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  1. #1
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    Default How Long Until I Will Learn To Play Van Halen?

    My family bought me a Strat for my birthday, and after numerous issues, I finally got my guitar in December of 2019.

    I'm 47; I now practice 45 minutes a day, for five days a week. We're tight on money, so I have been utilizing Justin Sandercoe's excellent lesson series.

    I'm impatient , but I am persistent.

    I know that playing's a matter of individual ability, in addition to practice, and on both, I would say that I am average.

    I know that no one can give an absolute answer, but realistically, how long will it take me to learn Van Halen songs? Stuff like Drop Dead Legs, Panama, etc?
    "If only Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang had as much enthusiasm about Van Halen as Dave, Sammy and Mike do … " - I Coulda Hada VH

    "I don't think he owes us, and I think few if any do. What we would like is for him to release music, since he is our favorite musician. It's a wish and a hope, not a critique." - Dave's Dreidel

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  3. #2
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    If it's just n hour a day laying down something like DDL's is gonna be awhile.
    It's all about practice. The more you can practice the faster you can advance.

    You got me beat already, though. Three months in I could barely change chords.

    Good luck. Have fun.

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    I've been playing for thirty years and still can't play DDL.

    Don't worry about how long it will take and just focus on the process of being a better guitar player today than you were yesterday.

    Eventually if you want to learn DDL badly enough it will come.
    The only genre I really know is Van Halen.

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    Play bass.

    You can play Running With the Devil right out of the box.

    You can play almost the entire Sam era within a couple months.
    If I don't respond to you it means I have you on ignore, which means you are a douchenozzle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NDL View Post
    My family bought me a Strat for my birthday, and after numerous issues, I finally got my guitar in December of 2019.

    I'm 47; I now practice 45 minutes a day, for five days a week. We're tight on money, so I have been utilizing Justin Sandercoe's excellent lesson series.

    I'm impatient , but I am persistent.

    I know that playing's a matter of individual ability, in addition to practice, and on both, I would say that I am average.

    I know that no one can give an absolute answer, but realistically, how long will it take me to learn Van Halen songs? Stuff like Drop Dead Legs, Panama, etc?

    Try to be positive and pacient on your playing, man.
    And keep the persistence. That's the key to improve your musical abilities.
    TT: "Wow, you can play acoustic guitar?"
    EVH: "Sure. What's the difference? It's got six strings... It's a guitar!" - 31.12.1978
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    "Van Halen is entertainment. Van Halen is entertainment delivered at maximum impact, but it's entertainment." DLR

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    You could probably play Panama pretty quickly except for the solo. Most VH riffs (like most songs) are pretty straightforward, but it's the little fills and solos that ramp up the complexity. The other great thing about VH is that Ed reuses a lot of shapes and techniques in both his songs and his solos, so you'll find once you "unlock" one, you can quickly pick up a few other songs. For example, if you can play Unchained, you play Panama. If you can play Panama, you can play Dance the Night Away.

    Some VH songs are easier than others, too. Feel Your Love Tonight is an easy riff to learn to where you can at least play along to the main parts. You Really Got Me is as well, along with Running with the Devil.

    It sounds boring, but training your mind and your hands to learn the chord shapes and be able transition between them are going to be the biggest hurdles. Once you do that you'll be able to learn most songs fairly quickly.

    Then again, when it comes to playing VH note for note, you may never get there. I've been playing casually for the last 20 years or so and I can't play it all.
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

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    Here's a tip. Passive practice.

    If your just sitting around, grab your guitar.

    Just play two or three notes on one strin over and over. It'll help build up your picking speed and accuracy.

    Practice to a metronome! Just google metronome, and use the first one that pops up. You can use that passively while you are picking.

    This will go along way when you need to start learning solos and stuff.


    Also, pick out different parts of solos. You don't have to play them how they sound in the songs or up to speed. It's practicing the bends and the patterns that will improve accuracy and speed too. Vary the tempo and the way you play it. Do that passively as well.

    Not all practice requires concentrated focus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrideofPasadena View Post
    If it's just n hour a day laying down something like DDL's is gonna be awhile.
    It's all about practice. The more you can practice the faster you can advance.

    You got me beat already, though. Three months in I could barely change chords.

    Good luck. Have fun.
    Thanks dude!

    Quote Originally Posted by Get The Show On The Road View Post
    I've been playing for thirty years and still can't play DDL.

    Don't worry about how long it will take and just focus on the process of being a better guitar player today than you were yesterday.

    Eventually if you want to learn DDL badly enough it will come.
    Your post scares the hell outta me, if only because I have seen you're playing abilities, and I would be all too happy to eventually graduate to where you currently are...I didn't realize that DDL was that difficult of a tune. I thought it was one of the easier ones .

    I do thank you for your encouraging words; baby steps are the only way to take my progression; I will try to keep that in view.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    Play bass.

    You can play Running With the Devil right out of the box.

    You can play almost the entire Sam era within a couple months.


    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Ribeiro View Post
    Try to be positive and pacient on your playing, man.
    And keep the persistence. That's the key to improve your musical abilities.
    Thank you for the encouraging words

    Quote Originally Posted by bsbll4 View Post
    You could probably play Panama pretty quickly except for the solo. Most VH riffs (like most songs) are pretty straightforward, but it's the little fills and solos that ramp up the complexity. The other great thing about VH is that Ed reuses a lot of shapes and techniques in both his songs and his solos, so you'll find once you "unlock" one, you can quickly pick up a few other songs. For example, if you can play Unchained, you play Panama. If you can play Panama, you can play Dance the Night Away.

    Some VH songs are easier than others, too. Feel Your Love Tonight is an easy riff to learn to where you can at least play along to the main parts. You Really Got Me is as well, along with Running with the Devil.

    It sounds boring, but training your mind and your hands to learn the chord shapes and be able transition between them are going to be the biggest hurdles. Once you do that you'll be able to learn most songs fairly quickly.

    Then again, when it comes to playing VH note for note, you may never get there. I've been playing casually for the last 20 years or so and I can't play it all.
    I thank you for your time and suggestions, and sharing of experience. Chord changes have been boring as all hell, and that's why I have been focusing on.

    I'm now on the F chord, which is next to impossible , although I almost have it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyler_279 View Post
    Here's a tip. Passive practice.

    If your just sitting around, grab your guitar.

    Just play two or three notes on one strin over and over. It'll help build up your picking speed and accuracy.

    Practice to a metronome! Just google metronome, and use the first one that pops up. You can use that passively while you are picking.

    This will go along way when you need to start learning solos and stuff.


    Also, pick out different parts of solos. You don't have to play them how they sound in the songs or up to speed. It's practicing the bends and the patterns that will improve accuracy and speed too. Vary the tempo and the way you play it. Do that passively as well.

    Not all practice requires concentrated focus.
    Excellent suggestions...thanks for sharing them
    "If only Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang had as much enthusiasm about Van Halen as Dave, Sammy and Mike do … " - I Coulda Hada VH

    "I don't think he owes us, and I think few if any do. What we would like is for him to release music, since he is our favorite musician. It's a wish and a hope, not a critique." - Dave's Dreidel

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  14. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NDL View Post
    Thanks dude!



    Your post scares the hell outta me, if only because I have seen you're playing abilities, and I would be all too happy to eventually graduate to where you currently are...I didn't realize that DDL was that difficult of a tune. I thought it was one of the easier ones .

    I do thank you for your encouraging words; baby steps are the only way to take my progression; I will try to keep that in view.








    Thank you for the encouraging words



    I thank you for your time and suggestions, and sharing of experience. Chord changes have been boring as all hell, and that's why I have been focusing on.

    I'm now on the F chord, which is next to impossible , although I almost have it.



    Excellent suggestions...thanks for sharing them
    I've messed around with it a little bit here and there. I could probably get it down pretty good if I sat down and really focused on it. The bend that he does in between the chords in the intro and verses is hard for me to get right for some reason.

    Funny thing is the longer I've played the harder it is sometimes for me to learn material because I think I ought to just be able to look at the TAB or hear the song and BOOM! be able to play it. So when I can't I get lazy and either make shit up or just quit. LOL! Even though I've got muscle memory and all that I still have to actually practice to get it down just like when I was a beginner. It doesn't take as long anymore but I still have to approach it that way at first.

    I agree with some of the other songs mentioned, Panama would be an excellent choice and I learned that one pretty quick when I was a beginning player, at least to the point where it was passable and people would know what it was. Over time I've learned more of the nuances of it and that's what's great about Ed's playing, there's so many little things that he does that I've been playing for so long and still learn little new variations on some of the stuff that I either couldn't execute as a beginner or just didn't play right.

    ATBL is another one. The intro is a little tricky at first, the key is to really get a good palm mute going on it. But once you know the intro, its pretty much the same for the verses and the chorus is just slamming on A minor and G. The solo is also one of Ed's more accessible ones for beginners. DOA is pretty easy too other than all the fills that Ed does that I always just improv anyway.
    Last edited by Get The Show On The Road; 03.19.20 at 03:22 PM.
    The only genre I really know is Van Halen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyler_279 View Post
    Here's a tip. Passive practice.

    If your just sitting around, grab your guitar.

    Just play two or three notes on one strin over and over. It'll help build up your picking speed and accuracy.

    Practice to a metronome! Just google metronome, and use the first one that pops up. You can use that passively while you are picking.

    This will go along way when you need to start learning solos and stuff.


    Also, pick out different parts of solos. You don't have to play them how they sound in the songs or up to speed. It's practicing the bends and the patterns that will improve accuracy and speed too. Vary the tempo and the way you play it. Do that passively as well.

    Not all practice requires concentrated focus.
    This is really sound advice.

    When I was younger and guitar was everything I would play all the time.

    But a lot if it was just sitting around with an unplugged electric and fucking around - noodling if you will. If I was watching TV I'd have my guitar in my hands playing but not really focusing on what I was playing or what it even sounded like. I used to deliver pizzas and between deliveries I'd have my guitar in my truck and would sit in the bed and do the same thing. Not trying to play any songs, just goofin' moving my fingers over the neck and picking or hittin' chords.

    Anytime I was at a party that had a guitar lying around I'd pick it up and start playing, used to piss my girlfriend off because I'd disappear to a couch and just zone out and play. Ha ha!
    The only genre I really know is Van Halen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Get The Show On The Road View Post
    I've messed around with it a little bit here and there. I could probably get it down pretty good if I sat down and really focused on it. The bend that he does in between the chords in the intro and verses is hard for me to get right for some reason.

    Funny thing is the longer I've played the harder it is sometimes for me to learn material because I think I ought to just be able to look at the TAB or hear the song and BOOM! be able to play it. So when I can't I get lazy and either make shit up or just quit. LOL! Even though I've got muscle memory and all that I still have to actually practice to get it down just like when I was a beginner. It doesn't take as long anymore but I still have to approach it that way at first.

    I agree with some of the other songs mentioned, Panama would be an excellent choice and I learned that one pretty quick when I was a beginning player, at least to the point where it was passable and people would know what it was. Over time I've learned more of the nuances of it and that's what's great about Ed's playing, there's so many little things that he does that I've been playing for so long and still learn little new variations on some of the stuff that I either couldn't execute as a beginner or just didn't play right.

    ATBL is another one. The intro is a little tricky at first, the key is to really get a good palm mute going on it. But once you know the intro, its pretty much the same for the verses and the chorus is just slamming on A minor and G. The solo is also one of Ed's more accessible ones for beginners. DOA is pretty easy too other than all the fills that Ed does that I always just improv anyway.
    I appreciate you sharing your experience with me...it helps quite a bit. Thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyler_279 View Post
    Just play two or three notes on one strin over and over. It'll help build up your picking speed and accuracy.
    A second round of thanks are in order; tonight, I did exactly that. And to be honest, when I read your post earlier, half of my attention was on this thread, while much of my attention was on what I had baking in the oven.

    So tonight, I picked up my guitar, did some picking exercises, etc., and after awhile, it had me wondering as to how productive this form of practice would be. It had me wondering if I was pissing away time.

    So tonight, now that all is quiet at home, I revisited this thread and your suggestion. Thanks for confirming that I am moving in the right direction

    If I can use this metaphor - it's almost as if practice is like the karate kid - wax on, wax off, no? You sit there wondering what the hell you're doing, only to be setting a proper foundation for the future...no?
    "If only Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang had as much enthusiasm about Van Halen as Dave, Sammy and Mike do … " - I Coulda Hada VH

    "I don't think he owes us, and I think few if any do. What we would like is for him to release music, since he is our favorite musician. It's a wish and a hope, not a critique." - Dave's Dreidel

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    DDL is hard. Just listen to the extended solo. You probably won't be able to play it in years. I suppose you won't be able to memorize all those notes and sooner or later you will give up. Unless you will be ok with rhythm parts only. Keep in mind that DDL is Drop D Tuning!

    For the start, play simple stuff:

    Try Runnin With the Devil, Judgement Day, or Ain't Talkin Bout Love. Keep in mind that you don't have to hit the exact tremolo pitches and you can basically practice all half step down songs in standard tuning and vice versa. ATBL is 1/4 step down so it really is just between standard and half step down.

    As for metronome - kill me but I have never forced myself to it. Unless you want to become a pro, just fuck it. I am mainly just noodling without any timekeepers and when I feel ready and want to keep the rhythm I am just playing alongside Guitar Pro software. I can loop basically any lick and change the tempo. You change the tempo to...let’s say 20%, master it, then speed up to 30% and increase gradually until you can play alongside with original recordings (with the CD or YouTube). You should use a metronome when playing practice exercises without a backing track.....like scales and various other exercises. When playing a certain song... just slow down the song in Guitar Pro (or Tux Guitar, Ultimate-Guitar online player, etc.)

    When starting out, I would suggest you to wear headphones (no earphones unless you want to get deaf) - you don't want your family or neighbors to hear you butchering stuff.

    Last but not least - I would suggest you to learn some really basic stuff first before proceeding to VH. Try Breaking the Law by Judas Priest. Don't play Van Halen until you are able to play this song in your fucking sleep.
    Last edited by marcin; 03.20.20 at 03:16 AM.
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    There are lots of lists of easy songs to play.

    Just me personally, but I find it fun to simply learn how to play songs, and progressively learn harder ones.

    I started with Neil Young, Poison (ducks), John Mellencamp, etc. Doing nothing but drills puts me to sleep.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    There are lots of lists of easy songs to play.

    Just me personally, but I find it fun to simply learn how to play songs, and progressively learn harder ones.

    I started with Neil Young, Poison (ducks), John Mellencamp, etc. Doing nothing but drills puts me to sleep.
    Absolutely. The best way to learn guitar (or any instrument for that matter), is to learn to play something that you recognize because it allows you to feel some enjoyment from playing. Nobody likes practicing scales at speed and sounding like shit doing it. It's boring and will break your will to play. But playing along to an AC/DC song that teaches you chord changes? Absolutely. Then you can practice those scales, and when you're about to hit the breaking point, you go back to playing stuff you know to keep from throwing in the towel.
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcin View Post
    DDL is hard. Just listen to the extended solo. You probably won't be able to play it in years. I suppose you won't be able to memorize all those notes and sooner or later you will give up. Unless you will be ok with rhythm parts only. Keep in mind that DDL is Drop D Tuning!

    For the start, play simple stuff:

    Try Runnin With the Devil, Judgement Day, or Ain't Talkin Bout Love. Keep in mind that you don't have to hit the exact tremolo pitches and you can basically practice all half step down songs in standard tuning and vice versa. ATBL is 1/4 step down so it really is just between standard and half step down.

    As for metronome - kill me but I have never forced myself to it. Unless you want to become a pro, just fuck it. I am mainly just noodling without any timekeepers and when I feel ready and want to keep the rhythm I am just playing alongside Guitar Pro software. I can loop basically any lick and change the tempo. You change the tempo to...let’s say 20%, master it, then speed up to 30% and increase gradually until you can play alongside with original recordings (with the CD or YouTube). You should use a metronome when playing practice exercises without a backing track.....like scales and various other exercises. When playing a certain song... just slow down the song in Guitar Pro (or Tux Guitar, Ultimate-Guitar online player, etc.)

    When starting out, I would suggest you to wear headphones (no earphones unless you want to get deaf) - you don't want your family or neighbors to hear you butchering stuff.

    Last but not least - I would suggest you to learn some really basic stuff first before proceeding to VH. Try Breaking the Law by Judas Priest. Don't play Van Halen until you are able to play this song in your fucking sleep.
    Thank you for your time and advice....I am gonna check out Try Breaking the Law now. As for the headphones - LOL...I've got them on .
    "If only Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang had as much enthusiasm about Van Halen as Dave, Sammy and Mike do … " - I Coulda Hada VH

    "I don't think he owes us, and I think few if any do. What we would like is for him to release music, since he is our favorite musician. It's a wish and a hope, not a critique." - Dave's Dreidel

 

 

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