When David Lee Roth Revealed The Secret Formula Of Eddie Van Halen’s Guitar Solos
Eddie Van Halen quickly became the God of Guitar after forming Van Halen with his brother Alex, bassist Mark Stone, and singer David Lee Roth. His influence has been a worldwide phenomenon for guitar players in rock and roll. He was also very well known for having an innovative approach to guitar playing as he invented the tapping guitar solo technique, which became popular after him.
Many rockstars have spoken about the icon since his death in 2020. It was tragic for such a star to pass away after battling cancer for years. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2000 and recovered in 2002. However, he was diagnosed again around 2014 and died from a stroke in October 2020.
Although Van Halen went through several lineup changes, all members were heartbroken following Eddie’s passing. Before his death, his bandmate David Lee Roth talked about him and his unique way of creating his legendary solos in the studio. He gave a specific explanation of how Eddie would go about creating a solo in the studio.
The Secret Of Eddie Van Halen’s Guitar Solos
According to David Lee Roth, Eddie’s secret to creating iconic solos included several aspects. As DLR stated, one of the aspects of a great Van Halen solo was the fact that it was ‘ built’ by Eddie. All of his guitar solos would have a beginning, middle, crescendo, and end. Roth resembled the early Van Halen recordings to Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s as when recording their early stuff, it had eight tracks, then they had to double up.
He also stated that one should work on their solo nonstop until they really have ‘that thing with crescendos.’ In his detailed statement, David also compared the original solo in Van Halen’s ‘Runnin’ With the Devil‘ to The Beatles solos and added that Van Halen’s was an example of ‘thematic solos.’ According to Roth, Eddie was showing a gymnastic effort to create the perfect solos which he described as ‘more elbow-and-shoulder to get his hand from the far end of the fretboard all the way up to the pickup and back to duplicate that approach to making solos.’
Here is how DLR described his bandmate’s technique in 2019:
“There are some specific reasons for all this. One of them is you had to build; it has a beginning, the middle, a crescendo, and an end. There are specific names for this. When we moved to more channels in the recording – when the Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded their early stuff, it had eight tracks, then you had to double up. Early Van Halen is the same thing.
You had to really walk in with your solo written and play, and you’d work it until you really had that thing with crescendos. Once there were many tracks, guys would come in and just wing it. ‘Okay, let’s try one,’ and then, ‘Okay, that’s fine, let’s do it again – Track 2,’ and then just make it up as they go.
Then when it’s time to mix, they’ll pull a little of Track 2 and a little of Track 6 and start moving those channels in a way that you’d never think. Original solos, ‘Runnin’ With the Devil,’ these are thematic solos, not The Beatles solos – thematic solos. When it started going like this, he’d record six different versions of the solos and then just start, ‘Move the channels, turn this one on, turn this one off,’ and then he’d have to go and learn the solo.
It became a gymnastic effort, more elbow-and-shoulder to get his hand from the far end of the fretboard all the way up to the pickup and back to duplicate that approach to making solos, so it was a very unique kind of way of creating a solo. It was utilizing the digital future, multi-tracking, and improvising.“
David also stated that they improvised a lot to create an abundance of tracks, and for him, this was a unique way of creating the perfect solo. Eddie’s efforts paid off throughout the years, as aside from his pleasant personality, he has won the hearts of many musicians and fans.