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Thread: Hang em High

  1. #1
    Good Enough 5150rob's Avatar
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    12.12.17 @ 03:47 PM
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    Default Hang em High

    Hey guys,

    got a question. I have been playing guitar for about 15 years (EVH stuff mostly) and while I am not by any stretch an outstanding guitarist (at 37 years old I am a master bedroom player.... at least I like to think so ) I can pretty much play most VH tunes and riffs but for the last 15 years I CAN NOT play to speed the Hang em High riff. How the FREAK do you string skip like that all on the 7th frets and be so freakin fast? Is there something I am missing after all these years? Is there an easier way to play the main riff without string skipping?

    I can play I'm The One like a bat outta hell but freakin HEH kills me every time.

    what do you guys think? This has been bugging me for 15 years. Thanks,

    Rob

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    Unchained gavs5150's Avatar
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    05.09.15 @ 09:17 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5150rob View Post
    Hey guys,

    got a question. I have been playing guitar for about 15 years (EVH stuff mostly) and while I am not by any stretch an outstanding guitarist (at 37 years old I am a master bedroom player.... at least I like to think so ) I can pretty much play most VH tunes and riffs but for the last 15 years I CAN NOT play to speed the Hang em High riff. How the FREAK do you string skip like that all on the 7th frets and be so freakin fast? Is there something I am missing after all these years? Is there an easier way to play the main riff without string skipping?

    I can play I'm The One like a bat outta hell but freakin HEH kills me every time.

    what do you guys think? This has been bugging me for 15 years. Thanks,

    Rob
    It's funny that you asked that because I have been having the same problem with that song. It seems like no matter how much I work on it, it doesn't sound right. It sounds like we are pretty similar in our guitar level. I'll be checking in to see if someone has any advice on that one.

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    Eruption donkost's Avatar
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    12.10.17 @ 08:16 PM
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    Default

    You mean the opening riff, the one that is also repeated throughout the song right? I actually figured out that song for the most part right after Diver Down was released and I saw two nights in a row on that tour in Philly. I'm not sure I follow when you say the seventh fret. I play the riff down on the second fret, beginning with a B (second fret on A string), then A (second fret on G string), alternate between those two and then drop down to the open A and alternate between that and the fretted A (second fret G string). I also palm mute it to keep it clean, and you just have to begin playing it slowly and work up to full speed. I'm 47 now and in my mind I can visualize the riff, but if I haven't played it in a while it will sound like crap until I get it up to speed. Do you have the solo down pat? There are parts that I fudge since when I originally figured it out I only had a cassette player and the ability to turn my parent's stereo console record player down to 16 speed. That solo is classic Ed falling down the stairs and landing on his feet.

    People sometimes complain about the covers on Diver Down but just the originals that are there would blow away most bands. Hang 'Em High is classic full throttle Van Halen.

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    Good Enough 5150rob's Avatar
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    12.12.17 @ 03:47 PM
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    It's funny that you asked that because I have been having the same problem with that song. It seems like no matter how much I work on it, it doesn't sound right. It sounds like we are pretty similar in our guitar level. I'll be checking in to see if someone has any advice on that one.
    I know it right. No matter how much I practice that opening riff I just cant get it up to speed due to the string skipping.

    donkost,
    I see what you mean... you can play the same thing on the 2nd fret (most tabs have it on the 7th) however you still have to skip over that darn d string and that is what screws me up. How do you alternate it and not hit the d string and play it so fast?

    thanks for the input too. I appreciate it,

    Rob

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    Eruption donkost's Avatar
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    12.10.17 @ 08:16 PM
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    Default

    I just want to add one more comment- the B (second fret on A string) is a down stroke with the pick and the A (second fret on G string) would be an upstroke with the pick. This is at least the way I have always played it. If you try to play it fast using all down strokes with the pick I think it would be nearly impossible to get up to speed.

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    Good Enough 5150rob's Avatar
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    12.12.17 @ 03:47 PM
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    I will give it a shot

    thanks,

    Rob

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    Eruption donkost's Avatar
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    12.10.17 @ 08:16 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5150rob View Post
    I know it right. No matter how much I practice that opening riff I just cant get it up to speed due to the string skipping.

    donkost,
    I see what you mean... you can play the same thing on the 2nd fret (most tabs have it on the 7th) however you still have to skip over that darn d string and that is what screws me up. How do you alternate it and not hit the d string and play it so fast?

    thanks for the input too. I appreciate it,

    Rob
    Palm muting keeps the open D from sounding off, and alternating between downstrokes on the B (second fret A string) and upstrokes on the A (second fret G string) with the pick allows you to jump over the open D string without hitting it. For me anyway it's easier to play this riff down at the second fret, but I just watched the Largo '82 live vid and of course you're right he's playing it up where you said. I still think some palm muting and alternating between down and up strokes with the pick are key. That and just repeating it until you get up to speed.

    Ed was so damn fast back then that I think anything that was fast on the original recording he could probably play up to 50% faster live and still be in his comfort zone. Love that '82 live tone as well- very low gain, Strat-y, twangy sounding even, with a ton of note clarity.

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    12.12.17 @ 03:47 PM
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    I know,

    I watch that vid from time to time and I cant believe how freakin fast he was back then. Of course today he is still fast but back then he was just something else thats for sure. I mean "crazy fast" was how he played and sometimes its just hard to imagine anyone playing like that. ha ha...

    I also like the early 80s tone he had. I was a twangy sound but he gave it his signature brown tone thats for sure. Classic stuff.

    thanks again for the input. You know I am sitting here working on my 2nd pot of coffee with my Wolfgang and little practice Marshall amp that I keep upstairs to mess with when I dont feel like going down to my VH room with all the heavy stuff and you know your right... I kinda like playing this at the 2nd fret better. I will see if I can work it up. thanks so much donkost,

    Rob

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    12.12.17 @ 03:16 PM
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    Default

    Another song that has string skipping parts that are tough to nail every time is Big Log from Robert Plant. The parts are at 27 sec, 32, sec, 37 sec, and 43 sec. That same pattern repeats later in the song too. It's deceptively difficult. Not that the individual parts are exceptionally complex on their own, but to play the song every time without fucking up that part is difficult.
    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

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    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 12:45 AM
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    Default

    I play it on the 7th fret and use my 2nd and 3rd fingers and I'll mute the A string with the middle finger. And absolutely you have to do it with alternate picking if you want to play it fast. Downstroke on the E and upstroke on the D. Same idea when you're hitting the open A and D.
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    07.20.17 @ 08:35 AM
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    try this picking pattern, it kinda works for me...

    D ---------7----------7----------7---------7-----------7--7-
    A -----------------------------------------------------------
    E ---7--7-------7--7-------7--7------7--7--------7--7-------

    -----d--u--d----u--d--d----u--d--d---u--d--d----u--d--d--u

    d= down
    u= up

    ...same pattern when it switches to the A string

  12. #12
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    Not to overanalyze but also mechanically speaking, alot of it is how Eddie positions, or shapes his hand seems to be a big factor in his speed picking, at least more in the Dave era. You'll notice if you really look, that he kind of back bows his fingers at the first joints if it could be described that way when he does those quick alternate picking, string skipping runs. Most players tend to allow their fingers to fold naturally when holding the pick, and the whole hand even though minor is used in the striking of notes, but for some reason he does this with his fingers bent back and it works.
    It just seems that by doing this deliberately, it reduces the tendency for him to hit the skipped string because he's then dropping the fingers in a more efficient way while the wrist is focused on just the alternating movement.
    It's actually real cool.
    I played back US Festival on my media player which has great slow mode, and you can see the way the fingers alone are dropping and pulling up, yet the rest of the hand is just parallel.
    Very cool technique. For me it's just uncomfortable.
    I had the same issues with the riff for a long time too, and I did end up nailing it pretty much, but I'm sure if I tried playing it tonight, I'd suck as bad as the first time I tried it!

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    04.07.16 @ 01:19 PM
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    Guys,
    I don't want to hijack this thread, but I just wanted to say, I love it when we all are sharing info like this, or suggesting stuff to check out (read the thread about the LTF strat). guys, this is why I keep coming back. Good job, thank you! Back to the thread!
    Eddie must think I'm a BOZO to want to drop THAT much on one of his new Charvel Guitars!

  14. #14
    Eruption donkost's Avatar
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    12.10.17 @ 08:16 PM
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    Very good observation- yes his hands operate in a perfectly efficient manner to support his style of playing. It must have been all of those dusk to dawn practice sessions with a few 12 packs while Al was out partying.

    Ed's other technique that still blows my mind is his take on tremolo picking (also called fan picking), holding the pick between his thumb and second finger and keeping his arm off the body of the guitar. It's a relevant discussion since he uses this technique in Hang 'Em High and quite a number of other VH songs. I can tremolo pick with very good speed and accuracy, but I hold the pick between my thumb and first finger and there's *no way* I can keep my arm off the body of the guitar and maintain any accuracy. It's fun to try and then see how much you screw up. I have to have some contact between my forearm and the guitar body.

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    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

 

 

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