Adrian Belew on how Eddie Van Halen advanced guitar playing "to the next level"

Adrian Belew and Eddie Van Halen
(Image credit: Jordi Vidal/Redferns / Larry Marano/Getty Images)

It goes without saying that Eddie Van Halen redefined the way in which people – both fans and professional musicians alike – view the electric guitar. One individual in particular who falls in the latter camp is Adrian Belew, who recently declared that Van Halen took the guitar, and the concept of tapping in particular, “to the next level”.

Speaking to Ultimate Classic Rock, Belew recalled the first time he saw a young “unsigned” Van Halen perform live, revealing it was during a time when he and the Bears’ Rob Fetters were attempting to pioneer their own style of prototype fretboard tapping – a relatively new technique that, at the time, didn’t have a name.

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Matt Owen
Senior Staff Writer,

Matt is a Senior Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.