Wolfgang Van Halen’s new single has a monster tapping solo – featuring his uncle operating his wah pedal

Earlier this year, rising electric guitar star Wolfgang Van Halen revealed a fascinating tidbit of information about Mammoth II, the forthcoming sophomore album from his band, Mammoth WVH.

One of its tracks, Van Halen told Guitar Interactive, featured his uncle operating his wah pedal

We know what you're thinking, and the answer is no, the uncle in question was Patrick Bertinelli, not Alex Van Halen – the elder brother of Wolfgang's father, Eddie. 

“The song I'm Alright, for that solo with the wah... I kind of got bored with the operation of it, so I had my uncle Patrick do it,“ Van Halen explained to Guitar Interactive.

"You'll see on the back of the album, 'All songs written and performed by Wolfgang Van Halen, except for wah operation on solo of I'm Alright by Patrick Bertinelli.'“

I'm Alright is the follow-up to Take a Bow, a tune that also features its fair share of tapping.

Of course, Wolfgang's father, Eddie Van Halen, was a tapping pioneer, and the technique – even his father's unique twists on it – evidently rubbed off on him.

“I feel like every song, or at least every solo, [on Mammoth II] has a tapping lick at some point,” Wolfgang told Guitar World in a recent interview.

Of his technique (and his father's before him), Van Halen said to GW, “I guess my approach just came from growing up and watching Dad do it. I’ve been around tapping my whole life! What I often do is grip the neck with the thumb on my right hand, which frees up the index finger to tap. That’s just how I’ve always done it. 

“A lot of the sound is in the rhythm of how you tap,“ he continued. “I’ve seen a lot of players who aren’t familiar with the concept almost tap like they’re pulling up on the string towards themselves, you know? That’s not really how you should do it. You should be more in-line and parallel with the neck. Just watch videos of Dad doing it and you’ll see how he got that sound…“

To read Guitar World's full interview with Wolfgang Van Halen – which also covers how djent shaped his rhythmic approach, the likelihood of a Van Halen tribute show, and his use of Eddie Van Halen's most iconic gear – step right this way.

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.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.