It’s the 2016 A to Z Blog Challenge, so I thought I’d focus on one of my favourite subjects: Guitars. Care to join me?
Van Halen, Eddie
Okay, hands up – who DOESN’T know who Eddie Van Halen is? The truth is, if you listened to pop/rock radio at all during the 80s and 90s, you couldn’t escape the distinctive sounds of Van Halen.
The trials and tribulations of the band are well-documented and, quite frankly, I’ve never been interested in the soap opera that seemed to dog the band, particularly where lead singers were concerned. As long as EVH strapped on his “Frankenstrat,” I was (and continue to be) one happy camper.
Eddie Van Halen is famous for his aggressive fretboard tapping technique as well as his use of harmonics and a tremolo picking technique very similar the fingerstyle roll used by classical guitarists. Tricky stuff, to be sure, but Eddie Van Halen handles all of it with a mastery that just leaves me shaking my head. He cites both Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page among his influences, but it’s clear that whatever debt he owes to both of them, he has more than paid it off.
As to his famous “Frankenstrat” – I have no idea what he started with but what he ended up with was a bodged up concoction of pickups, and body parts that would have made the good doctor jealous. What came to life under his fingers was a wall of guitar sound that could leave your nerve endings jangled but your ears blissed out, particularly if your mood just demanded screaming rock guitar noises.
I think I’ll let his music speak for itself: