Van Halen's Secret Ingredient

When Hurricane Van Halen struck the shores of guitar culture in 1978, the all-engulfing blues-based flurries of notes were so fast that few people realized Eddie Van Halen’s primary influence was Mr. Slowhand himself, Eric Clapton. One reason EVH could play Clapton-esque blues riffs at such blinding speed is because he often included (and sometimes pulled off to) his secret ingredient: open strings. Dig how the open strings in the Bm7 example make the swirling quintuplets easy to play—and how shifting the moves down a string changes the general harmony to G7. (Notice that only the first and last notes of each quintuplet are picked.)