Feedback on “Eruption” transcription

Hello everyone! I haven’t posted in a great while, but I wanted to ask for some help in proofreading/critiquing and thoroughly reasoned editing/correction on the “Eruption” transcription that I have worked on over the last several years with a good friend. I reached out to the CTC team and Brendan recommended that I post it here and ask you guys for help.

Here’s a link to download the PDF:

Eruption revision 4:3:20.pdf (251.3 KB)

That friend is very sensitive about posting anything online with his name attached to it, but I have to say he has contributed the most to this project in terms of the notes, fingerings and picking directions…in other words, the vast majority of what is important. Most of my contributions were being a sounding board for logical discussion of the playing and the technical things like the tuning, tempos, delay times and the effects (including the instructions on how to achieve the octave pitch dive at the end of the piece with a vintage Univox EC-80 A Echo Chamber) were all me.

Initially, he and I went back and forth reasoning out every note until we came to an agreement on everything. 99% of the time it was essentially him teaching me how to play it correctly after my decades of struggling with horrifyingly inaccurate official transcriptions and more recently (with the advent of the Internet of course) with inaccurate online lessons/TABs.

I had and still have a goal of posting this online in forums and other social media so that anyone can access it for free if they want to learn the piece more accurately than ever before. I don’t even care about getting credit for it (though I will accept blame if I’ve botched something!) but I have a burning passion to correct the misleading information and just plain WRONG transcriptions of the past. It’s perhaps one of, if not the most hackneyed, overplayed and overanalyzed pieces in all of rock guitar…but by God it’s also been the one piece that has really never been served properly in terms of accuracy. I hope I can achieve my goal.

My friend and I have almost absolute zero knowledge of music theory or understanding of standard notation, so after we came to a stopping point on the project, I enlisted the help of former Guitar World transcription editor Matt Scharfglass to enter our TAB with our findings and observations into a professional score with standard musical notation and TAB…he is a consummate musician and his services did not come cheap (I spent close to $800 on paying for his services and I’m far from wealthy) but it was well worth it. He made my dream of having our TAB in a score that is exactly as it would appear if it were published in a major officially licensed guitar publication like Guitar World or the official transcription books we all know of (which are all too often riddled with mistakes-especially in the case of Van Halen music).

I will note that the only thing I want to work on further is to go back and get the ending tapping segment as close to 100% accurate to the recording as I can. I confess that I ran out of steam and just transcribed that part as it had almost always been transcribed. In fact, Eddie made many “errors” in the tapping segment, many changes of “direction” in the triplets and noises/bumping into open strings during position shifts, etc. that I want in the final transcription but I ran out of patience (and money) at least for the time being.

Sometimes when you work on something like this so hard for so long you need to step back, take a break and get some fresh eyeballs on it. I hope I can count on you guys for help.

I would also make a big request that you not share this transcription outside this forum just yet. I want to post it everywhere I can eventually, but not until I’ve had the chance to get your feedback.

P.S. Brendan suggested that I get this into Soundslice and after seeing the EXCELLENT “Far Beyond The Sun” transcription from LuckyMojo and the amazing facility that Soundslice offers I would love that. If anyone out there can get this into Soundslice with the original recording as was done on “Far Beyond The Sun” it would be far beyond my wildest dreams!

Thanks in advance!
Allen !
**As of 04-03-20 I’ve had Matt add Troy’s edit suggestions into the transcription to the best of my ability. This edit is reflected in the new download link for the pdf in this post and in the images below:


Looks excellent. A real labor of love.

I’d be happy to sync this up in soundslice. Do you have a guitar pro file or music xml of the notation? Feel free to PM me.


Awesome, very cool project! Hope you get some good feedback here :slight_smile:

Re: adding to Soundslice, that should be quite easy, like literally 5 minutes or less to start! They support importing most standard notation formats — so you can just create an account, import e.g. a Guitar Pro file, and it will translate that automatically to their own format where you can edit further (or if you prefer to edit locally with another app, you can just re-import as needed).

It’s possible depending on software that there are certain things that don’t translate 100% exactly on import, but for the most part their notation import process works quite well.

If you can find a high quality version of the track on YouTube, I believe you can actually add a video to sync it with, even with the free Soundslice account (for syncing with custom uploaded audio/video files it requires the $5 / month account). Then you just have to go through the video and create ‘syncpoints’ so it knows how to match up the timing with the video.

For ease of making future edits, I’d suggest making an account and uploading yourself, it really should be pretty straightforward!


Thanks very much for the enthusiasm and quick replies!

I’ve e-mailed the guy who entered the transcription into software (Matt Scharfglass as I mentioned) to see if he can send me the transcription in music xml. I believe he used Sibelius and I reckon that might have that format.

I used some different references…the main one being my DCC Compact Classics CD and I also used the Guitar Hero isolated track which has just slight differences (A burst of feedback at the beginning and no bass or drums). That “burst” helped me zero in on the delay time for the Echoplex and having the drums and bass cut out helped me to determine that there were no guitar overdubs on the A-G-D chord stabs. It’s just a standard 500 ms which is what anyone can get standard on an Echoplex.

Here is the Guitar Hero track:

And here is the 2015 remaster:

I’m trying it out and find the numbers a very hard to see…is there a higher resolution version you can post?

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At the moment, I have only a pdf and the forum doesn’t allow me to upload a pdf. Instead I had to take screen captures from the pdf using my phone.

Can anyone suggest a work-around to get the original pdf posted?

Hi! I enabled so you should be able to upload a PDF now. Sorry I didn’t realize those images were so low-res. Looks like when you add a PDF it just shows as a downloadable file though, not a nice embed…so I think the best solution will definitely be to just add on Soundslice as soon as you get the original notation file. You should be able to edit the OP above as needed.

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That’s great Brendan! I went ahead and uploaded the pdf now and it shows as a downloadable link at the top of my post now.

I also went a little rogue and just took pictures of a print out I made of my pdf with my iPhone and re-posted those images which do embed nicely and should be much better resolution than the screen captures I posted before…looks great I think!

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Jeez, I’ve already found an error I missed…The very first note of Bar 3 is notated as P.H. for pinch harmonic and it should be notated it as A.H. (for Artificial Harmonic) with the pitch of F#. That was an error on Matt’s end and I’ll have to get him to edit that.

This is the kind of thing that fresh eyes can help with…I haven’t looked at this since August of 2019 and Bang! I immediately catch a glaring error that I completely missed!

That’s a pretty small error in my book :slight_smile:

Looking forward to the animated tab!


Looks like I’ve run into some trouble with getting the xml file into Soundslice. Mojo was helping me sort it out, but I think there is a problem with the xml file that I got from Matt Scharfglass. I’ll check with him (Matt) again and see if he has any recommendations. He’s never e-mailed an xml file before and he wasn’t certain it would work and it appears it hasn’t…

He said exported it from Finale if that helps?

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It’s a nice transcription although the intro repetitive lick uses an open e string … the transcription has it on the B string … Eddie plays it on an open e it’s a standard lucky uses and other guitar solos as well … Otherwise excellent … although I can’t help but notice I’ve seen the same notation years ago in another magazine that transcribed it as well

I appreciate your comment, however in our research and listening to the recording we have determined that using the open E string is not what Eddie is doing. Though this has been one of the common misconceptions that this transcription is aimed at correcting.

In our opinion we believe the way we have it transcribed is correct based on listening to the recording and the Steven Rosen interview here starting at the 12:09 mark where he demonstrates the lick

That lick is simply another instance of Eddie copying Clapton’s licks from the ending cadenza from the ‘Goodbye’ live version of “Sitting On Top Of The World” with only a slight variation by adding the open B string. Here is a comparison of the “Sitting On Top Of The World” lick and the “Eruption” lick that should help you understand:

The first Down stroke E note at the 5th fret of the B string is followed by another E note at the same spot with an Up stroke…this sets up the rest of the lick which follows with a Hammer-On from the 5th fret of the B string to the 8th fret of the B string…then a pull-off to the 5th fret of the B again and then pull-off to the open B. Then the lick is concluded with an Up stroke to the 8th fret of the G string.

This follows Clapton’s picking pattern exactly as Eddie so often does, with the only addition being the open B string.

I disagree . He used the same ‘shape’ on Somebody he me a doctor … with and open E …except in Bm key … to make the connection and butress your argument to Clapton’s tune, s fallacious because you are assuming that’s the answer and you are creating the that lick. Rather the ‘shape’ should be taken independently … The disagreement will go on … Lol

Cheers, we disagree. I will say that I would appreciate constructive criticism backed up with examples and logic as I have done.

For instance…saying “I think this lick goes like this…” is not really helping anyone, least of all the person making the statement.

On the other hand, saying "I think this lick goes like this, and here is an example of why I think so and here is an example from the recording/interview/video clip/photograph etc. that backs up why I think this lick goes like this.

Does that make sense as a baseline for this thread?

BEAR IN MIND THAT THIS REPRESENTS WHAT MY COLLABORATORS AND I HAVE LEARNED. Transcribing is NOT an exact science and we are always learning and refining any piece that we study. This piece is no exception. Though we have used sound logic and all resources at our disposal, we are fully aware that we can be wrong about anything and we are ALWAYS open to learning anything more accurately, especially when there is sound logic and evidence that can be clearly demonstrated to be more correct than what we have found.

This section IS controversial and very often transcribed differently between different transcribers and players and my collaborators and I feel they have all missed what Eddie actually played. Let’s call this section, “B-string pull-off section”. There’s more to this section than just pull-offs, but this title should suffice for the sake of this examination.

Here are some examples of how it has been transcribed in the past…all incorrect in our opinion:

Steve Vai in Guitar Player 07-1984:

Wolf Marshall/Cherry Lane Publishing-1990:

Jimmy Brown in Guitar World 09/20/2004 (this was the closest to correct so far):

Here is how we believe this segment is actually being played:

Here is a clip of this segment slowed down to 1/5 speed:

Our logic is actually very simple: you play it EXACTLY like the SOTOTW cadenza with the open B string and the “Blue” Eb note at the 8th fret of the G string added in - Lick 1 once and then Lick 2:

Notice how the picking pattern matches…This segment is yet another example of Eddie playing Clapton’s licks from the unaccompanied guitar solo at the end of the live version of “Sitting On Top Of The World" from Cream’s Goodbye album. He simply added the hammer-on from the 5th fret of the B string to the 8th fret of the B string and then pulling off to the open B followed by landing on the 8th fret of the G string. The picking directions (Up or Down strokes) remains the same across these three strings (high E, B and G strings). So we like to refer to this section as simply “Eruption/SOTOTW lick”. The note at the 8th fret of the B string is definitely NOT picked but sounded by a Hammer-On from the 5th fret of the B string and then the following note at the 5th fret of the B string is sounded as a Pull-Off from the 8th fret of the B string. There is no pick attack at the note located at 8th fret of the B string.

In order to capture the feel of this “Eruption” lick that I have notated in our full transcription (which is basically the same as the SOTOTW Clapton lick), notice that the first strike of the E note at the 5th fret of the B string is accented less than the more accented second strike of the same note that begins the hammer/pull sequence that follows. This is a natural result of Clapton and Eddie’s picking direction choice…the first strike is a Downstroke (less accented) and the second strike is an Upstroke (more accented). As in Lick #2 from “Sitting On Top Of The World”, the two strikes of the B string at the 5th fret go by VERY fast and are played very legato (smoothly). I believe that the other transcribers missed the TWO strikes of the E note at the 5th fret of the B string because they are not aware of the SOTOTW/Clapton licks and how they are integrated into Eddie’s playing. If you listen to the slowed down clip, I believe you can hear that our TAB is much closer to what Eddie is actually playing. In the Steven Rosen clip you can hear Eddie demonstrating the lick and he starts out by striking the first note in the sequence at the 5th fret of the B string once, but as he pours on the speed, that little Clapton “hiccup” that is so ingrained in Eddie’s playing DNA comes out and he picks it twice as we have notated it in the transcription. It is very hard to hear the two strikes, but we believe it is there and it certainly follows Eddie’s Clapton derived patterns.

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Either way, the passage sounds aggressive and…is great fun to rip through.

garbeaj - The slowed-down track seems to be of very good quality, with very few artifacts, which are common in a lot of software. Do you mind sharing the name of the program you used to slow this down? Thanks!

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Watch this video this guy nailed Eruption …

When I deconstructed the opening lick of eruption the reason why he does use an open E string and NOT the E on the 5th fret / B string … is guided by Eddie’s unique Phrasing … Phrasing motifs are what most guitar players miss about Eddie’s uniqueness … it’s not about what needs to lick easier to play … it’s about understanding is rhythmic idiosyncrasies. Which he inherited from his father’s is fathers jazz swing clarinet examples … Eddie begins most of his phrasing motifs on up beats and ends solos on up beats … It doesn’t have anything to do with Eric Clapton songs … is it jazz swing feel … and the bottom line you can hear the attack on the open string, it is an open string when he begins phrase … listen to somebody get me a doctor as I mentioned before it’s the same thing except on B minor and he starts the phrase on an open string E …


I implore everyone, once again, to provide logical examples and concrete evidence as I have.