Was/Is all the tapping gimmicky?
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  1. #1
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    Default Was/Is all the tapping gimmicky?

    Longtime lurker, first time poster. LOVE Van Halen, mostly the first 2 incarnations and was fortunate enough to see them twice in 84 and multiple times after up to their last tour when I scored second row seats day of show. There's no question Ed has come up with countless incredible riffs which became songs and has pulled some amazing sounds from his guitar.
    My question is does anyone think the tapping was something he overused? When VH first blew up many guitarists who were peers said they deliberately tried not to play like Ed for fear of being accused of copying him and I think they were referring to the tapping more than anything else. He has a pretty big bag of tricks but this seemed to be his favorite to the point it was synonymous with his name.

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    I dont think he overused it. I think it's just what came out of him naturally. His use of it wasn't gimmicky. Other players use was though imo. Apart from his rhythm, it's my favorite aspect about his playing.
    Last edited by CaboChris; 06.11.20 at 07:48 AM.

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    Welcome, Fretz. I don't think he overused tapping at all. Ed's tapping and use of the whammy bar were so organic in his playing. There were a lot of 80s hair metal guitarists that tried to copy Ed but failed. The only other tapper that seemed organic to me was Vito Bratta of White Lion. I think the reason many guitarists avoided tapping beyond the accusation that they were copying Ed is that they could not write like Ed and use that technique so naturally.
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    Speaking of his tapping. The Spanish Fly section of LWAN has always gotten me in my feels. That's the difference between his tapping and anybody else. Emotion.

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    From day one I never looked at Ed's tapping as a gimmick. All his playing seemed so natural to my ears. Spent most of my time trying to figure out how the hell someone could play guitar like that !!
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    Eddie is a Great song writer and his playing is second to none IMHO. His tapping is part of his signature sound, but I think it came out of necessity due to only having four fingers to work with on his left hand. Lol

    I sometimes use a finger on my right hand to fret a note that is too difficult to hit/reach with my pinky. That being said, I could see where the tapping originated.

    I think quite a few guitar players got the tapping right, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai come to mind. As well as Steve Lynch of Autograph and Vito Bratta of White Lion. But bar none, no one has made tapping in their writing as melodic as Eddie.

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    Perhaps there is a song or two where Ted or someone else told him he should add it into a song he hadn't planned to, but I couldn't point to any where that seems obvious. Always felt like an extension of how he felt. Never forced.

    Maybe something like As Is, where it feels slightly intentional and not just *part* of the solo but the solo itself. Still love that solo but that's one that does feel like maybe Ed trying to be Ed.

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    Not a gimmick at all.
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    I thought it was all a trick (tapping, dive bombs, squeals, etc) when I first started playing guitar... until I saw the man play in front of me @ soundcheck in 04 and I realized, "That's just how he plays". That being said, it is definitely the part of his playing that fan-posers and imitators love to replicate and he did/does "go-to" it a bit more often than I'd like him to.

    There were also a lot of moments on ADKOT, I found, where you could tell he was just trying to incorporate tapping because that's what he was "supposed" to do or what fans wanted to hear.

    Personally, Ed could do away will all of the tapping and the dive-bombs and he'd still be every bit as soulful and nuanced as you could want to hear from a player.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MF5150 View Post
    I thought it was all a trick (tapping, dive bombs, squeals, etc) when I first started playing guitar... until I saw the man play in front of me @ soundcheck in 04 and I realized, "That's just how he plays". That being said, it is definitely the part of his playing that fan-posers and imitators love to replicate and he did/does "go-to" it a bit more often than I'd like him to.

    There were also a lot of moments on ADKOT, I found, where you could tell he was just trying to incorporate tapping because that's what he was "supposed" to do or what fans wanted to hear.

    Personally, Ed could do away will all of the tapping and the dive-bombs and he'd still be every bit as soulful and nuanced as you could want to hear from a player.
    I agree with every word of that, MF

    Most of Ed's trademarks became his money makers, because that's what was expected from him, and he ran to the money.
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    WTF, a gimmick? If you don't like flash guitar playing, then frankly I don't know what you'd be doing on this site. Was electricity Edison's gimmick? Was the T-model Ford's gimmick? That's the cool thing about Ed, he would come up with a new technique almost on every record. A gimmick when some lesser players use it, a genius move when done by EVH!
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    If the reunion tour starts next year with the lights going down and there's silence leading into Unchained instead of out of control tapping and dive bombs, I know who to blame 😀

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    I think this is one thing where EVH has been totally truthful: Tapping is just part of his playing. He does it when he feels it's the thing to do.

    Having had SiriusXM for the last few years, I've heard plenty of players on Hair Nation try to do it, and nearly every time it sounds forced or out of place, like the producer was telling them "You have to work in some of that Eddie Van Halen style in this solo"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Dreamer View Post
    WTF, a gimmick? If you don't like flash guitar playing, then frankly I don't know what you'd be doing on this site. Was electricity Edison's gimmick? Was the T-model Ford's gimmick? That's the cool thing about Ed, he would come up with a new technique almost on every record. A gimmick when some lesser players use it, a genius move when done by EVH!
    Flash guitar playing is wankery. Its shit. Almost every 80s player Eddie spawned was all flash.

    But are you seriously likening Eddie tapping to the invention of the automobile?

    Were not talking about Orville Gibson or Les Paul here.

    Were talking about a player who was inspired by many players before him, taking the instrument to a place that was way past where he found it.

    Innovation. Not invention.


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    Quote Originally Posted by MF5150 View Post
    Flash guitar playing is wankery. Its shit. Almost every 80s player Eddie spawned was all flash.

    But are you seriously likening Eddie tapping to the invention of the automobile?

    Were not talking about Orville Gibson or Les Paul here.

    Were talking about a player who was inspired by many players before him, taking the instrument to a place that was way past where he found it.

    Innovation. Not invention.


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    Ford did not invent the automobile either.

 

 

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