Van Halen II: A Guitarist's Perspective
Van Halen II is the sophomore album by the legendary hard rock band Van Halen, released in 1979. This Classic Album peaked at number 6 on the Billboard 200 and sold almost six million copies in the United States alone. This album showcases the band's signature sound, with Eddie Van Halen's groundbreaking guitar techniques and David Lee Roth's powerful vocals. For guitarists, this album is a treasure trove of unique licks, riffs, and techniques. In this course, LickLibrary’s Sam Bell walks you through the many highlights of each song from this essential album one phrase at a time, including Eddie Van Halen’s unforgettable guitar riffs and lead lines from tracks such as; ‘Somebody Get Me a Doctor,” “Dance the Night Away,” and the iconic “Spanish Fly.” Let's dive into each song and explore the scales and techniques used.
1. You're No Good
This cover of Clint Ballard Jr.'s song features an intro played in E minor pentatonic scale. Eddie uses palm-muting and power chords to create a distinctive groove. The solo is in E minor pentatonic and uses alternate picking, trills, and string bending.
2. Dance the Night Away
This catchy tune is in A major and features a bright chord progression with barre chords. The solo is played in A mixolydian mode and showcases slides, double-stop bends, and vibrato.
3. Somebody Get Me a Doctor
This heavy rocker is in E minor with a bluesy riff featuring open-string riffs and power chords. The solo employs the E blues scale and contains hammer-ons, pull-offs, tapped harmonics, and pinched harmonics.
4. Bottoms Up!
This party anthem is in G major, with a syncopated riff using power chords and palm-muting. The solo is played in G mixolydian mode, featuring two-handed tapping, string bending, and slides.
5. Outta Love Again
This funky tune is in E minor, with a heavy groove using power chords and syncopated rhythms. The solo utilises E minor pentatonic scale, employing hammer-ons, pull-offs, and legato techniques.
6. Light Up the Sky
This high-energy track is in A major and features galloping rhythms and power chords. The solo is played in A mixolydian mode, showcasing sweep picking, string bending, and dive-bombs using the whammy bar.
7. Spanish Fly
This instrumental piece, a sequel to "Eruption," is played on a nylon-string acoustic guitar in E minor. Eddie employs finger-picking and travis-picking techniques, along with two-handed tapping, hammer-ons, and pull-offs.
This heavy rocker is in E minor, with a driving riff utilising power chords and palm-muting. The solo is in E minor pentatonic scale, featuring two-handed tapping, whammy bar tricks, and slides.
9. Women in Love...
This melodic track is in G major and features arpeggiated chords, creating a shimmering effect. The solo is played in G mixolydian mode and includes hammer-ons, pull-offs, and double-stops.
10. Beautiful Girls
The album's closing track is in E major and features a catchy riff using power chords and syncopated rhythms. The solo is in E mixolydian mode, with octave melodies, string bending, and vibrato.
In conclusion, Van Halen II is an essential album for guitarists who want to study and appreciate the innovative techniques and creativity of Eddie Van Halen. His revolutionary approach to the guitar has had a profound impact on rock music and guitar playing. This album is not only a showcase of Eddie's extraordinary skills but also a testament to the band's ability to create memorable and timeless songs.
From the high-energy rockers to the more melodic tracks, Van Halen II offers a variety of styles, techniques, and approaches to guitar playing. By studying this album, guitarists can learn to incorporate new ideas and techniques into their own playing, making them more versatile and well-rounded musicians.
As you explore the album, remember to pay close attention to the techniques used in each song. This will help you develop a deeper understanding of Eddie's approach to the guitar, and ultimately, inspire you to push the boundaries of your own playing. So grab your guitar, put on Van Halen II, and let the learning begin!
NB: PERFORMANCE FOOTAGE NOT INCLUDED WITH THIS COURSE
Guitar Techniques Used in Van Halen II:
- Alternate Picking
- Tapped Harmonics
- Double-stop Bends
- Unison Bends
- Pinched Harmonics
- Tremolo Picking
- Chord Progressions
- Dive Bombs
- Power Chords
- Palm Muting
- Barre Chords
- Two-handed Tapping
- Sweep Picking
- Hybrid Picking
- Travis Picking
- Pick Slides
- String Bending
- Syncopated Rhythms
- Open-string Riffs
- Whammy Bar Tricks
- Bluesy Bends
- Octave Melodies
- Galloping Rhythms
- Dual Guitar Harmonies
- Arpeggiated Chord Progressions
- Altered Tunings
About The Tutor
Sam Bell has been playing guitar from the age of 4, since then he has played many styles from Funky Blues to screaming Metal/Fusion on 8 string guitar. A member of UK tech metal band ‘Mask of Judas’, he is also currently writing his own solo instrumental album. He also...