Eddie Van Halen best picking moments on video?

In the piles and piles of live footage out there of Eddie, what are some of the best examples of his various picking motions and associated playing? There are a bunch of good shots of the tremolo technique. “Live Without A Net” (LWAN?) has the classic shot of that from the solo. The low angle shot from the 1983 USFest show is also pretty cool, although the quality is generally low on that footage.

LWAN also has some decent shots of Ed’s wrist-oriented playing. I caught very brief YouTube example of some blazing wrist tremolo done at forearm-level speeds at the end of one of the tunes. I just ordered a fresh DVD copy off [edit:] Amazon and will sit down and watch the whole thing for other examples.

The audio-only 70s bootleg tapes from the first tour and the club shows before that have some blazing picking, but there’s not much video of that time.

What else comes to mind?


Best clip I ever saw was that one you used for the analysis of his trem mechanic.

Here is another angle from a Japanese interview:


I don’t have specific moments, but there’s a pro-shot show from Tokyo in 1989 that probably has some good bits.

Here’s one from toronto in 95. Not the best angles, but it might be worth checking out. At 14:15 he does some picking during Eruption and it’s a top down angle. At 15:20 you see an angle for his tremolo picking. At 22:28 the camera zooms in briefly to get him doing some tremolo picking but not with his usual free floating hand.

Awesome find, thanks! Those are some cool shots. How the hell did they get that overhead?

I’ve spent a lot of time watching his technique, a few easy for me to link to atm examples.

This the best performance I’ve seen anywhere, amazing solos throughout.
Though check out 3:47 Unbelievable tremolo lick with movement across the string at the end.

1:02:50 is the end of his solo, goes from very nice rhythm into his tremolo. Good angles and beautiful shift in mood.


His tremolo, watch for the fluid shift from his tremolo to alternate picking.

This whole video has great shots.


I’m also wondering how they got those overhead shots!

It’s also interesting to note Eddie describes his tremolo as a spasm. While not a true “spasm” I can replicate a "vibration or “shaking” effect from the elbow, Most people can, yet doing that with te wrist just doesn’t work the same. I bet Eddie is able to achieve this video game button mashing vibration, in his wrist.

He also has some very extreme angles in this thumb, like hyper mobility, this gives him a very solid high surface area grip with the full pad of his thumb. He is able to use the middle finger grip that is effective with cross picking, he plays a lot like steve morse in the basic picking stuff.
I’m confidant this unusually stable and strong grip in the middle finger style is what gives eddie such powerful expressive picking.

1 Like

Here are some pictures of him holding the pick, unfortunately I don’t have them in colour and I’m not even sure if they were originally printed in colour. They are from Guitar Player July 1984.


1 Like

Bumping this topic - I know this isn’t a video, but someone posted this on Facebook and I thought I would post it here. It’s a good shot of how he holds his pick. Looks like it’s from the Balance era.

1 Like

Great shot. What gauge is that? It looks like a bottle cap. I thought he did super thin picks.

Also a great example of the flexed form generally requiring a pick pointing more toward the thumbnail, a la Joscho Stephan, Marty Friedman, Batio, etc.

1 Like

Not too sure, but it does look like a bottle cap, as you say! Chances are it’s one of the metal picks he would sometimes play with, either made from brass or copper.

The metal picks that he famously blamed for his tongue cancer, I think. That is a great photo, though!

1 Like

Man… Eddie’s tapping is so loud, clear , noiseless it’s basically playing FFF on a harpsichord

1 Like