“Before they became famous, Eddie Van Halen was down in the pit watching every f**king move I made”: Ace Frehley on the origin of two-handed tapping

“But he perfected it. There’s no way I could play some of the solos that he pulled off.”

Ace Frehley and Eddie Van Halen

Ace Frehley and Eddie Van Halen. Credit: Gary Miller/Daniel Knighton/Getty

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Ace Frehley has claimed that Eddie Van Halen “probably got some ideas from me” in the way of his guitar technique, particularly when it came to two-hand tapping.

While Van Halen refined and popularised the technique, the topic of who exactly invented it has been debated for years, with names from Brian May to Steve Hackett to Vittorio Camardese all in contention.

However, Frehley also had two hands on his fretboard before it became especially popular, but is frequently overlooked in the debate. The technique appeared on some of Kiss‘s early albums and was used prominently in his unaccompanied guitar solo that he played on the tour in support of their second album 1974’s Hotter Than Hell.

In a new interview with Foo Fighters’ Chris Shiflett for Premier Guitar’s Shred With Shifty, Frehley is asked if he felt Van Halen had copied the technique from him.

“Before Van Halen became famous, Gene [Simmons] discovered them,” he says. “But all I can tell you is when I was doing my guitar solo at Madison Square Garden before they became famous, Eddie was down in the pit watching every fucking move I made.”

He does admit, however, to a key difference between his tapping technique and Eddie Van Halen’s. “I did it with the pick, I didn’t go with my finger. Eddie probably got some ideas from me, just like I got ideas from other guitar players. But he perfected it. There’s no way I could play some of the solos that he pulled off.”

Also, when asked how he stumbled upon two-hand tapping, Frehley replies, “As far as I can remember, I think I just came up with it. I don’t know.”

However, Van Halen had said in a 2015 that he was inspired to tap after seeing Led Zeppelin‘s Jimmy Page play at the LA Forum.


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