Ain’t Talkin ’ ’Bout Love

Might as well jump… on a phaser

Total Guitar - - BLACK PEAKS -

Player Ed­die Van Halen Al­bum Van Halen (1978)

Gui­tar mod­ding, amp-push­ing, two-handed tap­ping… There were seem­ingly no rules Ed­die Van Halen couldn’t break. Be­fore this mav­er­ick came along, you didn’t have hum­buck­ers in Strats. At all. En­ter the ‘Franken­strat’, Ed­die’s iconic black-and-white-striped axe,

which fea­tured a PAF ’bucker swiped from an ES-335 and pow­ers this rau­cous de­but al­bum an­them. In the process, Ed­die pi­o­neered the ‘su­per-strat’.

Ed­die was also a lead­ing pro­po­nent of high-gain tones, reg­u­larly run­ning a Mar­shall Su­per Lead with vol­ume and tone con­trols on 10. This was then run through a vari­able trans­former to lower the vol­ume be­fore it hit an H&H power amp. Not only did this sag and com­pres­sion yield his leg­endary ‘brown sound’, but it also al­lowed him to em­ploy an Echoplex EP-3 tape echo in be­tween the Mar­shall and power amp with­out dis­tort­ing the re­peats. It’s this de­vice that pro­vides the slap­back echo on Ain’t talkin’ ’bout love’s stac­cato chords, although its preamp also works its own tonal magic.

And then there are EVH’S FX, mas­ter­fully em­ployed to en­hance key el­e­ments of the riff. In the in­tro, when Ed­die hits the end of each cy­cle, he kicks in an MXR Flanger for a vo­cal sweep that tick­les the eardrum. He also em­ploys the same com­pany’s Phase 90 for the track’s lead sec­tions. In to­day’s era of roar­ing dis­torted amps and al­len­com­pass­ing multi-ef­fects, it’s not too hard to pin down the sound, but the fact that Ed­die was able to rev­o­lu­tionise gui­tar tone with a rel­a­tively lim­ited ar­ray of tools is tes­ta­ment to his en­dur­ing legacy.

van wail’in Ed­die teaches a les­son in us­ing ef­fects to en­hance on this song

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