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Thread: Drop Dead Legs

  1. #1
    Hot For Teacher
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    Default Drop Dead Legs

    There's another thread going on regarding Ed's recent comments about Girl Gone Bad and Drop Dead Legs being two of his favorite Van Halen songs.

    Since the band has never played this song live and we haven't seen Eddie perform it, I'm curious if anyone has heard a cover version that gets the main lick right? There are a few versions of the song on YouTube, and none of them quite get it. Here are a couple of versions . . . both not bad.





    Satchboggy (an amazing VH cover player) has a version that's very good - but again, the main lick is missing something.



    The Atomic Punks even have a version . . .



    There are a million fantastic covers of nearly every Van Halen song that are note for note. I can't help but think that this is one of the few Van Halen licks that no one can actually capture 100% correct.

    Specifically, it's the crazy bend in the main lick - is it a combination whammy dive / bend? Is there an odd tuning? I've had the Cherry Lane tabs for years and even those don't make sense. It's just one of those things that's tough to figure out and get right. Most of the players in the above clips are using the tremolo bar. I'm not sure that's what Ed's using - at least on the album. Anyone remember what guitar he claims to have used?

    Since Eddie dropped that track to wax 25 years ago, I've only heard one version of the main lick that even comes close . . . and that's when Ed played a tiny little snippet of it during one of the 2004 soundchecks. Granted, he wasn't at his best back then and probably pumped full of wine, but the main lick is still closer than I've heard anywhere else, even if his sound on this clip is for shit . . .



    Long post . . . but I'm just curious if anyone knows the secret!

  2. #2
    Top Of The World Benjami's Avatar
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    satchbooggy nailed the song imo, but i agree with you about the main verse, i cant make up if its a dive bomb or a bend or both i tried it a few times its pretty confusing :P

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    I love that tune. That has a sweet groove. That groove is infectious I think...it hits you deep and draws you in right away and then Dave's delivery and vocals on it really make it something else.

    This is how I do it and think it's how you get that groove on the D. When sliding up to the D from the C on the A string..slide to the D..when your finger gets to the 5th fret you strum the open D string then immediately hit the D on the 5th fret A string with a little bending and vibrato before continuing. Try to hit the 5th fret A string D on a slight up raise of the trem...depress just a tad in the fast millisecond between hitting the open D and fretted D let them both ring. It's a feel thing.

    Some guys hit the D on the 5th fret and just do the wham bar up and down twice to get that. I think thats wrong and only a part of how it's done. I think it's the D open then D5th fret A string...both ringing some when the fretted note is hit ..the english/touch is put on the fretted D with a slight bend and wham. It's like a syncopated thing. with the fretted note being bent some and the D string not while being whammed it gives that "odd" sound/feel.

    Not sure I'm right but it feels right and sounds right to me. None of the guys your showing seem to be doing it.
    Not hard to do. Try it. Let me know if thats better.
    Last edited by At0micPunk; 08.05.09 at 12:31 AM.

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    funny this post came up, i got back to trying to figure it out this weekend. i have been playing the way its written in the tab book which is A string 5th fret 2 dives on the bar, then slide to the 3rd fret....clearly not right. atomic punk, im gonna reread what you wrote when i have my guitar and try that. killer tune.

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    I just love this tune.......What a jam they could lead into if they played this live. In fact, playing this tune with instrumental solos in the middle of it would be a nice alternative to long, boring individual solo spots. Such a killer groove. In fact, of any VH tune, this gem may encapsulate everything that is great about the sound and style of classic Van Halen.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ANTHONY5150 View Post
    funny this post came up, i got back to trying to figure it out this weekend. i have been playing the way its written in the tab book which is A string 5th fret 2 dives on the bar, then slide to the 3rd fret....clearly not right. atomic punk, im gonna reread what you wrote when i have my guitar and try that. killer tune.
    Just a little clarification..It's not so much a bend on the 5th fret as it is a little exaggerated vibrato. Also when going from the open D to the fretted D, just let the open ring but don't hit it again when hitting the fretted D..the combo of the two as you slide from C to 5th fret D and then to the next part imo helps capture it better than just 5th fret and whammy.

    Again this may not be the way he does it. But imo it sounds real close and is much closer than one note whammed alone. Experiment with this and see if you can make it work.

    I don't have video means yet but when I do someday..planning on it..I'll post a clip of it. I've always been interested to know exactly how he does that too because it's such a great groove and sounds so damn cool.

    GL
    Last edited by At0micPunk; 08.05.09 at 11:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by At0micPunk View Post
    Just a little clarification..It's not so much a bend on the 5th fret as it is a little exaggerated vibrato. Also when going from the open D to the fretted D, just let the open ring but don't hit it again when hitting the fretted D..the combo of the two as you slide from C to 5th fret D and then to the next part imo helps capture it better than just 5th fret and whammy.

    Again this may not be the way he does it. But imo it sounds real close and is much closer than one note whammed alone. Experiment with this and see if you can make it work.

    I don't have video means yet but when I do someday..planning on it..I'll post a clip of it. I've always been interested to know exactly how he does that too because it's such a great groove and sounds so damn cool.

    GL
    i wasnt doing the slide from 3 to 5 either, but the way you explained it makes a lot of sense and i can hear it in my head. cant wait to try it out. i was playing the e (d tuna released to make it d) string with a 3 5 mute then the a string 5th fret with the dives. thats how the book has it. much appreciated. i quit trying to look on youtube a while ago as i couldnt find one that sounded right that i was able to see what the guy was doing.

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk ziggysmalls's Avatar
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    I never could duplicate the bend and just attributed it to it being played by Edward Van Halen. I know a few songs that don't sound right (You Really Got Me for instance) because he is using upstrokes when the obvious technique is a downstroke.

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    Open and fretted is a key part of this riff...

    Don't know about raising up on the bar though - sincerely doubt that was done here
    FUCK THE DUMB SHIT!!!!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMightyCopenHalenII View Post
    Open and fretted is a key part of this riff...

    Don't know about raising up on the bar though - sincerely doubt that was done here
    When I said up raise of the bar I didn't mean pull it up from normal like a floating trem. Slight depress and back to norm. It's a nuance thing between sliding from C to d open d and the bar, it's really one noticeable wham on that part not two or 3 like some people think..some don't slide from c at all. but you can use it for a slight nuance during the slide to d and open string before the main wham on that part. lol I'll try to type with with my guitar in hand soon to better describe or maybe someone else can.
    Glad you agree about the open and fretted. That always sounded right 2 me 2.
    Last edited by At0micPunk; 08.06.09 at 11:59 PM.

  11. #11
    Eruption TheMightyCopenHalenII's Avatar
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    Right on, years ago lookin at the tab wasn't cuttin it, so
    had to go out by ear like alot of VH licks/riffs. This is such
    a feel riff - relaxed and loose, but you've got to have that
    rhythm down. We probably play it the same way or close.

    Good luck to the rest.

    Oh and just a heads up, in some parts of DDL, I believe toward
    and in the outro Eddie is using a Boss Octave pedal. It's not
    high in the mix but if you listen you can probably hear it.
    FUCK THE DUMB SHIT!!!!

  12. #12
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    will post what i thought it was.
    Last edited by J_Alexander; 08.15.09 at 07:08 PM.

  13. #13
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    I always played this riff by hitting the 5th fret D, doing a single dip with the bar, then sliding down to the 3rd fret C but as I'm sliding I'm also bending the string back up to D - then release the bend sort of slowly. I think the second "dip" doesn't sound like the bar.

    But I've never picked up on the open string thing that you guys are talking about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSB517 View Post
    There's another thread going on regarding Ed's recent comments about Girl Gone Bad and Drop Dead Legs being two of his favorite Van Halen songs.

    Since the band has never played this song live and we haven't seen Eddie perform it, I'm curious if anyone has heard a cover version that gets the main lick right? There are a few versions of the song on YouTube, and none of them quite get it. Here are a couple of versions . . . both not bad.





    Satchboggy (an amazing VH cover player) has a version that's very good - but again, the main lick is missing something.



    The Atomic Punks even have a version . . .



    There are a million fantastic covers of nearly every Van Halen song that are note for note. I can't help but think that this is one of the few Van Halen licks that no one can actually capture 100% correct.

    Specifically, it's the crazy bend in the main lick - is it a combination whammy dive / bend? Is there an odd tuning? I've had the Cherry Lane tabs for years and even those don't make sense. It's just one of those things that's tough to figure out and get right. Most of the players in the above clips are using the tremolo bar. I'm not sure that's what Ed's using - at least on the album. Anyone remember what guitar he claims to have used?

    Since Eddie dropped that track to wax 25 years ago, I've only heard one version of the main lick that even comes close . . . and that's when Ed played a tiny little snippet of it during one of the 2004 soundchecks. Granted, he wasn't at his best back then and probably pumped full of wine, but the main lick is still closer than I've heard anywhere else, even if his sound on this clip is for shit . . .



    Long post . . . but I'm just curious if anyone knows the secret!
    In regards to that "crazy bend" in the main lick....Yes, it is a bend, not a whammy technique. He played the main body of this song on his 1958 Gibson korina Flying "V". He played to get that crisp tone.(though he used his Frankie for the solo.) It's an amazing lick, and just more proof he's simply just an amazing player. Another note to this is he also used this guitar on Girl Gone Bad as well. A number of years back, Rudy Leiren mentioned that he was blown away by the way Ed could bend. He actually said at first he felt disapointed when Eddie started bringing the bar into his technique. I think he's right. Ed's bending is unreal.
    Last edited by SLEEPER5150; 09.17.09 at 11:38 AM.
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

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    everyone I see plays the main riff with the bar to do the bend part. But I don't think Ed used the bar. Like post above stated.

    even so... this guy does amazing VH covers. Tone is great on this.

    DROP DEAD LEGS

 

 

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