Wide stretch licks ala Van Halen's Ice Cream Man

#1

Hey there code crackers of the world! Wondering if anyone out there can offer some insight on this situation of mine (and likely many others with a similar predicament).

I recently decided after a long break from learning any songs to have another crack at some old favourites particularly van halen tracks (mainly 1st album :metal:) and have come stuck with the track ice cream man and its wide stretch lick beginning the solo.

My fretting hand technique has always gravitated more towards a classical style positioning for the majority of playing (unless bending or using vibrato, thumb over top chords and such like) and I tend to use my pinky an awful lot, therefore using it at a stretch is fine for me, except with this lick :thinking:.

I’m wondering if anyone has any advice as to alternate positioning of the fretting hand or some exercises to that are productive without too much risk of injury as sometimes attempting this lick leads to a bad case of cramp in the old digits. Although my main issue is during the ensuing hammer ons and pull offs my index begins sliding upwards under the tension In my hand, lick runs 12th, 16th, 19th on high e string and descends roughly the same pattern to the A string.

Hope I hear from some friendly folks with sound advice, thanks all. Blue :wink:

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#2

Foot up on the monitor*, guitar right up on your thigh, almost straight up and down.

*Or, whatever.

edit: The man himself seems to do it without any leg involvement:

#3

:joy:, if I did that standing up I may take out a light fixture. Fair play though, I do find this sort of thing easier resting the guitar on my left leg (right handed). Its just I notice with guys who typically play with that angled hand style coming from lots of blues playing which tend to use index middle and ring for fast licks ommitting the pinky (Eddie is using the pinky granted) those guys seem to find it easier, my hand is just very much not used to that sort of angled kinda stretch if you understand my meaning. And I am unsure of thumb placement during these stretches. Also the video I’m learning from Is performed by one Jamie Humphries, and I’m trying to replicate the lick with 2 different fingerings just for the sake of practice (probably should have mentioned that) the way Humphries plays it is index middle and pinky, I naturally wouldve opted for index ring and pinky, then again this fella has an abnormally wide stretch between his Index and middle finger

#4

Uploading: 20190610_111545.jpg…

#5

The VH tab available for this is pretty accurate if you can find it. If not PM me…

You will have to get your guitar to match that photo of Eddie in order to get the arm and hand in the correct position.

Note, this isn’t a purely legato run. Ed picks a few notes throughout. It’s a challenging lick, and will tax your hand muscles.
I break it up into 3 parts

#6

I recall a Doug Steele lesson where he suggests using a “variation” on the design of the lick with a less demanding strech to get the technique and timing down first, then trying to recreate it with the real stretch.

#7

Yeah I remember seeing that. Doug is great.

#8

Many thanks for the replies gentlemen, been working on this the past few days now and have found that my thumb positioning was playing a large part in this issue.
By placing my thumb more toward the floor and further up toward the bridge end of the neck this feels far more comfortable and can now manage that stretch.
Currently at work on a ship so internet is far too slow to upload anything meaningful ( think that’s why my photo failed to upload). Suffice to say this lick Is far easier ( for me at least ) using fingers 1 3 4, although as stated I’m making the attempt to use this lick as somewhat of an exercise to increase the dexterity of my stretch between index and middle finger.
Thanks @NCASO I have a pretty comprehensive lesson on this solo in terms of notes, and can now achieve this lick albeit at a more relaxed tempo (for now :upside_down_face:) without the need for skyward guitar theatrics haha. Also @Frylock thank you for your suggestion, before reading your post i had been attempting just that one afternoon, and helped a fair bit with the learning of this pattern, in terms of timing I’ve felt no real issue as I’ve loved this song for many years and this particular lick is surely etched somewhere in the recesses of my mind :rofl:

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