Mike Dawes performs awe-inspiring percussive acoustic rendition of Van Halen's Jump – including the solos

Those familiar with UK-based acoustic guitar virtuoso Mike Dawes will be no stranger to his dazzling one-man-band reinventions of classic songs, including versions of Metallica's One and John Mayer's Slow Dancing in a Burning Room.

And now, in a touching tribute to the late, great Eddie Van Halen, he's created a breathtaking rendition of Van Halen's Jump.

Watch as he navigates the track's infectious hooks by implementing just about everything he has in his acoustic arsenal. From its melodies and their accompaniments to its energetic rhythm section, he finds a way to incorporate everything from the original into this transformative and inspirational acoustic masterpiece. 

Oh, and he's not using a looper pedal, either: the whole performance is played with just one acoustic guitar and some effects pedals to sweeten the tone.

“When I was 14, I heard Eddie Van Halen play for the first time. Needless to say, he changed everything,” Dawes says. “From transcribing his iconic Beat It solo at school to adopting his signature techniques on the acoustic guitar years later. 

“This pandemic had really diminished my creativity and I hadn't played guitar for two months through the late summer. There was nothing in the tank. Upon hearing the tragic news of Eddie's passing, I immediately picked up the guitar and it all came pouring out. That desire to play, the creativity. 

“There was a great video of Ed going around telling a young fan to 'play music, just play music, man.' I stayed up until 6AM that night just playing. Then the same the next day.

“I started this Jump cover back in 2008 after seeing my hero Eric Roche on YouTube performing his iconic version. I felt I didn't have the chops back then to get it done (especially the solo – what do you even do with that!?), but this past week it all came back.

“In fact, I'm supposed to be promoting my live album, but this arrangement has just consumed every ounce of my mind recently. I wanted to create a tribute in honor of a legend that inspired so many players out there, and I hope I've done it justice.”

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at GuitarWorld.com from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.