Drop Dead Legs by Van Halen | rhythm
An electric guitar lesson on how to play the rhythm parts to "Drop Dead Legs" by Van Halen from their 1984 album.
This is one of my favorite Van Halen songs. Eddie called it a "jazz" version of AC/DC's "Back In Black" as it was inspired by that track. It was never part of their live set until they started playing it on their 2015 tour.
This is a great article on the 35th anniversary of 1984 written in 2015. There's some really interesting information on all of the songs on the album including Drop Dead Legs.
Eddie was a fantastic rhythm guitar player who played with excellent feel and this track really shows that. The main lick for this song is really cool. A lot of people may think it's played with the bar but it isn't. It's all done with the fingers. You really have to have your bending together or it's not going to sound very good! I go over that in the lesson.
What you realize when you learn Van Halen songs, and especially this one, is just how important Alex Van Halen was to their overall sound. He's an excellent drummer and provides so much of the feel.
When I recorded my demo I played against a drum machine. It's really tough to get a good feel when you're "locked to the grid", but I think it was close enough for demonstration purposes.
Apart from the obvious AC/DC influence , I can hear a bit of Jeff Beck on this track and also a lot of Allan Holdsworth. Eddie was very inspired and impressed with Allan's playing. It was around this time that he helped Allan get a recording contract and actually wound up jamming with him at the Roxy in Hollywood.
This lesson covers all of the rhythm parts including that very cool ending lick. That was actually recorded at a different time and was thrown onto the end of the song later on. There are a lot of Jeff Beckisms in that lick!
The end solo has a real jazz, prog rock feel to it, no doubt inspired by Alan Holdsworth as I've mentioned. There are a lot of "out" notes. I wouldn't even begin to try to emulate that as it's so off beat and unique. As cool as that solo is, for me the rhythm part is the highlight of the song.
I hope that you enjoy the video and that it helps you to learn this great Van Halen track. Cheers
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