With everyone talking about Van Halen’s just-launched 2015 North American tour, we thought it would be fun to dust off this vintage clip of Eddie Van Halen showing off some of his guitar tricks.
The source for this is a 1986 video for MTV, made while Van Halen were out on their 5150 tour.
In it, Ed clowns around for the camera by demonstrating his elephant and horse sound effects. The elephant effect is performed by tapping a few harmonics with the guitar’s volume control turned down, then raising the volume while pulling up on the whammy bar. The horse sound effect involves raking three or four strings, hitting a high-pitched note with a pick harmonic and using the whammy bar to raise the pitch up and down.
We’ve also included a video of Johnny Beane showing how he does these tricks. Cut to the 0:50 mark on Johnny’s video to get right to the action.