Make sure you tune your guitar down one half-step in order to follow along with this video lesson and play along with the original recording. Those notes will be, starting from the 6th string (Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb).
When it comes to Van Halen songs on the guitar, "Dance the Night Away" is probably one of the easiest to play. That doesn't mean it is easy of course. 🙂
I will break down each section of the song in the order that they appear and for the most part, the riffs are only around the intermediate level.
However, one of the main techniques used through a lot of the song is the technique of tap harmonics. Eddie Van Halen uses these tap harmonics through each chorus and the breakdown section after the bridge.
As I will demonstrate in the video lesson, the tap harmonics used in "Dance the Night Away" are tapped an octave above (12 frets) the fretted note. It can take some getting used to when learning this technique since you have to focus on both hands playing notes at the same time and they are mirroring each other.
The right hand tap itself should be quick and powerful coming down right on top of the fret. It will feel like you are simply quickly smacking and leaving the top of the fret. Try it on a table top first to get the feel of the technique before trying to accomplish it on the guitar. Also, keep in mind that even though all the tap harmonics in "Dance the Night Away" are octave harmonics, you can also employ tap harmonics at 4, 5 or 7 frets above the fretted note. There are more you can find, but those 4 are the most common and easiest to produce.
It has a really cool sound when you put it all together. After you have all the parts down, I suggest checking out some live videos of Eddie Van Halen playing this song. What he usually does is combine the original rhythm guitar parts with the tap harmonic overdubs in the chorus by switching to the tap harmonics at the very end of the riff.
In any case, it is up to you how many of the overdubs you want to play. Of course, if you are playing with a second guitarist, you can play both parts and make it sound just like the original recording.
I hope you guys enjoy learning this very fun early classic from the great Van Halen!
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