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  1. #1

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    Not the band. The player, Spanish Fly is an interesting take. He's an amazing guitar player whatever you think of the band.

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  3. #2

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    Agreed.


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  4. #3

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    He's actually one of the best rhythm players around.

  5. #4
    I think I read somewhere he was a huge Holdsworth fan and supporter...

  6. #5

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    he was dutch...moved to usa...his father was old school...he was into band- focus...they were dutch... and had usa hit with song named-hocus pocus...jan akkerman was their guitar player...he was good!...had jazzy roots...did a song called eruption!!!! sound familiar to evh fans?



    evh was great for what he was, but he burned relatively quickly...sad

    inspired so many players tho..so good for him... blessings

    cheers

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone
    He's actually one of the best rhythm players around.
    Yes, that's what I always say too! Very tight, but organic rhythm feel.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaco
    I think I read somewhere he was a huge Holdsworth fan and supporter...
    They were friends too. And on some songs I can here the influence a little.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    he was dutch...moved to usa...his father was old school...he was into band- focus...they were dutch... and had usa hit with song named-hocus pocus...jan akkerman was their guitar player...he was good!...had jazzy roots...did a song called eruption!!!! sound familiar to evh fans?



    evh was great for what he was, but he burned relatively quickly...sad

    inspired so many players tho..so good for him... blessings

    cheers
    I dont think he burned. I never heard a bad sound from him. He never 'evolved' into something else maybe, but I never thought it's necessarily a good thing to change your style or experiment too much. Or maybe you mean his lifestyle?

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaco
    Not the band. The player, Spanish Fly is an interesting take. He's an amazing guitar player whatever you think of the band.
    I think the band is one of the all time best, and when they emerged on the scene, it canceled all the soft rock that US produced before. Finally real rock was not only from UK.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaco
    I think I read somewhere he was a huge Holdsworth fan and supporter...
    Eddie got Allan a contract at Warner’s. It didn’t work out for Allan but he was forever grateful to Eddie for it.


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  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    I dont think he burned. I never heard a bad sound from him. He never 'evolved' into something else maybe, but I never thought it's necessarily a good thing to change your style or experiment too much. Or maybe you mean his lifestyle?
    hey, hep...no i cldnt give ^&*# about his lifestyle.....but he never went beyond the early albums...back then, one was always hoping that somebody would somehow break through...keep taking the guitar further...to another undreamed level....

    now i understand it all comes in slow moving waves...but as a kid it was terribly exciting

    cheers

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    hey, hep...no i cldnt give ^&*# about his lifestyle.....but he never went beyond the early albums...back then, one was always hoping that somebody would somehow break through...keep taking the guitar further...to another undreamed level....

    now i understand it all comes in slow moving waves...but as a kid it was terribly exciting

    cheers
    Yea, thats what I thought... But Eddie himself said he never pushed for a change, thats just the way he play, and that's it. I personally think it's better to find your niche and stick to it. His tone did change over the years though... But 'take it to another level' rarely works in rocknroll, you lose fans. My favorite bands those that never changed.

  14. #13

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    I'm sure it's been shared here before, but here's Van Halen with their dad on clarinet, doing trad jazz thingy. That seals the deal for me, Ed is the king!

  15. #14

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    I'll never forgive him for ruining guitar stores, with that kid (whatever town you are in) twiddling away with both hands on the fretboard, desperately looking for approval.

    Only kidding. He certainly got kids back into guitar at a time when the synth was killing it off. But I have to admit the only time a I really listened to him was in MJ's Beat It. Incredible.

  16. #15

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    Focus, on the other hand. They were HUGE in the UK for a while. And Jan played the lute too. Win, win!

  17. #16

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    They talk about him constantly on the rock guitar forums. They consider him to be a great innovator and the most important guitarist of his time, perhaps the last great rock player. He had a ‘brown sound’, which they try to emulate.

    Whether or not he deserves these accolades, he brought a lot of listeners to Holdsworth.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    I'm sure it's been shared here before, but here's Van Halen with their dad on clarinet, doing trad jazz thingy. That seals the deal for me, Ed is the king!
    He’s in, errr, good company


    (if you ever need one tune to demonstrate the musicianship and creativity of Brian May....clarinet and trombone tailgates on electric guitar?)

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    They talk about him constantly on the rock guitar forums. They consider him to be a great innovator and the most important guitarist of his time, perhaps the last great rock player. He had a ‘brown sound’, which they try to emulate.

    Whether or not he deserves these accolades, he brought a lot of listeners to Holdsworth.
    EVH kind of passed me by. The guitar soloist I liked to listen to most before I learned guitar was Mark Knopfler (I still think he’s great) so he’s my 80s guitar dude.

    By the time I picked up the guitar, I think I was aware of the next gen of players influenced by him, Nuno Bettencourt was big (another terrific rhythm player incidentally) and metal players like Kirk Hammett and Marty Friedman but mostly I was interested in the big 60s players. I didn’t listen to 80’s radio rock (it was out of fashion) so by the time I was aware of him as a player I’d already heard Holdsworth. So it’s interesting hearing how EVH adapted some of those sounds to the rock sphere; for instance that stretch legato thing.

    In the end I have to say I think he was really a sonic player, not a ‘technical’ or systematic, organised and virtuoso player like Vai. Vai or Satriani could play you anything, but Eddie had his ears and his bag of crazy tricks built on really a blues rock sensibility. He’s pretty rock and roll.

    Also the thing about the first two records is how focussed on the songs and sounding like a band they are. The guitar playing is actually pretty restrained and serves that goal.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    EVH kind of passed me by. The guitar soloist I liked to listen to most before I learned guitar was Mark Knopfler (I still think he’s great) so he’s my 80s guitar dude.

    By the time I picked up the guitar, I think I was aware of the next gen of players influenced by him, Nuno Bettencourt was big (another terrific rhythm player incidentally) and metal players like Kirk Hammett and Marty Friedman but mostly I was interested in the big 60s players. I didn’t listen to 80’s radio rock (it was out of fashion) so by the time I was aware of him as a player I’d already heard Holdsworth. So it’s interesting hearing how EVH adapted some of those sounds to the rock sphere; for instance that stretch legato thing.

    In the end I have to say I think he was really a sonic player, not a ‘technical’ or systematic, organised and virtuoso player like Vai. Vai or Satriani could play you anything, but Eddie had his ears and his bag of crazy tricks built on really a blues rock sensibility. He’s pretty rock and roll.


    Also the thing about the first two records is how focussed on the songs and sounding like a band they are. The guitar playing is actually pretty restrained and serves that goal.
    Yes to that. And that is his strength, although some will say it''s his weakness. But I never found systematic virtuoso players who can do anything too attractive. Vai or Satriani get me tired pretty quickly. I think they are more on a cerebral side of music. Of course Vai on David Lee Roth albums played amazing stuff.

    Eddie can only do what he does. In a way, he plays the same solo every song. But it's a great one for sure.

    And I remember some critic said Van Halen had chops to play fusion, but they were more interested in getting laid. Sums it up nicely!

  21. #20

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    Haha maybe, that’s a funny quote. But I don’t think it’s even that. I don’t think music ever works when players are just doing it for the chicks and money.... there’s always a love for thing itself.

    I think EVH genuinely cared about playing songs in a band...

  22. #21

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    I find Satch quite straightforward. Tuneful rock instrumental stuff. Quite like it.

    Maybe I’ve been listening to wanky jazz for too long...

  23. #22
    I remember in an interview with Dweezil Zappa, he was asked about his use of diminished scales. He answered "diminished means less and augmented means more"...

  24. #23

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    One of my favorites.

  25. #24

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    I remember an interview with EVH by Shaun Baxter (wonder what he’s up to these days?) and he said that he thought Eddie’s experimental approach to music had more in common with Fred Frith and Derek Bailey than Vai... I always thought that was an interesting thing to say.

    In rock guitar there’s obviously a spectrum between the sonic, experimental players on one end - Sonic Youth say - and the linear, vocabulary oriented and conventionally musical players on the other, say, Clapton.

    People usually associate one end with technique and the other end with anti-technique (usually understood by guitar players as the ability to play FAST) but it seems to me it’s more about attitude and creative process than anything else.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I find Satch quite straightforward. Tuneful rock instrumental stuff. Quite like it.

    Maybe I’ve been listening to wanky jazz for too long...
    Yeah, but he's lacking that quirky rhythm feel and groove of EVH, at least for me. A little too straightforward. I saw him live. I dont remember much. Basically it was like listening to a record at home.

  27. #26

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    I didn't listen to him a lot.

    Having said that.

    He was one of the greatest, innovator, and a huge influence to so many guitar players growing up in the 70-80's.

    He is right up there with the other giants of rock guitar.

  28. #27

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    Eddie was a little after me---I first listened to him when I was dating a younger woman who thought he was IT. Well, he could play the hell out of the guitar. And he could play fast lines without sounding stiff. Great tremolo. Great rhythm sound and feel, as others have pointed out. And he came up with some killer riffs.

    A few of my favorites:





  29. #28

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    And something from the post-David Lee Roth era


  30. #29

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    Vai, Satch, Van Halen ... all those 80s players passed me by except for Knopfler. But Eddie sure was a tremendous influence in his time and his playing had that loose, rolling off a log quality while still remaining virtuosic but still rock & roll. But even back then, in my mid 20s when he was the IT guy, I would have rather heard Django, Wes, Joe or Tal. That said, Van Halen's keyboard riff on jump is ironically, one of the most recognizable riffs in rock.

  31. #30

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    I remember Frank Zappa bragging at the time that he had hired Vai, a guy who could out-Van Halen EVH.

    I must say impressive as it is, that type of guitar wankery never appealed to me. Lots of other guitar wankery yes. But not the tapping/whammy bar Strat thing.

  32. #31

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    I was aware of Van Halen before I started playing in the early ‘80s. His influence on a generation of players can’t be overstated, but when I started playing, I got into jazz and Prog (Yes, Brand X, Mahavishnu, Al DiMeola, Emily Remler, Barney Kessel, Wes, Steve Morse, Holdsworth) pretty much right away. So I was never drawn to play in the Van Halen style. And his many imitators really wore out that style for me. The Floyd Rose equipped Strat copies, the tapping...it became a cliche.

    Van Halen did some wonderful stuff. As an album, I like Diver Down best.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyV
    Vai, Satch, Van Halen ... all those 80s players passed me by except for Knopfler. But Eddie sure was a tremendous influence in his time and his playing had that loose, rolling off a log quality while still remaining virtuosic but still rock & roll. But even back then, in my mid 20s when he was the IT guy, I would have rather heard Django, Wes, Joe or Tal. That said, Van Halen's keyboard riff on jump is ironically, one of the most recognizable riffs in rock.
    EVH was before Vai, Satch and the other guys, way more original and innovative.

    Jump is a great song! But the old VH albums are of course awesome as well

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by L50EF15
    I was aware of Van Halen before I started playing in the early ‘80s. His influence on a generation of players can’t be overstated, but when I started playing, I got into jazz and Prog (Yes, Brand X, Mahavishnu, Al DiMeola, Emily Remler, Barney Kessel, Wes, Steve Morse, Holdsworth) pretty much right away. So I was never drawn to play in the Van Halen style. And his many imitators really wore out that style for me.
    That is the problem with all the super influential guys, their fans "wear" out the original players style, same with all the thousands of Holdsworth/Metheny/Frisell clones, it can actually make it more difficult to appreciate the originals (even though the clones can of course never be the originals). Same thing with other instruments as well.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    I remember Frank Zappa bragging at the time that he had hired Vai, a guy who could out-Van Halen EVH.
    Vai had a lot going on. His performance in the movie "Crossroads" brought him a lot of well-deserved attention.

    For all his fretboard wizardry, EVH didn't make instrumental albums. He formed a band with an appealing front man and rocked out. It was a smart move, and perhaps more fun for him too. He could dazzle when he chose but could also do something as simple and fun as "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love."


  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Vai had a lot going on.
    Woah, as an admirer of Mr. Vai, your use of past tense scared me a bit. Vai still is with us, fortunately, and AFAIK, still has a lot going on. Though I must admit that not all of his compositions grab my ear. Some (a lot?) of his own compositions seem to gravitate towards shredding over limited harmonic movement. I prefer interesting changes rather than a lack thereof.

    BTW, I *love* his performance in Crossroads :-)

    I'm also a big EVH fan, though I don't really listen to metal or rock that much any more. And, despite not playing that much metal or rock any more, an EVH head and perhaps a Vai head are still somewhere on my "toys I'd like to have someday" list. Not sure where, though; as I've mentioned before, I'd probably most like to have more time to play the gear I already own. Hoping to pull that off in the next few years...

  37. #36

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    Edward Van Halen had a band which made popular music. The men enthusing about him on guitar forums were the band’s teenage fans back in the day. Like him or not, he made guitar music that reached a large audience, which is a Good Thing.

  38. #37

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    I love early Van Halen...when they were good, they were soooooo good.

  39. #38

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    Here is Eddy sitting in with the David Letterman Show's band. David does say 'you two should make a record" (the other being band leader Paul Shaffer).

    I recall David saying something like "well if you played music like this", or something to the effect that David really liked what he heard, but wasn't into Van Halen music so much. (or maybe that is just what I was thinking since that is true for me).


  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine
    Woah, as an admirer of Mr. Vai, your use of past tense scared me a bit. Vai still is with us, fortunately, and AFAIK, still has a lot going on.
    Oops! I apologize for giving you a scare.
    Vai had and has tremendous technique and talent. And he's no slouch as a showman, either.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by jameslovestal
    Here is Eddy sitting in with the David Letterman Show's band. David does say 'you two should make a record" (the other being band leader Paul Shaffer).

    I recall David saying something like "well if you played music like this", or something to the effect that David really liked what he heard, but wasn't into Van Halen music so much. (or maybe that is just what I was thinking since that is true for me).

    According to Paul Shaffer, Letterman hated jazz. 'Dave's' only suggestion to Shaffer about what music they could play on his show was, "You can play anything you want but that jazz stuff. I hate jazz."

    I was reading something online about how rockers pick, and EVH was listed as one of the arm pickers, as opposed to wrist or fingers. It's hard to tell
    in that clip above from the Letterman show how EVH picks. Does anyone know if he was an arm picker or wrist or finger picker. He does so much hammering on and tapping, it's hard to tell.

    I was watching a flick on Netflix the other day, and they used "Hocus-Pocus" as one of the main tunes. It still sounds as fresh as it did back in the 70s. Between Akkerman, the rhythm section and the yodeling, it's still a nice piece of music.

  42. #41

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    Eddie and brother Alex played piano from an early age. Their father insisted. He wanted them to be concert pianists. They didn't become concert pianists but had serious teachers for a long time. Eddie once told an interviewer he had a Russian teacher who didn't speak a word of English but who would whap him with a ruler every time he made a mistake.

    He learned a good deal more classical theory than one is likely to assume a rock guitarist knows before he got serious about playing the guitar.

    Van Halen (the band) didn't want him playing piano on Van Halen records. His first keyboard playing on a VH record was on "And the Cradle Will Rock." A Wurlitzer was played through a Marshall amp---few knew it was a keyboard at all!

    The cover of "Dancing in the Streets" opens with Eddie playing a MiniMoog. He hated the band's turning this piece into the background for a cover but Roth and then-producer Ted Templeton didn't like Eddie playing keyboards. (The band didn't want to record "Jump" for quite a while. By the time they did, Eddie had his own studio and the band had changed producers and there was more room for Eddie's keyboard explorations.)

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim
    I was reading something online about how rockers pick, and EVH was listed as one of the arm pickers, as opposed to wrist or fingers. It's hard to tell
    in that clip above from the Letterman show how EVH picks. Does anyone know if he was an arm picker or wrist or finger picker. He does so much hammering on and tapping, it's hard to tell.
    Troy Grady with some insight (and footage) about EVH's tremolo picking technique.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Oops! I apologize for giving you a scare.
    Vai had and has tremendous technique and talent. And he's no slouch as a showman, either.
    Yeah, I saw him in a live show where he placed the guitar on the floor at his feet and then manipulated it from above somehow... as part of this schtick, he had a ring on each finger that had a laser embedded. I'm not quite sure how he did it, but it did not seem canned; it seemed to be actual real-time playing. And the ten lasers, one on each finger, were a pretty cool, showy effect :-)

  45. #44

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    the evolution of the electric guitar in rock...

    Hendrix changed it all..opened the possibilities..EVH, Vai and Satch and many others took it a bit further..the tapping thing was very impressive..

    I liked the VH band with diamond Dave..he was a showman..and could sing/screech VH stuff and do flips and gave VH its flavor

    I learned a few VH licks..they are fun to play...

    the man had it all..fame fortune a beautiful wife...and then...it all went to hell and to some "kids" today..
    you say EVH..and they say..Who??..

    there was a EVH concert in los angeles back years ago 2012 or so..it got panned ..Im not sure he is even in the business any longer
    which is a bit sad..I think he was-and still is very talented..

  46. #45

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    I like this performance, it gives a glimpse what it could've been if Eddie did full instrumental tracks.

  47. #46

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    My fav interview:


  48. #47

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    I was a big fan as a kid. A couple of things to add about EVH:

    He evolved to incorporate synth playing and songwriting while at the height of his guitar prowess. He wasnt afraid to take artistic risks.

    The sound of his cranked marshall through the left speaker playing without overdubs was a deeply personal musical experience. It felt far more like a genuine live performance.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Oops! I apologize for giving you a scare.
    Vai had and has tremendous technique and talent. And he's no slouch as a showman, either.
    And one thing to add re Steve Vai:

    His record label focuses on virtuoso musicians. Have a look at the musos under his wing:

    Favored Nations - Wikipedia

    Artists Archive - Favored Nations

    His record label could be as influential as his own music over the long term.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tricky Fish
    And one thing to add re Steve Vai:

    His record label focuses on virtuoso musicians. Have a look at the musos under his wing:

    Favored Nations - Wikipedia

    Artists Archive - Favored Nations

    His record label could be as influential as his own music over the long term.
    I have some friends who play with Nick Meier (who is based in London and also plays with Jeff Beck) and they’ve done US tours thanks to Mr Vai. He’s definitely doing his bit to promote talented guitarists.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    I like this performance, it gives a glimpse what it could've been if Eddie did full instrumental tracks.
    He's done a good many over the years: Spanish Fly, Eruption, Catherine, the intro to Little Guitars, 1984, and Cathedral (the clip you posted), among others.

    Here's a fun thing: "Unchained" without the vocal. Eddie's parts are tight without being stiff.