Eddie Van Halen’s mark on rock n roll cannot be understated. Eddie Van Halen’s playing style was as revolutionary as Jimi Hendrix’s, and his guitar modification was as revolutionary as Les Paul’s.
Eddie Van Halen was a pioneer of the two-handed tapping technique, which he devised after watching Jimmy Page play hammer-ons and pull offs with his right hand without picking with his right hand. This method would create an otherworldly guitar sound, completely stunning listeners at the time.
Van Halen’s solo on “Eruption” epitomized this innovation, completely redefining what the guitar solo could be or sound like. Eddie Van Halen also lent his guitar skills to Michael Jackson’s hit “Beat It,” playing what is perhaps the most famous guitar solo of all time. Van Halen recorded it for free, and caused the studio monitors to catch fire during the recording. Van Halen’s guitar tinkering was almost as legendary as his playing.
Looking to combine his favorite features of Fender and Gibson guitars, he built his legendary “Frankenstrat” out of miscellaneous guitar parts. Van Halen had effectively opened up an entirely new world of guitar manufacturing, creating a demand for new sounds and new instruments that would capture a new, faster, better sound.
Though he was gone far too soon, Eddie Van Halen’s mark on music at large will not be soon forgotten. As John Coltrane was to the saxophone, Eddie Van Halen was to the electric guitar, reinventing, innovating, and experimenting to push the boundaries of what could be played.
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