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Lyle Ronglien >> Rock Legends >>


Lesson Sample

Lyle: Tonight you'll explore the style of rock guitar legend Edward Van Halen. In the '80s, he was a guitar player who made his own template for rock guitar licks. He combined hammer-ons, pull-offs, two-handed tapping, and a trunk full of effects and other techniques to create his own style that was mimicked by almost every other guitarist in that decade.

Lyle: Listen to the "Lesson Sample". You will hear many trademark licks from EVH. During the lesson, you will learn how to play all of these licks.

Lyle: So much has been written and documented on Eddie's guitars, amps, tone, effects and technique. I'll try to break it down simply for you. Starting with his guitar, he used a strat style guitar with a humbucker in the bridge position during the first part of his career. He used Marshall amps and cabs. The effects he typically used at different times include Phase, Flanger, Echo/Delay and Chorus. Later in his career he designed his own guitars (Wolfgang) and amps (5150), which were mass-produced by a major instrument company so you too could sound just like him! Suggested listening: Van Halen, Fair Warning, and 1984 are 3 of my favorite albums.

Lyle: The first part of the lesson sample has a two-handed tapping riff that EVH is well know for.

Lyle: Rest your thumb of your right hand on the top side of the neck for support as your right hand index finger taps/hammers the notes on the 12th fret.

Lyle: I'll show you a video clip of this riff in a minute. Notice the riff has 2 parts - ascending and descending. What I'm doing in the intro of the lesson sample is playing this riff plus ascending again, then I go into this riff:

Lyle: Watch this video clip of both riffs together:

intro solo

Lyle: The virtual fretboard displays what fingers to use.

T = tap with right hand index finger,
1 is index finger of left hand,
3 is ring finger of left hand...

Lyle: Let's move on to rhythm guitar riffs in the style of EVH.

Lyle: After the tapping intro riff, I made a rhythm riff that has the EVH sound and feel to it. Listen to this riff:

rhythm riff 1

Lyle: As far as tone, try using a phase effect set to a slow speed. Eddie used the MXR Phase 90 pedal for this type of sound.

Lyle: The use of major and minor 3rds in this rhythm riff is a signature style of EVH. Here's a jam track to practice this riff with:

jam track - rhythm riff 1

Lyle: I think of that riff as the "chorus" riff. I made a "verse" riff that goes like this:

rhythm riff 2

kevin: How do you do the palm mute?

Lyle: Kevin, rest the heal of your hand on the open 6th string.

kevin: So the heal is used to mute the string?

Lyle: Yes Kevin.

Lyle: Rhythm riff 2 has the open 6th string again, droning through the whole riff.

Lyle: The chords are built on the "inside" of the neck, using just the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings.

Lyle: Here's a jam track for rhythm riff 2:

jam track - rhythm riff 2

Teacher: You don't have to palm mute the open 6th string for rhythm riff 2. If you listen carefully to the tab file you'll hear how clear the sound of the open 6th string rings through, un-muted.

Lyle: In the lesson sample, the "song structure" is:

tapping riff - intro
chorus -
rhythm riff 1
verse -
rhythm riff 2
chorus -
rhythm riff 1 again
solo -
rhythm riff 3

Lyle: You've just learned the intro, and the two rhythm riffs that make up what I call a chorus and verse riffs.

Lyle: If you analyze other signature riffs from other rock legends, you notice that each legend has a little different way of playing. That's what I'm trying to show you in these lessons.

Lyle: Ok, now on to the rhythm guitar part for the solo section at the end of the lesson sample:

rhythm riff 3

Lyle: Here's a dedicated jam track for rhythm riff 3:

jam track - rhythm riff 3

Lyle: The solo section (key of E minor) of the lesson sample has some signature riffs in the style of EVH. The first riff is using basic blues/rock riffs but the cool riff that has the EVH sound to it in my opinion is the 2nd half of bar 4, (12th fret/2nd string to 15th fret/3rd string and repeat).

solo - riff 1

Lyle: The next riff has a whammy bar attached to it!

solo - riff 2

Lyle: The next riff has a familiar type of hammer-on run that you would hear EVH play in solos from Jump and Top Jimmy:

solo - riff 3

Lyle: The next riff uses the two-handed tapping technique like the intro riff of the lesson.

Steve: Any tips on getting a good tapping sound?

Lyle: Keep the other strings muted so they don't make noise.

Lyle: This next riff is the follow-up:

Lyle: Here's a video that I hope will show this better for riff 4:

solo - riff 4

Lyle: This riff has a couple of signature techniques of Eddie's.

1. The sliding of the right hand index finger (16th fret/3rd string),

2. The "pre-dip/bend" of the whammy bar before the 14th fret of the 3rd string is played in the 3rd and 4th measure.

Lyle: The final riff of the solo is another signature riff in the EVH style, playing a scale on one string while picking each note as fast as you can!

solo - riff 5

Steve: Yea, he does that in Eruption

Lyle: Memorize all of these solo riffs and use this jam track to help you play them all together:

jam track - with solo

Lyle: Here's a jam track of all the rhythm riffs covered in this lesson.

Lyle: You'll first play:

rhythm riff 1, then
rhythm riff 2, then back to
rhythm riff 1, then to
rhythm riff 3 - solo section, just like in the lesson sample.

jam track - full version

Lyle: These have been a few rhythm riffs and solo riffs in the style of one of the all time great legends of the rock guitar, EVH. If you would like to learn more of his style, riffs or even songs, I can teach you in your own private lesson just like this archive. Contact me by email at: for more info. Thanks and hope you enjoyed this lesson on one of my favorite rock legends! - Lyle

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