learning the this song. Eddie was also a shredding guitarist and he would through in crazy long reach shredding combos two to spice up the moment you should check out the beat it solo or maby ice cream man solo, there are plenty other ones out there but those are the two i like the best. Now lets try something like SLIDING and tapping at the same time =) example one
e|--------------| what you wanna do is tho hammer on the 12 fret (the B)to 
B|-12h15t17/----| the 15th fret (D) the tapp the 17th fret (E) with your  
G|--------------| right index and slide it towards the pick ups repeatively 
D|--------------| the faster its done the more the edge.
example 2
This one is trickier to use then others just because of the sound you get, what you want to do is after you tap the 12thfret (B) you will slide your ring fingerall the way up to the 17th fret (E) and back down to the 8th (G) again you can also after you slide to the 17th fret (E) move you hand to a diffent tapping position to add to the swich of notes. Lets move on to something that is less commen but so cool to play around with, its called single note tapping let me give you some example from eddies live solos.
example 1
    |---tap 12----------|
B|--5h7h8/10\8p7p5\4/5\4-------------------|tap the 12th fret on the B 
G|-----------------------------------------|string and pull off to each note
example 2 this ones my fav =]
For this one you have to bend up the the 7th fret (D) on the G string and keep it held bent up a whole note while tapping the other notes with you index finger on your right hand Think you have all that covered how about OPEN STRING tapping pull offs I personaly love throwing these into my music that I make up.
  and up a sting
Getting the hang of the open pull off is hard at first but all you need is practice and you'll have it in no time at all, and once you play around with differnt sequences and make up your own crazy tapping solos. I like to call this one the tapping downward spiral
e|--------------------------------------|fairly strait forward.
B|-t12p10p7-t12p9p6-t12p8p5-t12p7p4-----|tap each segment twice before
G|----^--------^-------^-------^--------|continuing to the next, for added 
D|---x2--------x2------x2-------x2------|effect even try useing this in 
A|--------------------------------------|reverse accending instead of decent
Next lets take it to the extream by tackleing TAPPING HARMONICS Now let me tell you this is very hard to get the hang of and it took me a long time to figur out how to ge the right sound to come out of the notes, now if you have ever herd the intro to the song mean streets it all tapping harmonics and sounds realy cool but is very very dificult to learn if you can't do tapping harmonics. But if you learn it it you can play anything. So im going to give you some notes to practice with <#> = harmonic
e|--------------------------------------------------|then decend 
e|----------------------------------------------|then decend
THIS IS IMPORTIANED! Now that you know the simple tapping sequences I can tell you how to make the harmonic to come out, this is not easy to do willy nilly at first, and I'm amazed when eddie does it on stage live. The way to ge the harmonic out may be different for every one because of fingur sizes, but what you want to do is pretty much slap the guitar on the fret bar, yes the little metal bar with the tip of your fingur and then imediently pull your fingur off the fret board being carefull not to stunt the harmonic, Eddie liked to play around with different things to try to make new noises or imatate macheins, now if you wanna realy learn from the man him self you sould buy some sound equipment and play around with it see what you get out of it but don't just stop there try using different things on your strings and see what cool noises you can creat, I like using my shoe laces on different parts of my guitar to make some wild sounds. Eddie van halen Wammy bar tricks Eddie has a lot of style when on stage using his wammy bar, he has fun with it dances with the noise and makes it look great. so here are a cupple classic Edward van halen wammy bar tricks for you to play with and develop for your self.
   open G dive bomb
B|----------------------|simplest of them all just strum an open G and 
G|--0-W-dive------------|slowly bend you wammy bar down.

  open G dive bomb with flair
B|-------------------------|For this do the same as the regular dive bomb
G|--0-W-dive-W-W-W---------|but when u release wiggle the hell out of the 

     wammy pull off
B|-------------------------|strum the 7th fret and dive bomb it but quickly
G|-7-W-p-5-h-7-W-p-5-------|pull off to the 5th fret and let go of the 

   dive bomb reboot
B|-------------------------|this one is cool and you can transfer it with 
G|-0-W-Dive----------------|all the notes that you dive bomb, like an open  
D|-------------------------|low E dive bombed then a full bend on the 3rd 
A|-----------5fb-----------|fret on the B string or a full bend on the 15th 
E|-------------------------|high E string.

  Makeing your guitar scream
B|-------------------------|this is the meat and potatos, to do this it 
G|-0-W-Dive-h<3>-W-slowdive|takes a bit of practice but what you want to   
D|-------------------------|do is to use your middle fingur on you left hand
A|-------------------------|to strum the open G and then quickly dive bomb 
while at the same time doing a hammeron natural harmonic over the 3rd fret then releacing the whammy bar to ge the scream then after that slowly decending the bar again to creat the fading effect. you can try it over different harmonics to create more unique screams There are plenty of other crazy sounds to be made using your trusty whammy bar so don't think this is all you can do with them, you sould realy watch the live without a net eruption solo on youtube its about 11 minutes but is an amazing solo, one of his best. Ok so now that we have that behide us lets have some fun with HYBRIDS. Hybrids are just basicly a combination of 4 or more notes taped at a time, this is where knowing your scales comes in handy to makeing hybrids because if you know your scales you will know what 4 notes you can use. open string tapping would be considered hybrid aswell. This one is a minor A key and quite posable the most famous hybrid ever
e|--t12t12p8p7p5-------|this is quite simple tapping 12 (e) twice before 
B|---------------------|pulling off to the tripplets.
Now you don't have to stop with one string tapping. You can alternate strings also when playing any type of tapping expesaly hybrids. Now just because I like you guys I'm going to throw in my fav hybrid tapping segment.
The perfect effect for this is to use destortion with a phaser or I like to use a cry baby wah wah 1/4 tilt to get a crunching sound when I play live. I alwas include this one because its so fun to play. I also recomend listening to the introuder and cathedral, there are other songs two that I'm sure you can find but the introuder is a great example of how you don't need actual notes to make a song. Cathedral is a great example of how you can use effects to spice the music up or to even make a solo song, I think that cathedral is a super fun one to play but its anoying when the volume nob freeze, *sigh* yes its happened twice to me and I've had to replace the nob each time. So its a fun one to play but just don't play it over and over again for like 2-3 hours because Ed wasn't lieing when he said it will freeze if you over work it When thinking about creating music or songs or solos don't be afraid to think out side the box trying notes that wouldn't usaly work and keep working at it to get them to fit into your music. I realy hope that you take what I have offered to you hear and learn from it and evolve it and make your own ablitys wild with flair, use this knowlage to progress and discover your own styles, not to copy but to flurish. Thank you

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    seriously man, I know you warned everyone in the begining, but couldn't you have used spell check, just once before finishing a paragraph... I know I would before posting an article like this....
    sorry abouts that my computers pretty low tech and not that great of programs to write with and im no pro writer im a guitarist... sorry again
    i thought this was a freakin awsome lesson and ppl sould be so criticul about spelling, dont worry about it man this lessons great and is going to inspire alot of ppl when they write there own music, and dont worry not everybody is blessed with great tech and you just gota be happy you got ur point across
    www.spellcheck.net since you don't have the ability to do it otherwise try here, i know you must have an internet connection, so next time you can avoid the errors. I'm not trying to put you down for not being a great speller, trust me i'm not that great at it either, it's just really distracting for me, and for some people it makes it seem like you can't possibly know what you're talking about if you can't spell... trust me I had to do several psyche experiments on this specific subject....
    o i forgot to mention that some of the exercises are pretty fun especially the sliding and tapping exercise.