Songs Worth Learning - 15
There are certain songs that I think every guitar player should try to learn. Either they have cool guitar parts, or they will expand your playing skills, or they will introduce you to a style of music you may not have played before. I am going to recommend songs in several styles of music and explain why I think they should be added to your “play list.” Obviously, these are my choices, and no doubt, some will disagree with my choices. But each song has something good to offer so I think they are worth learning.
This will eventually be a huge list so I am going to post them one song at a time in no particular order. Take your time and enjoy each one.
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love - Van Halen
When Van Halen’s first album came out in 1978 most guitar players I knew (me included) were stunned by the instrumental guitar solo “Eruption", wondering how Eddie Van Halen could play so crazy fast. Later, thanks to guitar magazines (there was no YouTube back then to learn licks off of), we found out that he was “tapping.” He wasn’t the first to use this technique (I won’t jump into that argument of who was) but he certainly popularized it. Tapping was soon all over guitar oriented albums in the 80s, until overuse finally killed it off.
But “Eruption” isn’t on my list of Guitar Songs You Should Learn. You can (maybe) learn it if you have unlimited free time and want to learn what was essentially a live solo guitar “show off” break. Something that was obligatory in the 1970s (along with long drum solos.) No, instead I have chosen the song “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” from the same album. Not only for its use of three apostrophes in a four word title, but because it has a cool arpeggio riff that will give you a picking workout. It's got tons of guitar attitude, and it contains one of the few Van Halen solos that normal humans can play fairly accurately. Reportedly, Eddie was reluctant to bring the song to the band because he didn't think it was good enough.
Don’t forget to add some flanger, and play the harmonics in the bridge for that cool chimey sound.
[Note: The tuning is somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 step down from standard tuning. Eddie often tuned by ear back then and then Michael Anthony tuned to him.]