Skip to main content

Watch Wolfgang Van Halen Play "Eruption" on the Original Frankenstein in Newly Released Studio Footage

Wolfgang Van Halen plays the original Frankenstein guitar at 5150 Studios in Los Angeles
(Image credit: wolfvanhalen/Instagram)

Eddie Van Halen's "Eruption," one of the most groundbreaking electric guitar instrumentals of all time, was recorded 45 years ago this summer. 

Last Friday (September 9), Eddie's son, Wolfgang, took to Instagram (opens in new tab) to celebrate the 45th anniversary of its recording with the release of a 2015 video of him playing the incendiary solo on his father's original Frankenstein guitar. You can see the clip below.

As he explains in the video's caption, Wolfgang used Frankenstein on two of the tracks on the 2021 self-titled debut album from his Mammoth WVH project.

A post shared by Wolfgang Van Halen (@wolfvanhalen) (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by on

"'Eruption' was recorded 45 years ago today," Wolfgang wrote (opens in new tab) on Instagram. "In honor of that, here’s a video of me playing part of it on the guitar it was recorded on in 2015.

"I had used the Frankenstein on a couple tracks on the first Mammoth WVH album, and we were just having some fun before we started. I definitely plan on bringing it out again for the second album.

"On Van Halen 1," he continued, "the guitar was tuned a half step down, but the song I was about to record was a full step down. Hence 'Eruption' being a half step down here.

"You can hear my hesitation before playing, and I almost decided to try and play it up one fret, but I ended up just playing in its normal position. I may have attempted to do that after this video at some point though.

"Love and miss you, Pop," the note concludes.

Despite its incalculable impact on the world of guitar (it was voted by Guitar World readers as the second greatest guitar solo of all time in a 2021 poll (opens in new tab)), "Eruption" wasn't even supposed to be on Van Halen's self-titled 1978 debut album, originally.

"My guitar solo, 'Eruption,' wasn't planned for the record," Eddie told Guitar Player in a 1978 interview. "Al [Alex Van Halen, the band's drummer and Eddie's brother] and I were picking around rehearsing for a show, and I was warming up with this solo. Ted [Templeman, Van Halen's producer] came in and said, "It's great, put it on the record."

Jackson Maxwell
Associate Editor, GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.