Van Halen

Char­lie Grif­fiths Runs With the Devil and Jumps Down to Panama to re­veal some of the sig­na­ture tech­niques of the fa­ther of mod­ern rock guitar.

Guitar Techniques - - LESSON: HARD ROCK -

first, fair Warn­ing, diver down, 1984 and 5150. These al­bums mark the di­vi­sion be­tween clas­sic rock and to­day's mod­ern era.

In this les­son we look at some of ed­die Van Halen’s sig­na­ture tech­niques start­ing with a play­ful up-tempo swung riff. This feel re­lies on solid pick­ing-hand tim­ing and is based on the first and third notes of a triplet rhythm. Count through the bar slowly ‘1 & a, 2 & a, 3 & a, 4 & a’ and play a down­stroke on all the num­bers and an upstroke on all the ‘a’ beats; down­strokes should there­fore be twice the length of up­strokes.

our next ex­am­ple fo­cuses on ed­die’s heav­ier side with a palm-muted dropped d riff. This riff wouldn’t be com­plete with­out the ad­di­tion of the mXr flanger ef­fect. The pre­ferred set­ting is with ‘man­ual’ and ‘width’ con­trols at 11 o’clock and ‘re­gen­er­a­tion’ set all the way up. 'Speed' should be set to match the song's tempo.

ed­die's rev­o­lu­tion­ary ap­proach to tone also un­locked the po­ten­tial for new tech­niques, such as nat­u­ral har­mon­ics that would not be au­di­ble with­out high gain. ed­die seam­lessly in­cor­po­rated the sound into tracks like Panama and Top Jimmy. The most user-friendly har­mon­ics can be found at the 12th and 5th frets: both oc­taves of the open string; and at the 7th fret, which is the 5th of the open string. find these har­mon­ics by lightly touch­ing the string di­rectly in line with the fret-wire and lift­ing the fin­ger off while si­mul­ta­ne­ously pick­ing the string. There are higher-pitched har­mon­ics avail­able be­low the fifth fret, which re­quire a lit­tle more prac­tise. a ma­jor 3rd can be found over the 4th fret whereas a 5th two oc­taves higher than the open string is si­t­u­ated slightly above the 3rd fret; this is usu­ally de­scribed as

Van Halen: changed the face and sound of rock guitar

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