I Was Asked If Most Guitarists Could Play Eruption. So I Ask...


Silver Supporting Member
TL/DR version- Can you now- or previously were able to- play "Eruption"? What other solos do you consider "guitar standard" that most guitarsist learn at some point? I think the "Stairway To Heaven" Solo.

Long version:

So I was talking to one of the Officers/Investigators at work the other day about music. He knows I'm a musician, record, etc and that guitar is my main instrument etc., though I also play other instruments and program synths, sample, etc.

Anyways, we got on about guitar playing and specifically songs that are known "guitar player standards" solos, specifically "Eruption" and how much of a game changer that was. So he says:

"So every rock guitar player probably knows how to play "Eruption, right?"

I told him not really, that there are many that probably don't know how or can't play it and that I personally knew more guitarists who couldn't play it than do. Especially since the gun slinger days of the 80's have been over for awhile (where in those days it seemed everybody over the age of 12 could play it). He was fairly surprised. So it got me thinking....

How many of us on here can play "Eruption"? Did you used to be able to but can no longer? Never even tried? Obviously being able to play it or not means nothing about anybody as a guitarsist other than they took the time to learn it. I know plenty of amazing guitarsist who can't even come close to playing it. But it's such a paramount piece that even non-guitarsist know it got me thinking about how many of us on here took the time to wood-shed it. I assume a lot, but I could be wrong...

What other guitar standard staples do you think most guitarsist know, or should know?


Well, it would really depend on the type(s) of music you gravitate to. I certainly remember being blown away by Eruption when I first heard it, but generally speaking, learning to play in that shredder style has never held any appeal for me.


Do people still learn to play that? That kind of playing went out of vogue a long time ago. I suppose it would still be fun for kids to learn. But there ain't much musical value in it unless you want to play in an 80s hair metal tribute band or something like that
I can play it well enough that an audience wouldn't notice that it wasn't spot on, but it's not close enough that EVH geeks would freak over it or anything.

I'm 34; when I was growing up, grunge was king, but I was just always drawn to that style of playing. I think there's still plenty of metal heads out there that learn it. If anything, I feel like I've heard more younger players covering it than older players. I think some older players were intimidated by it when it came out and still have it in their head that it's too difficult. Not that it's easy, but there's crazier stuff out there these days.


I never bothered. At my peak I could have pulled it of. I have been a rhythm guitarist now for 15 years or so and my soloing skills have greatly diminished. I remember when Yngwie Malmsteen hit the scene, I spent about 6 weeks locked away in my room working on sweeping and got down about 4 patterns and never used it other than to show off to some friends so the only sweeping I do now is when wifey wants me to do housework. Same goes for most technically challenging solos. I just aint got it any more and have no motivation to get it back. I am happy.


I can do about 60% of it (or I used to). But I find Eddie's playing too idiosyncratic for anyone to do an exact copy. Even when people play all the right notes, and can play it up to speed, it never sounds right. I had an easier time learning Eugene's trick Bag for that reason.


most likely to seceede
Platinum Supporting Member
While I love early Van Halen, I never really cared for Eruption.. probably better that way since I don't have the chops for it anyway.

I find the Stairway solo to be pretty easy actually, and I've only been playing 5 years. It has a lot of repetitive licks so once you learn a few phrases you got it.

I just learned Aqualung, that solo is a lot of fun, as is the rest of the song.


FKA BadHat
Silver Supporting Member
I would say that there are very few guitar players that can play Eruption. Pete Thorn can do it. I can't recall too many others that have posted a credible version. There used to be a guy on HC that could pull it off.

How can somebody take one of the hottest guitar solos ever and just assume that all guitar players can play it? I kind of wonder if EVH can even play it correctly anymore.


Silver Supporting Member

Only VH I have ever heard were videos on MTV when my daughter was watching.

Not hating just not on my radar.


Silver Supporting Member
I still play it, but over the years it's morphed away from the original. I've added a bit of Mozart and Beethoven's 5th into it, along with parts from 'Spainish Fly'.
I was about 15 when I learned it and I'm now 50.
Had a request for it at the gig last night no less.

Marc Roy

I learned it when I was in my teens (all I did back then was play guitar and Van Halen was the reason I picked it up in the first place). Don't think I ever got it right.

I gave up trying to learn that flashy stuff when I discovered Gov't Mule.

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