Music

Eddie van Halen shows how he ‘invented’ his signature electric guitar tapping, has crowd in awe

February 20th, 2020

There is hardly anyone who hasn’t heard of the American hard rock band Van Halen.

They have won American Music Awards, Grammies and MTV Video Music Awards and are already recorded in history as a band whose guitarist popularised finger-tapping technique. This three-minute video is part of an interview with Eddie Van Halen at “What It Means to Be American” event at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

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The famous guitarist had a chat with music journalist Denise Quan and even demonstrated some of his tricks. This video shows us why Van Halen is considered to be one of the best guitar players in music history.

This famous guitarist has some turbo fast fingers.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

Even Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick said that he was floored the first time he heard Eddie van Halen play his guitar. Needless to say, he’s the kind of lead guitarist that inspires musicians.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

This video begins with some short conversation between Van Halen and the journalist, in the middle of which he’s asked to demonstrate everything he’s talking about. Van Halen stands up, picks up his guitar casually and starts playing some of his famous pieces.

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He says that people couldn’t search a lot of things before the Internet and that’s what made him experiment with his guitar. He was being very modest during this interview and said that he never claimed that he invented finger-tapping, but that he can explain how and when he figured out how to do it.

Finger-tapping is all about moving your guitar playing technique a little bit further.

Van Halen says he was inspired to start doing the finger-tapping trick on a Led Zeppelin concert, where he saw Jimmy Page playing guitar with one hand and having the other hand in the air.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

The traditional way to play the guitar would be to use only one hand on a guitar neck. Van Halen started using both hands on a guitar neck and popularized the two-handed tapping technique. This technique erupted thanks to Eddie van Halen’s showcase piece “Eruption” for Van Halen’s debut album.

This playing technique shook the world back in 1978.

Van Halen is very calm during this interview, and his playing is remarkable. The way he enjoys playing around with his guitar is very fun to watch.

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The most interesting thing about it is the fact that Van Halen talks about this technique in a simple manner, as if it wasn’t the thing that shook the musical world and became part of his band’s signature sound. You have to appreciate that modesty!

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

At one point in this video, Van Halen turns his guitar away from the audience and asks them to guess which hand he’s using to play: left or the right one. After hearing some answers being shouted from the audience, he just smiles and says: “I’m using both.” In the end of the video, he plays the famous “Eruption” and the audience is left in admiration.

This video has been around since 2015.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

Van Halen’s explanation about his famous guitar technique has become very popular.

Since it was posted, it has been viewed more than three million times since 2015. Many people in the comments called Van Halen “the greatest ever.” After watching this, we’re thinking he might have a good case!

To check out his awesome performance, be sure to watch the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: YouTube/Zócalo Public Square

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