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January 27, 2021

30 Fascinating Photos of a Young Eddie Van Halen Posing With His Guitars From the Late 1970s and 1980s

One of the most influential guitarists of the modern age, Eddie Van Halen was known for his mastery of the two-handed tapping technique and for bringing the virtuosic rock guitar solo back into the popular music mainstream in the late 1970s and 1980s.

“I’m not the typical guitar collector in the least,” Van Halen told Guitar Aficionado Magazine in 2014. “I’ve bought a lot of vintage pieces over the years, but I’ve destroyed quite a few of them. People might think, How could you desecrate the Mona Lisa? But I really don’t care what something looks like.

“I’m more concerned with a guitar’s functionality, sound and playability. That’s why I started building my own guitars. Other guitars wouldn’t do what I needed them to do, so I made my own.”

The joy he conveyed onstage with guitar in hand was genuine and profound. But there were also darker currents in his emotional life he couldn’t express in words, even to those closest to him. He avoided the ups and downs of high school social life, and sometimes school itself, by holing up in his bedroom with his guitar and a six-pack. He went on to spend a good portion of his life in that realm of pure music, retreating into endless, meditative, alcohol-fueled jams in hotel rooms or in his studio. “It’s the universal vibration,” he told the Rolling Stone in 2007. “It heals.”

“When he played,” his ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli wrote, “he disappeared into a world that was his. There he was most comfortable, and whatever he shared was of his own choosing. This interior world would confound, anger, and frustrate me to no end later on, but early on it was seductive.”


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