Eddie Van Halen’s 5 Greatest Guitar Solos

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Eddie Van Halen was one of the most iconic guitarists of all time; One can not deny it. As the leader of the rock titans, Van Halen, he is credited with developing guitar techniques that we now see ubiquitous in the harshest forms of rock music. Everywhere, from metallic hardcore to black metal and even pop music, you see traces of his influence.

It was primarily the two-handed string tapping technique that Van Halen became known to have developed, going beyond the rudimentary form that Steve Hackett of Genesis and Harvey Mandel had used earlier. While shredders like these preceded it, at the time Van Halen’s style was quite unique. In this sense, it can be hailed as a repackaging of guitar virtuosity for the future, and as a result it has influenced countless subsequent shredders.

Unsurprisingly, it was Eddie and his brother Alex who formed what would become the Van Halen Band in 1972. However, they didn’t choose to use their last name until two years later. They quickly became regulars on the LA rock circuit and in 1977 they signed a major deal with Warner Records. Their first album, Van halen, was released in February of the following year, and it featured classics such as “Runnin” with the Devil “and” Ain’t Talkin “” bout Love “. It featured Halen’s instantly iconic two-handed tapping technique and named him one of the greatest axmen of the modern era.

The band then embarked on a prolific recording career and, until the early 1980s, they had established themselves as one of the greatest rock groups in the world. Their sixth album, 1984, boasted of the hit “Jump” and was five times platinum the year after its release. By the end of the decade, Van Halen was considered one of the most influential rock bands of all time, a status they could not have developed without the infallible talent of Eddie Van Halen.

Whether you liked guitar virtuosity or not, Eddie Van Halen’s technical mastery on the guitar was incredible, and he couldn’t be denied his place in the halls of the six-string greats. Not only was he a pioneering shredder, or only Van Halen’s guitarist, Eddie Halen also made a name for himself with his glitzy collaborations and development of equipment to help play the guitar.

Most famous, he played the guitar solo on Michael Jackson’s mega-hit “Beat It”, but he has also worked with greats such as Gene Simmons, Roger Waters, Black Sabbath and even LL Cool J. He has also teamed up with his brother to write the soundtracks for films such as Tornado and The wild life.

In a way showing himself the guitarist of a guitarist, Eddie Van Halen received three guitar-related patents during his lifetime. The first was a collapsible prop that supported a flat guitar, allowing players to clap the guitar with both hands as if it were a piano. The second was a tension adjustment tailpiece allowing players to change the height of the strings, and the third was an ornamental design for the headstock of his signature model Peavey EVH Wolfgang.

Influenced by Jimmy Page and other notable guitarists, Van Halen’s development of shredding as a concept was essential. In a way, he can be seen as the bridge between Jimmy Page and that of modern virtuosos such as Dragonforce. A true innovator, he has inspired everyone from Jack White to Tom Morello.

Even though he sadly passed away in 2020, Van Halen’s contributions to music and guitar playing will not be forgotten. A true game changer, it’s no surprise that today’s young guitarists see his work as a coveted source of inspiration.

It got us thinking then, what are Eddie Van Halen’s best guitar solos of all time? It was a thankless task, but we managed to reduce it to just 5, trying to convey a concise picture of the guitar god that he was. This is only our opinion, but should be used as a starting point for a healthy conversation.

Eddie Van Halen’s 5 Greatest Solos:

‘Eruption’

Where else but to start the list with the song that announced Eddie Van Halen to the world? Only 1:42 in duration is the majesty of “Eruption”. With diving bombs, arpeggios and of course, two-handed strikes, it’s rightly hailed as one of the greatest guitar solos of all time.

Van Halen’s brilliance on ‘Eruption’ is dizzying. It’s a glorious racquet that many have tried and failed to emulate, due to the unmatched technical ability of the late legend.

‘Beat it’

No Van Halen solo list would be complete without 1982’s “Beat It”. An absolute classic, it was the first time that shredding was properly appropriated by the general public. Without it, you could be saying goodbye to Santana and Rob Thomas’ hilarious 1999 collaboration, “Smooth.” Take what you want.

“Beat It” would not have had the same grain without the contribution of Van Halen. His solo is a pocket version of the visceral work he did as part of his own group. Featuring harmonics, arpeggios and diving bombs, the solo is as famous as the song – a wonderful achievement.

‘In love with his teacher’

From their classic album, 1984, ‘Hot for Teacher’ has become one of the greatest metal songs of the 80s. A true classic, there is no contemporary shredder that hasn’t been somewhat influenced by Van Halen’s guitar movements. on the track. Comprised of a mix of glam and speed metal, Van Halen’s playing from start to finish is amazing.

From the solo at the start to the endless riffs he produces in the song, his work on ‘Hot for Teacher’ is really something. So ridiculously ’80s, the solo in the middle is so visceral it feels like Van Halen could slip up anytime, but then we realize it’s Eddie Van Halen.

It was his thing. Fast and precise, this is one of his most respected solos.

‘Cathedral’

From the 1983 band’s record Broken driver, the instrumental “Cathedral” is one of their most underrated delicacies. Aptly named given that Van Halen’s guitar sounds like a church organ, his effects-drenched guitar is one of the most experimental sounds the band have ever made.

More in line with something that Kraftwerk or New Order could produce, Broken pilot saw the band at one of their darkest moments, and Van Halen’s solo on “Cathedral” is one of the most notable.

Of the song, the guitar hero said, “On this cut I use the volume knob a lot. If you turn it up and down too quickly, it heats up and freezes. I did two takes of this song, and right at the end of the second take the volume knob just froze, just stopped.

‘Jump’

It might shock Van Halen purists, but ‘Jump’ is one of the best Eddie Van Halen solos of all time, whether you like it or not. The band’s most anthemic song was completed with one of Van Halen’s best solo examples.

It breaks the song perfectly, knocking it out of the synth-drenched main body abruptly before interlocking with the synth arpeggio again at the end of the section.

Showcasing all of Van Halen’s classic characteristics, pinched overtones, arpeggios and tapping, this short burst, brimming with technique, is his most memorable in Van Halen Limits.

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