Want to play guitar like Eddie Van Halen?

Want to play guitar like Eddie Van Halen?

You can “jump” right into learning his signature style with the Eddie Van Halen Player Study. This course covers the finger tapping pioneer’s signature style, including harmonics, bluesy licks, and pentatonic playing.


Edward Lodewijk Van Halen was born in Amsterdam to a Dutch multi-instrumentalist father and a mother who was from the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies. The family moved to California in 1962. Both Eddie and his brother Alex started playing the piano at age six. However, despite winning multiple piano competitions, Eddie told Esquire in 2012 that he never learned to read music. The boys were drawn to rock music and Eddie bought a drum kit when Alex bought a guitar, but after hearing Alex play the drum solo from “Wipe Out”, they swapped instruments. 

The brothers formed their first band, “The Broken Combs” in elementary school. Van Halen cites a fourth-grade lunchtime performance with that band as one of the things that made him want to be a professional musician. 

The brothers formed the band Mammoth in 1972, and David Lee Roth joined as lead singer two years later, when the band officially changed its name to Van Halen and started playing the Los Angeles club circuit. They opened for UFO in 1976, and KISS bassist Gene Simmons said he was backstage by the third song waiting to talk to the band. Simmons signed the band and had them record demos, including “Runnin’ With the Devil”, but KISS frontman Paul Stanley and manager Bill Aucoin didn’t want to sign the band to Aucoin’s management portfolio. Van Halen got their own record deal with Warner Records the next year. 


Eddie Van Halen popularized – but didn’t invent – the two-handed tapping technique. Steve Hackett, Genesis’ lead guitarist in the 1970s, is broadly credited with inventing the technique and was cited as one of Van Halen’s influences. Van Halen also named Led Zepplin’s Jimmy Page as an influence. Up until 2005, Van Halen held a patent for a support device that attaches to the back of an electric guitar, flipping it face upward and allowing the user to tap it like a keyboard. Van Halen liked to dabble in the construction of guitars, playing many custom and heavily-modified instruments throughout the years, including the “Frankenstrat”, a guitar he built out of various parts. 



Van Halen died in Oct. 2020 after a long battle with cancer. Before that, he donated 75 of his own guitars to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, which gives instruments to students in low-income schools. Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, and Eddie is widely regarded as one of the best guitar players in rock history. 


Once you master Eddie Van Halen’s playing style, try one of these Van Halen song lessons!

Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love 

Eddie Van Halen wrote this song, but didn’t think it was good enough to show to his bandmates for a year! It was one of the few songs from the original David Lee Roth era that his replacement, Sammy Hagar, was willing to perform live. 


“Panama” was reportedly written about a car David Lee Roth saw in Las Vegas, the “Panama Express”, after a reporter accused Roth of only writing songs about women, partying and fast cars, and Roth realized he hadn’t written any songs about fast cars. 




Want to learn to play guitar like David Gilmour?

Want to learn to play like David Gilmour of Pink Floyd?

With the David Gilmour Player study, you’ll be “Learning to Fly” by learning his signature use of bends, vibrato, double note rhythms and minor scale notes.


David Gilmour joined English rock band Pink Floyd as guitarist and co-vocalist in 1967, just before founding member Syd Barrett left. From a young age, Gilmour’s parents encouraged his passion for music, and Gilmour was inspired by artists like Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers, and Bill Haley. According to a 2008 biography, Gilmour taught himself to play guitar using a record set and book by Pete Seeger. He met Barrett and fellow future Pink Floyd bandmate Roger Waters at 11. The boys attended different schools on the same road. He practiced guitar at lunchtime with Barrett. 

In 1962, Gilmour joined a blues band called “Jokers Wild”. They recorded an album of which only 50 copies were made. Gilmour busked around Spain and France with Barrett and some other friends in 1965. With very little money, the boys were arrested at one point, and Gilmour had to go to the hospital at one point for malnutrition. In 1967, Gilmour traveled to France with two of his “Jokers Wild” bandmates, performing under the names “Flowers” and “Bullitt”. The group was not financially successful, although Gilmour contributed vocals for two songs on the Brigette Bardot film Two Weeks in September. When the band got back to England later that year, they were so strapped for cash that they had to push their tour bus. 


Gilmour’s playing style has been described as a link between Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen. He welds electric blues and rock guitar techniques in his playing, which utilizes vibrato with a whammy bar, string bending, and use of scales and arpeggios. In addition to guitar, Gilour plays bass, keyboards, banjo, lap steel, mandolin, harmonica, drums, and saxophone.

Legacy and awards 

Gilmour continued to play with Pink Floyd after Roger Waters left the band in 1985. He has also released four solo albums, was inducted into the U.S and U.K. Rock and Roll Hall of Fames, and was made a Commander of the Order of the British empire. He has also produced several artists including Dream Academy. 

The Kate Bush connection

English singer Kate Bush enjoyed a new surge of popularity in 2022 after her 1985 song “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” went viral, thanks to being used in the soundtrack for Stranger Things Part. 4. Gilmour is often credited with bringing Bush into the public eye. In the 1970s, he received a mixtape by the then 16-year-old Bush from a family friend, and paid for her to professionally record three demo tracks. He also arranged for the EMI executive who signed Bush to hear the tape.

Once you learn Gilmour’s signature style, you can test drive it with Pink Floyd lessons on the Fret Zealot app!

Comfortably Numb 

Gilmour wrote the music for one of Pink Floyd’s most recognizable songs, and Roger Waters wrote the lyrics. The song is part of their concept album The Wall (released in 1979) and was inspired by Waters being injected with a muscle relaxant to help with hepatitis symptoms before a show.

Wish You Were Here 

The original album version of “Wish You Were Here” switches from the previous track, “Have a Cigar”, as if it was played on a radio switching from station to station, including a snippet of classical music and a radio play between tracks. The audio was recorded from Gilmour’s car radio. Gilmour then plays the intro on a 12-string guitar and overdubs another acoustic guitar solo. The part is mixed to sound like someone is playing guitar with the radio.

Want to learn how to play guitar like Carlos Santana?

Want to learn to play guitar like fusion pioneer Carlos Santana? Learning his style will be “Smooth” with the Carlos Santana Player study from Fret Zealot.

This course covers Santana’s signature style, including legato style, playing pentatonic scales and the Dorian mode, and utilizing speed changes.


Carlos Augusto Santana Alves is a ten-time GRAMMY award-winning guitarist who is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – but his first instrument was the violin. Santana, who was born in Jalisco, Mexico, was taught violin at age five and guitar at age eight by his father, who was a mariachi musician.

Santana was influenced as a child by blues artists like B.B. King and Gábor Szabó, as well as Chicano rock pioneer Ritchie Valens. In the 1950s, he joined bands playing along the Tijuana Strip and developed his sound as a guitarist. After moving with his family to San Francisco in 1961 – which was the birthplace of the burgeoning psychedelic movement – Santana started the Santana Blues Band. Playing a unique blend of Latin-infused rock, African rhythms, salsa, jazz, and blues, the band quickly grew a following in the Golden City. After being signed to Columbia Records, the band performed at the iconic 1969 Woodstock Music Festival – before their debut album was even released.


"Carlos Santana" by badosa is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Santana has had a decades-spanning career, and his signature tone and playing style has evolved over the years. Some features of his playing that have held over time include his use of long, sustained notes sans vibrato, trademark trills, and unique sense of timing – he often plays riffs that are rhythmically complex.

Awards and legacy 

Santana has won multiple music awards, including the Billboard Lifetime Achievement and Spirit of Hope awards, two GRAMMY awards and a Latin GRAMMY award for Person of the Year (2004), Kennedy Center Honors, a NAACP image award, and many others. Along with his former wife Deborah King, he co-founded the Milagro Foundation, which supports children who lack resources in arts, education, and health. 


Want to learn to play guitar like Dimebag Darrell?

Want to learn to play like Dimebag Darrell of Pantera?

With the Dimebag Darrell Player study from Fret Zealot, you’ll be able to “Walk” in the footsteps of the legendary Pantera and Damageplan guitarist, learning his signature tricks, licks, and techniques.


Darrell Lance Abbott, known by his stage name “Dimebag”, co-founded both bands with his brother, Vinnie Paul. Abbott, the son of a country music producer, started playing guitar at age 12 on a Les Paul-style Hohner that he received on his 12th birthday. Young Abbott was influenced by bands like KISS, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, and Judas Priest.

According to GuitarWorld, at age 14, Abbott entered a guitar contest at a Dallas nightclub, which Dean Zelinsky, founder of Dean Guitars, was judging. “Dimebag blew everyone away,” Zelinsky recalled in a 2010 article.

Pantera was formed in 1981 as a glam metal band. Vinnie Paul accepted an invitation from his high school classmates to start a band, but on the condition that Abbott be allowed to join as well. They released their first album “Metal Magic”, in 1983 when Abbott was 16 years old. After releasing two more albums in the glam metal style, the Abbott brothers started being influenced by bands like Metallica and Slayer, which helped them to develop the groove metal style Pantera is known for.


"Dimebag Darrell with Pantera" by Rik Goldman is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Abbott used major thirds in his riffs and leads – a technique inspired by Van Halen – which created dissonance with tones in minor keys. He also utilized harmonics to create a signature “squealing” sound, and used alternative tunings throughout his career, including Drop D and down 1 and ½ step tuning.


In 2004, while performing with Damageplan in a Columbus, Ohio nightclub, 38-year-old Abbott was fatally shot onstage, as well as the band’s head of security, a fan, and a venue employee. His funeral was attended by thousands of fans and artists, including Eddie Van Halen. Van Halen donated his original black-and-yellow guitar to be included in Abbott’s casket – Abbott had met Van Halen a few weeks earlier and asked him for a replica of the guitar. Abbott was posthumously inducted into Hollywood’s RockWalk in 2007, and was ranked as the most influential metal guitarist of the past 25 years by VH1 in 2015.

Once you learn Abbott’s signature style, you can test drive it with over 90 Pantera tabs on the Fret Zealot app!


If you want a wild ride, try learning #CowboysFromHell by Pantera. Here it is full speed on #FretZealot #fyp #GuitarTok #MetalHead #music #GuitarLesson #guitar #metaltok

♬ Cowboys from Hell - Pantera


Want to play guitar like Brian May of Queen?

Want to play guitar like Angus Young of AC/DC?