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Many of Van Halen’s biggest hits were played on Eddie’s homemade “Frankenstrat” ​​guitar

Eddie Van Hallen, who died at the age of 65, has opened up dozens of new possibilities for the electric guitar through his innovative and largely self-contained techniques.

The guitarist, who combines lightning-fast fast capture techniques with hammer and drag, complex harmonics and a suite of innovative, patented instrumentation, has become a major star for generations of musicians.

His friend Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chen said earlier this year, “Ed is a guy who’s the kind that happens once or twice a century.” “There is Hendrix, and there is Eddie Van Hallen. These two people tended the world towards its axis.”

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Fellow guitar legend Joe Satriani said in 2015: “Eddie put the smile back on the rock guitar at a time when everything was so lively. He also dreaded the hell out of a million guitarists because he was so good.”

‘Beyond the mind’

Van Hallen, the son of a Dutch band leader, was originally a pianist and used to perform at weddings and bar parties with his family after they immigrated to Pasadena, California, in 1962.

Fantastic talent, he beat 5,000 students to take first prize in playing a local piano for four consecutive years, despite not being able to read a musical note.

“You fooled my teacher for six years,” He told Rolling Stone magazine in 1995. “He never knew. I was watching his fingers, playing it.”

In his teens, he switched to drums, then guitar, and formed his first band with his brother Alex in 1964. The Broken Combs made his debut lunchtime at Pasadena Elementary School, cementing the siblings’ desire to become professional musicians.

Eddie started out with a cream three-rock tradition in the UK, and learned Eric Clapton’s solos with note.

But he was watching Led Zeppelin at the Los Angeles Forum in the early 1970s which changed playing the guitar forever. The lamp went off while Jimmy Page was playing the Heartbreaker solo, using both hands to tap the notes on the guitar neck.

For Page, it was a showcase opportunity – but Eddie took the technique and refined it, enabling him to play a series of seemingly impossible tones and compressed harmonics.

“It’s like having a sixth finger on your left hand,” Explained in 1978. “Instead of picking, she strikes a note on the fretboard.”

The approach was so revolutionary that Alex encouraged his brother to play with his back to the crowd so that other bands wouldn’t steal him before Van Halen struck a record deal.

Once their self-titled debut album was released in 1978, fellow Eddie guitarists were dazzled.

“It was amazing,” said Ozzy Osborne guitarist Zach Wilde. “This can’t be a guitar.” What is that? ”

Phast Phreddie Patterson, a LA punk musician, wrote in a 1978 issue of Waxpaper: “Edward cries his guitar as if his life depended on it. A boyish smile… Like a kid with a new toy, he tries to get as many sounds out of his musical instrument as possible electronically. do not believe “.

“No” to long solos

Eddie never claimed to have invented the “two-flicks” technique – classical guitarists used to pick up their hands to play the notes their angry hand had typically covered for years – but he made it popular to rock audiences.

“On top of that, I haven’t really heard anyone do to her what I did,” he said in a 2017 interview. That was an actual piece of music.

That, really, is the key. Eddie always prioritized melody and feeling over flashy technology. And while Van Halen leaned toward hard rock, they always used attractive hooks and memorable shelves.

Some of his best businesses were more economical. In Jamie’s Cryin Chorus, David Lee Roth’s vocalist (“Oh-oh-oh Jamie’s crying”) responds with a simple sentence of two notes perfectly characterized by the subtlety of the Motown support sound.

In the recording, he kept even the solos short, organized like mini moves within songs, with a set beginning, middle and ending.

“I haven’t heard anyone make an interesting, long-running guitar solo outside of early Clapton,” he noted.

One exception to Eruption, comes from Van Hallen’s debut album, which is a mere 102 seconds of solo hot fusion as Eddie divebombs over the fretboard, incorporating both classic scales and a ‘two-flick’.

The song was originally a warm-up exercise for a guitarist, but when producer Ted Templeman heard it, he smartly realized it was worth a show.

Eddie later recalls: “I played it two or three times to record, and we kept the music that seemed to be flowing.” “I didn’t play it right. There’s a mistake at the end of it. Whenever I hear it, I always think, Oh man, I could play better.”

Always a perfectionist, he even surpassed Michael Jackson. After Eddie was asked to play in 1983’s Beat It, Eddie not only scored one of his most memorable solos, but he also rearranged the song.

“I didn’t know how he would react.” Eddie told CNN. So I warned him before he listened. I said, “Look, I changed the middle of your song. “

“Now on my mind, his bodyguards either kick me out for slaughtering his song, or he’ll love it. So he listened to it, turned towards me and went,” Wow, thank you so much passion for not just getting into a solo, but caring about the song and making it better. “

According to legend, Eddie’s 20-second single in Beat It catches fire the speakers in the studio’s control room are on fire. In the heat, the seemingly insurmountable barrier between white rocks and black pop has been torn down on the ground.

By the end of the 1980s, Van Hallen’s fingerprints were pervasive in rock music – but the star dismissed many of his followers as “typewriters”.

“They all play as fast as they can, as loud as they can, and shout as loud as possible. But they don’t shout or play fast with unique quality,” He said 1985. Leave me cool.

“Always messing up”

But while his gameplay unleashed thousands of copycats, that wasn’t Eddie’s only innovation.

In 1985, he is Patented device Musicians are allowed to tie a guitar around their necks and hold it in a horizontal position “to create new techniques and sounds previously unknown to any player.”

It also created a file A new type of guitar head And invented a device, Commonly known as D-Tuna, Allowing guitarists to switch alternate notes on the fly. Along with guitarist Floyd Rose, he even created a beat bar that works without letting the strings out of tune.

Talk to Popular Mechanics 2015Eddie said he had “always been a fixer” and began tweaking his tools out of necessity.

“My style of playing really grew from the fact that I couldn’t stand the pedal distortion. I had to try to get those sounds off my guitar … so I started knocking with a screwdriver.”

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Van Hallen was even more insulting and mocking than the 1970s Bruges giant

Eddie Van Halen’s custom-built guitars gave unique tone and sound, while the famous Shark – cut into ‘Flying V’ with a chainsaw – inspired dozens of aspiring guitarists to sabotage their instruments.

Even his great movie “Frankenstrat” ​​was featured in an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York last year.

He told Guitar Player magazine, “Nobody taught me how to work on the guitar: I learned by trial and error.” “I messed up a lot of good guitars this way, but now I know what to do, and I can do whatever I want to get it just the way I want it. I hate buying from the store, off-shelf guitars.”

The craftsmanship was evidence of an almost obsessive drive to conjure up the sounds Eddie Van Hallen heard in his head. It may not have been easy for him to work with him – the band’s internal politics and changing formations were complicated, to say the least – but it’s hard to underestimate his love and influence on rock.

“When I come home on a break, I lock myself in my room and play the guitar,” He told Guitar World in 1981. “After two or three hours, I start to enter this full meditation. It’s a feeling that few people feel, and that’s usually when I come to stranger things. It just flows.”

“If you’re a musician, you play until you die. It’s no ordinary job.”

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