Who were Steve Jobs's greatest musical influences

Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen Private

Eddie Van Halen was born on January 26th, 1955 in Nijmmegen, the Netherlands. In 1962 he moved to California with his parents Jan and Eugenia Van Halen and brother Alex Van Halen, at which point he was already able to play the piano. His role models Jimi Hendrix and Wric Clapton eventually made him switch to the guitar.

From 1981 to 2007 Van Halen was married to the actress Valerie Bertinelli, with whom he had his son Wolfgang Van Halen (March 16, 1991). The guitarist has been married to Janie Liszewski since 2009.

Eddie Van Halen's steep career

Eddie Van Halen scared the L.A. guitarist scene with his various bands as a teenager. The rest of the world first became aware of him in 1978 through his band's debut album "Van Halen" - which won ten platinum awards.

As a songwriter and musical head, he wrote rock'n'roll history for the first time at the age of 23 - which did not change in the following years: And the band Van Halen itself was a rare stroke of luck for hard rock. She invented playful, intelligent party hard rock and thus practically the soundtrack for the 80s, at least for us guitarists. Eddie's brother Alex Van Halen, who was one of the few drummers who managed to create his own, unmistakable sound on this instrument, bassist Michael Anthony and, of course, David Lee Roth, an eccentric rampant with a charismatic voice and lyrical subtlety, played a key role.

Eddie became perhaps the greatest guitar virtuoso the world had ever seen and heard with the debut album in 1978, even if more conservative voices sometimes only put him in the top 3 to 10. His playing combines tapping, extreme vibrato work, precise flageolets and harmonics, lightning-fast runs, volume swells and a varied rhythm game with fantastic timing. All of this is fused together in an inimitable, natural way for him, because as the only harmony instrument in his quartet he had to be on the go. Van Halen's talent caused a sensation beyond his band.

Even Michael Jackson asked him for a solo for the song, Beat It ‘, which he immortalized in the second take after helping Quincy Jones improve the arrangement. So Eddie was in 1983/84 in quick succession, first with the King of Pop and then with his own hit, Jump ‘, at number 1 in the singles charts.

Oh yes, keyword: Jump ‘: As a gifted keyboard player you have to name Eddie. As a child, he had enjoyed classical piano training before playing the guitar, and for several years in a row he had been recognized as the winner of a competition for young talent. In the band he only got a taste for synths in the Roth / Hagar transition phase, which from today's point of view no longer produced quite such timeless Van Halen “pop” songs - it was the 80s!

It is astonishing that in addition to the music and the guitar playing, he was also able to further develop the guitar from a structural engineering perspective - more on this in the interview! If you will, with the construction of his iconic Frankenstein guitar you also have to classify him as a visual artist and designer, because what hung around his neck for years is nothing more than a modern work of art with strings - and its striking striped look became at the same time "Corporate Design" by Eddie himself, his band and finally his company.

Van Halen experienced the "American Dream" and stayed on the ground. When I was allowed to visit him on his intimidating property, I got to know an absolutely normal and uncomplicated man who doesn't take himself too seriously, but in return has nothing to do with false modesty. And now that he is over 60 years old and has survived cancer, he looks exceptionally healthy, fit and natural. Sympathetic! Aging with dignity is also possible with rock stars.

Author: Thomas Berg

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You can find playalongs and karaoke versions of Van Halen pieces in our playalong shop!

What equipment does Eddie Van Halen use?

Fender Stratocaster

Eddie Van Halen's first "professional" guitar is a Fender Stratocaster. However, the instrument does not stay in its original state for long ... Out of dissatisfaction with the sound, pickups and whammy bar, Eddie Van Halen begins to experiment with necks, bodies and pickups (with parts from Fender, Charvel and later Kramer Barettas). This gave rise to the whimsical "Frankenstrats" of the early phase.

Eddie 1982 with his distinctive Frankenstrat:

“The guys didn't like the sound (the Stratocaster) because it's naturally thin. So I put in a humbucker. I had trouble getting the other cables back into the guitar. So I didn't put all that stuff back in. ”At the same time, Edward's typical striped design is also created in the garage at home using the do-it-yourself process. "I covered the guitars with tape, took a spray can and just held it on."

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Floyd Rose

At the same time Eddie Van Halen is working on the development of a detuning vibrato system with a young company called Floyd Rose. “One day the guys came to me with a vibrato that was vaguely similar to today's system.

However, you had to loosen a locking screw to tune. I suggested trying fine tuners. They tried it, but unfortunately they sat exactly where the heel of my hand rests while playing, so that the guitar kept going out of tune. ”From around 1983 Eddi Van Halen played Kramer guitars with improved Floyd Rose vibrato.

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Marshall amps

For reinforcement: At the end of the 70s / beginning of the 80s, Eddie Van Halen played modified Marshalls, whose adapted signal from the speaker output was inflated again by three HIIH 800 watt power amplifiers. Marshall 4x12s with Celestions serve as cabinets, which are picked up with two Shure SM57 mics, one angled, one direct. Otherwise, EVH's philosophy is: "I just tear everything up to the stop!"

Fortunately, Eddie Van Halen doesn't forget his hearing and reveals his recipe for avoiding the little man in the ear: “Even at the beginning, when I still had high amplifier towers, I only used the lower cabinets. I like to stand in front of it so that I can feel the hairs on my arms moving, but please not the hair on my head! ”As already mentioned, Edward's raw, original sound has given way to a more“ produced ”timbre.

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Peavey 5150-Amp

But it wasn't until 1992 that Edward presented his 5150 amp, which, in collaboration with Peavey, was uncompromisingly tailored to his needs. He says about his sound philosophy at the time. "Marshalls sometimes sound too shrill for me, their sound is not as warm as I would like it to be."

Above all, his amp has to meet two criteria: “Good sustain and a clear tone. I don't like that total headbanger fuzz sound. ”And he adds something very interesting. “I keep turning the knobs on my amplifier until I find my sound and not the sound of the amp.” A simple, self-confident and great philosophy.

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What are Eddie’s trademarks? Tapping & other tricks

The tapping technique was completely new at the time and was Eddi Van Halen's “secret”, which however quickly became a trademark. On the first shows, Edward played his tapping parts with his back to the audience to keep unwanted copiers off. "There were some guys who just came to see my tricks," he later grins.

Other vocabulary in his vocabulary include playing techniques such as percussive harmonics (which are created when hammering on a string when tapping a fingered chord five, seven or twelve frets higher on the fingerboard) as in the intro to 'Spanish Fly' or Flageolets as an integral part of a piece as in 'Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love' or 'Little Guitars'.

Later also the sensitive and delay-refined volume knob work of 'Cathedral'. Above all, however, the excessive use of vibrato, from the daring exaggeration of a played bend to the absolute slackening of the strings - "Dive Bomb" - which was copied everywhere in the eighties. "I don't use the whammy bar for any antics," explains Eddie Van Halen, "it's just my way of playing!"

In the video workshop, Peter Fischer shows you a repeating pattern in the style of Eddie Van Halen:


Which, by the way, causes problems even for experienced lecturers. In 1983 Edward was invited to a workshop at the renowned Guitar Institute of Technology (G.I.T.) in Los Angeles. The lecturers there would like to transcribe what the brilliant guitar virtuoso is performing for the night world.

But then something amazing happens: neither profound knowledge of notes nor analytical depth of field are enough to put down on paper what capers the guest star puts down on his instrument. "It might sound funny from today's point of view, but back then they first had to invent new symbols that were then placed above the notes to show what I was doing," says Edward happily - known to be an autodidact.

He loves the big show: Eddie Van Halen at the Hollywood Bowl 2015:

“There was no way to write down what I was playing at the time!” What other rock musician can claim that? In general: No other rock guitarist shapes the genre as impressively as the buddy chain smoker with the massive chords and fast-paced solos on his strangely self-made spare parts guitars that look so that you don't even want them for free.

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Musical influences from Eddie Van Halen

Edward Van Halen names Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton as influences - supposedly he knows every Clapton song by heart. “Each of them has an unmistakable style and speaks their own language on the guitar. The love for music is what drives them. I've said many times that Clapton is my main influence, but Page was actually more like me in terms of ferocity. "

Find out more about Eddie and his band in the big story special!

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When was Eddie Van Halen inducted into the Hall of Fame?

Eddie Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 12, 2007. However, the musician did not take part in the award ceremony, as he was on an alcohol withdrawal treatment at the time.

Edward Van Halen discography

  • 1978: Van Halen
  • 1979: Van Halen II
  • 1980: Women and Children First
  • 1981: Fair Warning
  • 1982: Diver Down
  • 1983: 1984
  • 1986: 5150
  • 1988: OU812
  • 1991: For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
  • 1995: balance
  • 1998: Van Halen III
  • 2012: A Different Kind of Truth