Play better rhythm: Mixing lead and rhythm

Learn from Eddie Van Halen as we switch between rhythm and lead

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Image 2 of 4 Play rhythm better Lead and rhythm backing
Play rhythm better: Lead and rhythm backing
© Mike Goodman
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Tab: Mixing rhythm and lead
Image 4 of 4 Play rhythm better Lead and rhythm full
Play rhythm better: Lead and rhythm full
© Mike Goodman

A valuable skill to perfect as a guitar player is that of switching between rhythm guitar riffs and lead fills.

More often than not, you'll hear this in trio-based bands like Cream and Van Halen. In fact, Eddie Van Halen really excels with this. Check out the Van Halen DVD Live Without A Net to watch how seamlessly he riffs away while dipping in and out of lead breaks brimming with legato tapping and harmonics. How his grin never falters on top of all this is anyone's guess.


Eddie's Gibson PAF-equipped 'Frankenstrat' from the early Roth era went through a 1967 Marshall SLP. We used a Palm Bay/Joe White custom with a DiMarzio Tone Zone bridge humbucker through a POD.

Click 'see all pictures' in the picture box for full-sized tab.

Audio - Full track

Audio - Playalong