David Lee Roth Reveals The Secret Eddie Van Halen Guitar Solo
David Lee Roth at Lipps Service, Dash Radio Show - Lipps Service / Youtube
Eddie Van Halen was the star that many guitarists wished they could catch. Being one of the most celebrated musicians of our time, his complex style of playing and innovative use of all corners of his guitar were the things he was well-known for. Combining his rapid techniques with hammer-ons, pull-offs, and many more were his thing that others seemed to have difficulty achieving.
Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains once told BBC that Eddie is a “once- or twice-in-a-century” type of a person. “There’s Hendrix, and there’s Eddie Van Halen. Those two guys tilted the world on its axis.” Seeing as one of the artists who helped shaped the era of music through his band, Van Halen, it’s always great to know the insider techniques that every fan or Van Halen-wannabes wanted to acquire from the master. And who’s more reliable to spill that trivial fact, than from Mr. David Lee Roth himself?
David Lee Roth, ex-frontman of Van Halen, revealed the secret behind Eddie’s genius. From an interview with Joe Rogan, he told how the late guitarist makes the solos of every Van Halen track, which is more complicated than it sounds.
“You had to really walk in with your solo written and play, and you’d work it until you really had that thing with crescendos,” Roth explained. Furthermore, he added: “once there were many tracks, guys would come in and just wing it. ‘Okay, let’s try one,’ and then, ‘Okay, that’s fine, let’s do it again – Track 2’, and then just make it up as they go.”
When Van Halen started to get a hang of what Roth referred to as “thematic solos,” he would create six different versions of the solos and would start to just move those channels in different positions, and then go learn that solo for himself.
“It became a gymnastic effort, more elbow-and-shoulder to get his hand from the far end of the fretboard all the way up to the pickup and back to duplicate that approach,” he said. Such a beautiful and interesting way of learning it, without the gist of contextualizing so like a book.
You can watch the clip below.