Eddie Van Halen quote illustrated : Hell to the rules and Frankenstrat !

citation gift idea music portrait explained

The story of Eddie Van Halen way of life

 Here is a quote that could sum up Eddie Van Halen way of life :

"To Hell with the rules."

van halen frankenstrat print


  • No rules with music theory :  he can't read music.
  • No rules with playing guitar : he is self taught.
  • No rules with his guitar :        it's DIY hand made.

Here are the rockin' facts about the legendary Jumping Guitar Hero explained with drawings !

 van halen frankenstrat art print

Rule 1 : Van Halen can't read music.

Eddie Van Halen can't read music ! His mother wanted him to became a virtuoso pianist and Eddie took classical piano lessons at the age of 5.
1-eddie van halen mother wants him to be a concerto pianist
His teacher, a russian guy was showing him how to play with a sheet of music and with his fingers, but Eddie was just looking at the fingers and listen with his gifted ears : all theses music signs were like chinese ideograms for him.
2-eddie van halen fooled his piano teachr he cant read music sheet
For 6 years, he has cheated his teacher and parents pretending reading music sheets, but was actually playing only by ears. He even won prizes in competition in Los Angeles among 5000 kids the same age !
3-eddie van halen gifted ears won competition piano music contest los angeles
"Hell to the rules ! If it sounds right, so it is. "


van halen quote hell to the rules-print-drawing

Rule 2 : Van Halen never took guitar lessons.

That's true, he actually never took guitar lessons. Passionate, he did transfer all his music knowledge he got with piano to the guitar.


4-eddie did not take guiatr lessons courses selftaught

Used to play music all by ear and fooling his piano teacher, he worked the same way on the guitar.

Important Notice : he also knos how to play piano, drums, and his father was a professional music player...


Rule 3 : To hell with the Rules !

Eddie do not care about the Rules, only the result count. As a life Motto, he applied it to learnong piano, learning guitar, building his guitar, the tapping technique...

5-eddie van halen quote to hell with the rules


The full story in video here if you don't want to read all the article !

4.Tapping : An Eddie van halen eruption of notes

"Eruption" introduced the two-handed tapping in the Rock History, One hand tapping wasn't common but the two hands tapping make the technic popular and a widespread used in the 80's rock music !


6-van halen eruption of notes thanks to the double hand tapping

Eddie Van Halen admit he didn't invent the tapping : He got an idea when watching Jimmy Page do his “Heartbreaker” solo back in 1971.

7-van halen got the tapping idea while watching led zeppelin


It was a pull-off to an open string = one hand tapping. But if you use your second hand finger as the nut and move it around ?

That's how two hands tapping was born !

8-two hands tapping when evh perfectionnate led zeppeling jimmy page tapping

The story : "Eruption" was at first a guitar solo Eddie performed live in clubs.

During a recording session, while eddie was rehearsing the solo for his next gig at Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood, the record producer did record it on the go. - just one take - and if you listen well the end of the solo, there is a mistake at the top end of it.  This could have been played better but that's why it makes it legendary !

evh tapping eruption ink drawing illustration


5. The Eddie Van Halen guitar : the Frankenstrat

Van Halen wanted a special guitar : a very speciale one that could combine the sound of a classic Gibson with physical attributes of the stratocaster and aTremolo bar bar functionality.


9-frankenstrat stratocaster vibrato and gibson sound

Impossible to find, he decided to make his own guitar from spare parts. It is made from :

  • a Stratocaster body
10-eddie van halen frankenstrat stratocaster body
  • a Gibson PAF Humbucking bridge pickup
  • Pickup routing modified. ( He actually couldn't make a correct routing with the second pickup and the pickup selector, so he let evereything in place and just used one pickup
  • It was painted with a black and white striped design at first
11-frankenstrat pattern white black stripes red paint
  • The final combination is made with a red background with black and white stripes.
  • there is aFloyd Rose tremolo on it, that could actually be blocked with a DIY quarter dollar coin with holes in it.
12-eddie van halen uses a quarter dollar cent to lock the floyd rose tremolo on frankenstrat
  • Eddie uses a vinyl record shaped into a pick guard to cover the controls. It was later replaced by a real, similarly-shaped pick guard.
  • Double face tape to get an easy access to 4 spare guitar picks. (throw away the pick before the double hand tapping solo, get a new pick after the solo)
14-spare guitar picks on franki van halen guitar tape two hands tapping


  • There are bicycle reflectors on the other face of the body : he was able to reflect stage lights onto the crowd when flipping the guitar.
13-frankenstrat bicycle reflector on the back
  • Straps buttons are replaced with large screw eyes to make the guitar strap and the guitar get together, whatever  the situation on stage !
15-frankie van halen guitar screw eye lock
  • Doctor Eddie Van Halen gives life to his monster guitar : the Frankenstrat !
16-giving life to frankenstein monster guitar eddie van halen frankenstrat


eddie van halen quote illustrated

6.Van Halen Jump between synth and frankie

The 80's are the decade of the synthetisers, Eddie bought an Oberheim polyphonic synthetiser, the same keyboard used by prince and Queen.

The keyboard had enough power and depth to compete with loud guitars onstage. It was made for him !

17-van halen playing the oberheim synthetiser on jump hit

Eddie performs both on keyboard and guitar with two solo : one on each instrument !

18-jump van halen moves with frankenstrat solo

7.Van Halen is a 5150

The album is named 5150, not an address number, nor a fifty/fifty variation. It is actually a police term used by Californina police for a mentally unstable person. Eddie Van Halen gave this code number to his home studio as well and even a frankenstrat version.

19-van halen 5150 police code for mentally unstable person

Van Halen was in love with his guitar and always used the Marshall amp, maybe the one rule he did follow ! But what for a sound !

20-van halen the frankie and a marshall amp



9.Want more details ?

The print of is available on my website with plenty more details put indide the portrait.

21-to hell with the rules art print


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