Andrew Wasson from Creative Guitar Studio answers a viewer's question:
Q: I was wondering if you could do a lesson about playing the 80s hard-rock rhythm styles of; Van Halen, the Scorpions, or Whitesnake (that stuff). They all seem to use a low drone E or A string, but I get a little bit lost on the chords. Especially the Van Halen songs. They seem to use chords that are not inside of the key of the bass-note that is the lowest pedal tone, (the E or A strings). Can you PLEASE talk about this! I posted this question on a Guitar Forum but there weren't very good answers to the question in all of the replies.
Dustin, Victoria BC
A: Dustin, I've created a three-part series to answer your question. The concept of doing this is rather complex since it involves borrowing chords from parallel running modes of the same tonality. Groups like Van Halen, Def Lepard, etc., apply this concept on a regular basis. They also primarily focus on triads built off of the fourth guitar string to perform the parts. And, you are certainly correct when you mentioned that there is ample use of the droning bass notes of both "E & A" (6th & 5th) strings.
Thanks for your question.
Follow the links below to get:
"80's Rock Rhythms Video 2"
"80's Rock Rhythms Video 3"