Whether it be the heralded two-hand tapping masterclass of Eruption or the ferocious fretboard fireworks of Beat It, most electric guitar fans have a pretty solid idea of what their favorite Eddie Van halen guitar solo is.
It’s no different for the late guitar legend’s son, Wolfgang Van Halen, who was recently quizzed on his own personal favorite EVH solo during an appearance on Chris Jericho’s Talk is Jericho podcast.
Having been exposed to his father’s music from an early age (and having joined and performed live with Van Halen as a young musician) the Mammoth WVH leader is no doubt better placed than anybody when it comes to commenting on the pinnacle of Eddie’s guitar playing – heck, he's even inherited one of his technical quirks.
It’s this intimate knowledge of Eddie’s skills that makes his answer completely understandable, even though the unsung solo he name-drops might come as something of a surprise.
Rather than calling out any of the usual suspects, Wolfgang opted for a far more underrated cut.
“I like all of it, so take this with a grain of salt,” he mused. “A solo I think is really fun is the solo on Amsterdam, which is on Balance. That’s just a wacky, fun solo and I think that’s worth another look, if you haven’t listened to that song in a while.”
It might come as a surprise that Wolfgang didn't choose either Hot for Teacher or Panama, considering he covered (and nailed) both tracks last year – covers that made him so nervous that he was forced to change string gauges.
Turning the question on its head, Wolfgang was also asked which of his own guitar solos he is most fond of, with the Mammoth WHV mastermind cherry picking two takes from his most recent studio album.
Perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly, Wolfgang first singled out the lead effort on Take A Bow – the very same solo that he recorded using both his father’s legendary Frankenstein guitar and original Marshall amp rig.
“Right now, Take a Bow is something I'm really proud of,” Van Halen offered. “It’s a different sort of solo for me – very long-form in comparison to anything I've done before.”
Sharing the spotlight with the two-hand tapping heavy Take a Bow was new track Right?, which officially arrived last Friday (August 4) following the release of Mammoth II. “Really fun” and “aggressive” were the terms chosen to describe that particular solo.
There was no room on Van Halen's list for his most recent single, I'm Alright, which features both a monster tapping solo and his uncle operating a wah pedal.
The discussion of both Wolfgang and Eddie’s best solos followed a more macro conversation surrounding the main differences between the two Van Halens, with Jericho asking his guest to pick out what it is that sets the two guitarists apart from one another.
“When it comes to Mammoth, focusing on everything and playing everything is definitely my specialty,” Wolfgang responded. “I guess I see myself as more of a songwriter than a musician on any instrument. I focus more on the entirety of the song, because I have to.”