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Storm Stenvold >> Eddie Van Halen style >>
Lesson Subject: Eddie Van Halen Style
What you learn: Part III
Storm: Storm Stenvold

Lesson Sample - Two Handed Soloing

Storm: Hi everyone. Some two-hand tapping and assorted mayhem in the Eddie Van Halen style tonight. Lots of notes to be sure. Right-hand, or two-hand, tapping is Eddie Van Halen's signature technique, using both hands on the fretboard. It is a nice technique to add to your repertoire. Wide intervals, different note combinations, attention grabbing speed! This lesson sample may be fast, but two-hand technique is rather easy to work up to flashy speeds. You could look at it as an extension of 'legato' technique, using hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Storm: Instead of picking notes with the right hand, one uses the same technique as a left hand hammer-on. To approximate Eddie's 'Brown Sound' I am using the Soldano setting on the Line 6 POD. Some delay as well. Your fingertips may get sore the first couple weeks tapping if this is new. It will go away. Here is an exercise to get warmed up with. Circled, highlighted notes mean tap.

Storm: Good tapping technique will incorporate a couple of important things. Aim your tap just to the left, or 'behind' the fret and slightly 'flick' the string as your tap hand comes up. Next, try for an even volume between the tapped notes and the notes in the left hand. This will make your tapping sound fluid. Finally, be aware of muting. This is important so open strings don't ring all over the place. Our next exercise uses a favorite move of Eddie's. Add a hammer-on in the left hand to create a 3 note tap pattern.

Storm: Notice that both of these exercises switch strings. Try one string to start, then work on moving across strings. Try the same phrase on other strings as well. Let's breakdown some of the riffs from the lesson sample.

Storm: This is the opening riff from the lesson sample. These licks don't go in order of difficulty.

'Mean' Tapping Position

Storm: This riff is a great attention getter for a live solo. Eddie used to turn his back to the audience in the early days so they wouldn't know how he got these licks.

Mean Tapping Riff Audio

'Mean' Tapping Riff (297k)

Storm: It is a pretty bizarre phrase. Use the index finger to tap the 1st and 2nd strings at the 12th fret. Use the left hand to strike muted strings near the nut. And use the right hand thumb to sound the 6th string at the 12th fret.

Storm: This riff uses the index and middle fingers to tap two notes at the same time. This takes a guitar with low action and/or strong hands to get the hammer-ons.

Double Stop Tap Audio

Double Stop Tap

Storm: Here comes a double stop tap variation. This uses both a hammer-on, then a slide, in the left hand.

Double-Stop Tap - Riff 2

Double-Stop Tap - Riff 2

Storm: This next riff keeps the same note going in the right hand while moving the fretted note in the left. Keeping the same note going over a riff is called a 'pedal point'. Very classical sounding.

Pedal Point Tap Audio

Pedal Point Tap

Storm: It has an almost classical sound. Van Halen grew up playing violin and piano. The next riff uses a tapping figure moving across the strings. 'Hammer from nowhere' means the string change is started by a left hand hammer-on. A cool, sneaky move.

Hammer-On from Nowhere Tap

Storm: Notice the same figure goes up in the left hand, then back down the same frets. This next style riff is like Eddie Van Halen's solo 'Eruption'.

Eruption Tap

Eruption Tap

Eruption Tap - Part II

'Eruption' Tap - Part II

Tap Harmonics along E String

Storm: Our last two-hand technique comes near the end of lesson sample. "Tap Harmonics". They are sounded by tapping with the index or middle finger directly on top of the designated fret, leaving the finger on the string for a split second.

Tap Harmonic

Storm: Harmonics occur at a repeating distance from open string note.

natural harmonics

Storm: What Eddie found out is that these same distances work for fretted notes as well. 12 frets above, 7 frets, 5 frets, etc.

Storm: Well, that is all the time for tonight. Next week, we'll have a backing track. And some of Eddie's 'Neat Noises'. Thanks guys. Keep practicing!

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