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  1. #1
    Eruption
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    09.06.12 @ 05:34 PM
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    Default Eddie Van Halen - rhythm guitarist?

    Eddie says he's more rhythm than lead guitar, and that the rhythm section in Van Halen was always him and Alex, before Wolfie came into the band to provide a stable rhythm section for him to work around. OK, at the time everyone focussed on this just being an excuse to big up Wolfie....but what do people think on the idea that he's a primarily rhythm guitarist? Just curious.

    I can see where he's coming from, he's more rhythm than guys like Mick Mars (just an example of a musician who's in a band with him as the only guitarist), more comparable to guys like Tony Iommi....but he also says his biggest influence is Eric Clapton, who's SO focussed on lead guitar (being a blues guitarist).

  2. #2
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    11.03.17 @ 01:35 PM
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    I could be wrong, but my take on that quote has always been that Edward feels more comfortable as a rhythm guitarist.
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  3. #3
    Sinner's Swing! Zahzoo's Avatar
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    11.04.17 @ 06:01 AM
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    In a "Power Trio" (guitar/bass/drums)... the guitar player holds down both rhythm and lead roles. Classic examples of this setup... Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Cream, SRV, etc...

    IMO Ed's a guitar player in a power trio. He's neither rhythm nor just lead. He's both.

    The statement that Ed made claiming he and Al were the rhythm section... is complete and utter bullshit. Alex and Michael Anthony provided the solid foundation for Ed to showcase his guitar skills.

    Wolfie providing a stable rhythm section for Ed to work around... Oh dear god... I'll keep it civil and just politely say... I don't frickin think so.
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    Sinner's Swing! graeme's Avatar
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    11.19.17 @ 09:41 AM
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    Ed, even now, is one of that rare breed who can make a riff multilayered. Fitting together a backbone and the frills on top is pretty demanding stuff and he is one of the best.....just listen to "Summer nights".

    I've never thought he was one of the best soloists and were it not for him bringing tapping and the likes to the masses I think the regard for which he is held in this area would be far less.

    Just my very humble opinion but I've always felt this way about his playing.
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    Atomic Punk ziggysmalls's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 05:21 AM
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    Count me as one of those people who look to Eddie's rhythm as being superior to his lead playing. The guy is a witch with his sense of timing and it caarries over to his unique style of soloing. I think the reason why he has made comments concerning him and Al is that most VH songs were created by him playing off of Al. Mike would be brought in later to play to what Al and Eddie created. In the early days of the band, I am sure they worked as a band down in Dave's basement but once 5150 was built it was the Eddie and Al show.

    IMO, Eddie has not done much regarding soloing once Holdsworth ceased to be a major influence. Maybe some of that also came about from the rise of the shredders and Eddie figured he did not want to compete with that.

  6. #6
    Eruption
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    04.30.13 @ 12:24 PM
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    Whatever you call him we all can sing those rhythm guitar parts in our heads. Those opening rhythms especially are timeless, even the keyboards ala Jump.

    Bottom line: He's got a natural sense for rhythm. Wish I came up with all those classic rhythms in SGMAD, EWS, Panama, Jump, When Its Love, On Top of the World (which is also the outro of Dance the Night Away), etc.
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    Eruption Darby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbuenger View Post
    Whatever you call him we all can sing those rhythm guitar parts in our heads. Those opening rhythms especially are timeless, even the keyboards ala Jump.

    Bottom line: He's got a natural sense for rhythm. Wish I came up with all those classic rhythms in SGMAD, EWS, Panama, Jump, When Its Love, On Top of the World (which is also the outro of Dance the Night Away), etc.
    Top of the World intro is the outro to Jump.

  8. #8
    5150 DoHalen5150's Avatar
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    10.08.15 @ 11:37 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanHalenRules View Post
    I could be wrong, but my take on that quote has always been that Edward feels more comfortable as a rhythm guitarist.
    I took it as, Hey i'm great on lead, but don't forget i'm great on rhythm too.

    More of how come nobody praises my talents on rhythm playing...
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    Atomic Punk Lodewijk's Avatar
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    05.21.17 @ 06:59 AM
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    I've always said that if you put on Fair Warning, at moderate volume, through a good set of headphones, you can hear Ed's true genius shine through. Listen carefully under and between the lyrics, and you'll hear things you've missed all these years.

    His melodic stuff is his best, I scoff at anyone that calls him a shredder.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lodewijk View Post
    I've always said that if you put on Fair Warning, at moderate volume, through a good set of headphones, you can hear Ed's true genius shine through. Listen carefully under and between the lyrics, and you'll hear things you've missed all these years.

    His melodic stuff is his best, I scoff at anyone that calls him a shredder.
    Lode, you're a freakin genius!! I do that all the time with my eyes closed!! There just aren't words to describe Ed's playing!!! Anyone who hasn't done this, I highly recommend it!!!

  11. #11
    Eruption
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    04.30.13 @ 12:24 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darby View Post
    Top of the World intro is the outro to Jump.
    So I had a case of dyslexia, so me shoot! Yes, I knew that, especially as a guitar player. If it wasn't dsyxleia then it was a big brain fart!!
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  12. #12
    Eruption
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    The world of the rhythm guitarist is an odd one; lead guitarists heap praise on them as doing things they never could (Slash loves Izzy Stradlin, Angus Young claims he could never do anything Malcolm Young does nearly as well, The Rolling Stones don't even have a lead guitarist etc.) and yet other people largely ignore it.

    The comment on Eddie mixing the two roles together's right on; I always thought Dave Mustaine could do that if he wanted to (despite always working with a second guitarist in Megadeth) and you have Jimmy Page...but not a lot of others. I would say Tony Iommi is the riff-lord though.

  13. #13
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Elfoid_TFS View Post
    The comment on Eddie mixing the two roles together's right on; I always thought Dave Mustaine could do that if he wanted to (despite always working with a second guitarist in Megadeth) and you have Jimmy Page...but not a lot of others. I would say Tony Iommi is the riff-lord though.
    There are tons of others, yet that pretty fairly goes to prove your initial point about them not being noticed. I mean think about it: every three piece with a singer essentially had a guitarist handling 95% of the guitar duties, the other 5% covered by the lead singer occasionally strumming away on a barely amplified guitar. Consider Bad Co., Cheap Trick (with the absurdly underrated Rick Nielsen), The Who and to a lesser extent all of the 4-piece bands that came in their wake (like Blues Traveler). Each of these guitarists not only had to come up with relatively simplistic (and often chorded) lead patterns that could fill up the sound adequately on record, they then had to pull them off in a live environment with little, if any back-up.

    It's a taxing thing, and after a while all but a handful give it up and draft a second guitarist or keyboard player, or result to complicated backing systems outright. Hell, even a guitarist as gifted as Stevie Ray Vaughn finally got tired of carrying the load by himself, and brought in a keyboardist.

    The downside to this practice is that while it fills up some of the holes in the sound, those very holes were more often than not what made the band's dynamic so interesting in the first place.

    It's a tough call, one that either way is bound to disappoint a few people.
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  14. #14
    Atomic Punk Van Squalen's Avatar
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    Ed's at his best during the rhythm portions of his songs. The solos are essentially gimmick-type hooks, unfortunately he's reknown for them because they were so innovative back then.

    He's right though...Van Halen is really Van Halen when they're harmonizing together, not when Ed's shredding solo. Signature Van Halen is not Eruption, as so many label, it's Simple Rhyme, Hear About it Later, The Full Bug....wait, I'm preachin' to the choir here.

  15. #15
    Eruption
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    Quote Originally Posted by graeme View Post

    I've never thought he was one of the best soloists and were it not for him bringing tapping and the likes to the masses I think the regard for which he is held in this area would be far less.
    In the context of performing a solo as part of a song, in the history of rock music who has been better than Ed? Tapping is a small component of Ed's creativity. Listen to the solo in Push comes to shove and tell me again that Ed is not one of the best soloists. Ed's solos are full of feel, phrasing, tonality, melody and normally never a solo for a solo's sake. It aint about the tapping dude.

 

 

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