Remco Post : This month we will discuss the Lick Library double DVD set'Learn to Play Van Halen Volume 1'. Once more it becomes clear how incredibly important Eddie van Halen has actually been for the development of rock music. To name but one thing: he introduced the double hand tap-technique. Not to even start talking about his professionalizing of the use of equipment. Again this is one out of three sets and the first volume we will review this month, and in the upcoming two months we will discuss 'Volume 2' and 'Volume 3'. I'm quite curious, because not so long ago (2012) our own Eddie has won the title 'Best Guitarist Ever'. The teacher here is Jamie Humphries and the songs we will discuss are 'Hot For Teacher', 'Panama', 'Unchained', 'Eruption' and 'Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love'.
I've got my guitar on my lap here and my notebook in front of me, so let's start with 'Panama'. Jamie starts right off with playing the intro and you instantly recognize the sound of Van Halen. And what an amazing sound Jamie has. The intro is powerchords with things played around on it, plus some heavy tremolo use. The riffs after this are a combination of powerchords, open chords, licks and pinch harmonics, simply beautiful, a lot to be learnt here. The solo is not so incredibly difficult in terms of techniques, but the speed at times is very high.
Next up is 'Eruption'. Two of the in total four chapters have as a title: “Legato & Tremelo Picking” and ”Tapping Section”. I must say that that sounds interesting. Jamie calls this one of the best solo's of all time and this song comes from the year 1978! Big guitar heroes acknowledge this solo as a pioneering point in the use of guitar techniques. This is seriously something else compared to the first song, this is way out of my league. The speed is absolutely not normal here. But it rocks like hell! By the way, this is a very short song. Should you really want to know how to play the song, but you think it simply can't be done, I've got news for you, this girl does it near perfect:
The last song of this first DVD is 'Hot For Teacher'. Actress Lillian Muller aged gracefully, some info for the older readers among us. It begins with nice tapping on the A, D and G string, followed by nice fat riffs. This song sounds quite simple (don't you agree?), but believe me when I say that it isn't as simple as it sounds. It is one of the four songs candidates should have been capable to play in order to apply for tester of the game Guitar Hero. But I must say that with good practice this is executable, provided you have a solid basis as a guitarist, naturally. The solo is another story here, all tricks Eddie shelters come along, which is not modest at all, so that's pretty heavy!
On to the second DVD, but what I first notice here is a chapter with the title “Sounds & Equipment”. This is great! In this chapter all the gear is being explained and this is what you want to know. Why do not all the Lick Library DVD's have a chapter like this? Anyway, the song 'Unchained' is next and it is one of the big hits, but all the ones on this DVD are classic hits, frankly. A great intro with the open D chord as a base, with after this some special powerchords with several licks combined. Also the timing is sometimes quite tricky. But it is a good to play song with also a solo which is pretty acceptable. Especially if you faced little trouble coming along to this point. The last song is 'Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love'. As soon as you hear this song believe me you all know it. Besides, if you don't know the song itself, you will probably have heard the hideous dance cover called 'Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Dub'. Beautiful open chords are played, with always the same tones in the end, which makes it easy to listen to. Also it is not too difficult to play. A lot of the same riffs with small changes in it makes thing song a nice song to end with.
Conclusion: it is an enormously good and very educational DVD, which a lot of guitarists can learn from. Eddie van Halen has laid the foundations for a great number of guitarists that turned out very influential themselves later on. Trey Azagthtoth (Morbid Angel) once even sacrificed half of his thankslist to express the his admiration for Eddie van Halen. Jimi Hendrix was very renewing, but actually quite random. Eddie van Halen is a renewer met a built-in metronome and complete control of all left and right hand techniques. Whether Van Halen is your kind of music or not, on this DVD you learn tricks which everybody can use. Eddie rules en see next month for 'Volume 2'!