Van Halen - "Sinners Swing" - an example of pick Chirp?


You push the pick into the string into the pickup after the second time you play the main riff.

I think it is.

What do you guys think?


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Note that the pickup will also make a noise if you contact the pole piece with a metal object that’s not a guitar string (e.g. the tip of a screwdriver). So there may be a “pole piece contact noise” component that’s separate from the “chirp”. But to me, the version of this on record sounds pretty chirpy, or even like a pick scrape, so I definitely think it has a “artifically shortened vibration of the string between the pick and the bridge” component to it. I guess you could argue that the string is perhaps being fretted against the pickup more than against the pick, or that the string is being “pinched” between pick and pickup. To me, understanding how the sound is created is more interesting than wringing hands over “is this similar enough to pick chirp to call it pick chirp or not”.

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I’ve looked for examples of Eddie playing it and I can’t find any as of yet.


I just think it was a bit of improvised flair that Eddie added to the riff. He could have bounced his pick on the strings or something like that.