“The Rise solo was anointed by whatever DNA I grabbed from Edward that day. Whatever kiss he gave me on the lips, I went back into the studio and brought it with me”: Nuno Bettencourt unpicks the guitar solo that kept Van Halen’s fire burning

Nuno Bettencourt
(Image credit: Dustin Jack)

2023 was an exceptional year for guitar music, with no shortage of talent old and new dazzling us with world‑conquering riffs, miraculous fretwork and life-affirming compositions.

But no-one ruled the roost quite like Nuno Bettencourt, whose work on Extreme’s album Six – notable for being their first in 15 years – left everyone speechless in its sense of bold ambition, indicative of a band who knew how to play to their strengths while also reinventing themselves in other ways for the modern age. 

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Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences as a guitar player. He's worked for magazines like Kerrang!Metal HammerClassic RockProgRecord CollectorPlanet RockRhythm and Bass Player, as well as newspapers like Metro and The Independent, interviewing everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handled lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).