Van Halen's "Eruption" guitar solo shredded by 14yo girl

The guitar solo from Van Halen's song "Eruption" played by Tina, who is 14. More than 3 million video views in 3 days. She was taught and filmed by Renaud Louis-Servais, and she's playing a Vigier Excalibur Custom.

Below, Eddie Van Halen performing the same, live.


  1. Technically, she’s pretty impressive, though I’d say she lacks Eddie’s looseness, improvisation, and attitude (huge thing to get in there) . Kind of like a really good robot reproducing the piece.

    1. A) She’s 14.  Which impressive guitar piece were you (or anyone else) able to play like that at 14?
      B) Learning how to play OTHER people’s work is extremely difficult and also how you learn to make up your own stuff.  Every single player from Page to Clapton to Richards to Van Halen copied someone else first.

      1. Exactly, she’s BETTER.  I love how she looks around at critical points with that teenager nonplussed look like, “meh whatever – it’s just a stupid song.”  That’s what makes it so awesome, her complete spectrum-opposite personal noninvestment in the rendition of the piece.

        1. She plays better, but in Eddie’s defense, she probably didn’t down a case of malt liquor 15 minutes before shooting the video.

        2. Nevertheless, her teacher should be punished severely. My son studied piano with an awesome tutor, except he made all his piano students play Billy Joel and his guitar students played Smoke on the Water. Who was that anyway, Deep Purple? Not only was he stuck in the 70s, but he stuck his kids in the 70s who weren’t even born then. I wanted to buy him a White Stripes CD or something.

          1. Haha! I loves me some clasic rock, but I certainly see your point. It would have been like me learning guitar by playing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”….which I ended up doing anyhow, just because that song kicks ass : )

          2. I’d be willing to bet real money that her teacher did not have that much to do with this.  She plays the arpeggio too well for it to just be this piece rehearsed.  I’d bet she and her instructor had a bit of a laugh doing this.  This isn’t what she does regularly.

          3.  YES! She plays well, but that is awful awful music. Van Halen for God’s sake?

          4. Actually, though “Eruption” made me cringe when I was a 13-year-old female guitarist in the 80s, this young woman HAS to be playing “Eruption” to perfectly illustrate the massive changes our society has undergone between the 80s and now.

            In the 80s, walking into a Guitar Center (please don’t remind me that Guitar Center sucks. Of course it does, but it was a necessary destination for young suburban musicians), as a young girl in the 80s was walking the Gauntlet. This was pre-headphones and every damned guitarist in the store was male, between the ages of 12 and 35. And they were all playing “Eruption” through amps set to 11.

            Girls were ignored, creepily given the eye, and dismissed. They were ignored after they had summoned up their entire store of courage to even enter Guitar Center to be ignored before they cautiously and quietly asked to play the sea-foam green Strat that was out of reach on the wall. 

            The “Eruption” players were usually playing Peaveys and Warwicks.

            So, the fact that this girl, 30 years later, can shred “Eruption” while looking bored and flipping her hair is the fists in the air sign of massive social change for the better that has allowed girls to shred, thrash, rip and scream to their hearts’ content. 

            And that is why the 14-year-old me and the 40-year-old me, who plays Curtis Mayfield and James Brown and P-Funk on my Strat, both say, “FUCK YEAH!!!!!”

      2.  “Every single player… copied someone else first.”  Exactly.  Somewhere up above, Les Paul is smiling down on them both.

      3. In fact, EVH is a devoted disciple of Eric Clapton, and can play all of his better-known solos note by note. 

      4. “Which impressive guitar piece were you (or anyone else) able to play like that at 14?”

        I think it’s a mark of respect to measure someone by the higher standard, rather than “that’s very good for a 14-year-old”.

  2. She’s a lot better than I am, so I can’t criticize her.  But it’s much easier to mimic something you can practice over and over and over again until you get it perfect than it is to create something new.

    1. That’s probably why when you start practicing any kind of art you copy someone else’s work until you figure out the rules.  And how to break them.

    2. “She’s a lot better than I am, so I can’t criticize her”
      You can do it, I believe in you.
      Seriously, though, art is available to critique not just to creators but to audiences, too.

    3. I know absolutely nothing about playing the guitar, but I could have sworn she had her own style. Anyway… “But it’s much easier to mimic something you can practice over and over and over again until you get it perfect than it is to create something new.” … well, isn’t that what most performing artist are doing. I was at least doing that when I was singing in choirs… practice, practice, and practice it again until it’s perfect… well, as perfect as we had time to get it, at least. Or do you believe they just step out on the stage and perform it for the first time right there and then? But I guess performing a Shakespeare play is nothing, as you can just mimic other performances.

      1.  Yeah. Practice makes perfect. I’m absolutely not criticizing her.  I was trying to direct my comment to the idea that she is comparable to Eddie Van Halen.  Xeni didn’t come right out and say she was as good as Eddie, but she posted the two videos side by side inviting that comparison.  This girl’s doing a very good job of playing his song, but she’s not in the same league as he is, even though she sounds just like the studio version of his song.  YouTube is full of people who do outstanding copies of famous guitar solos.  She’s as good as or better than any of them, but she’s no Eddie Van Halen.  When she starts making her own inventive music, then I’ll compare her to somebody like him.

    4. Pshaw, it’s EASY to create something new.  Mimicking Eddie Van Halen is DIFFICULT.  (Now, why anyone would want to is another matter…). 

  3. Totally awesome!

    Though I have no idea of why some people have to talk crap. Fourteen and she’s handling the guitar as well as Van Halen. Now THAT’s something!

    1. Some people have to talk crap because they are weirdos.
      Hipster dorks critiquing a 14 year old that can play better than the majority of people who’ve picked up a guitar.  She’s better than I’ll ever be no matter how many years I practice.

    2. If all we got here was the audio, I’d have no problem telling which was the imitator.  You can ‘hear’ how this is a technical exercise for her.  It’s without any personality, depth, or juice, a sterile performance.  Impressive? – yes.  A good imitation? – no.

      1.  So you adequately compared what amounts to a studio study to a live stadium performance and found the difference?

        Huh, impressive.

        Haha just kidding, but do you really think Eddie performed it with the same personality, depth and beverage on every occasion? She’s 14 and she played it accurately, she didn’t write it or perform it live with the rest of the band onstage. Duh.

        1. No, Jonathon, I listened with the ears of experience, as someone who has spent years sitting in front of stages listening to the live performances from the best blues, R&B, and rock guitarists in the business, and while the roadies are switching out equipment for the next band… during the intermission and for our entertainment (and their opportunity to perform in front of a live audience) students from the local School of the Blues (or Rock). 

          Often they’re technically impressive but without much emotional experience, twelve year olds with voices cracking, belt out how some woman done them wrong, livin’ in hard times, down on their luck again… we clap enthusiastically at the end, cuz hell where are the next generation of great players going to come from?   Some of the money from the tickets goes to paying the musicians to teach. 

          But we do have to bite our tongues, and hide our smiles at the lyrics.  The whole performance underscores the difference between an experienced adult playing the guitar and a kid.  Even in the drug-addled and distracted performance of a professional, you could hardly miss the symbiosis with their guitar, or their innate artistry.  No, every guitarist.  Yes, there are teenaged exceptions; Jonny Lang was born with an old soul.

          1. What a crock of shit.
            Whole lotta blabbering to justify your silly critique of a 14 year old that’s damn good at playing guitar.

          2.  I met Jonny Lang. Sold him a Nintendo 64 after one of his roadies spilled a beer in the old one.

            He was a kid.

            And you need to lighten up and stop writing essays on the internet about how old you are.

          3. Or you could, I don’t know, show some encouragement to a clearly very talented and MOTIVATED teenager.  It’s not like she got this good by just sitting around.  Why the derision and distaste, when instead you should be supportive?

            If this was your kid, wouldn’t you be PROUD?  And encourage them to continue seeking music?

            And how do you know she’s not creating her own music, anyway? This is one video. 

            Your biases toward the young are showing. 

            Yes, there are teenaged exceptions; Jonny Lang was born with an old soul.

            And I wonder how much your opinions have been formed based on gender. Again, you’ve seen one video.

          4. Well, as long as I have your attention, maybe you could help me with another problem.  I consistently rate the Netflix movies we rent one full star or more lower than the rest of the Netflix community.  It is just my opinion at the time of viewing, and a pretty brief one at that.  Do you think I should go back and change all those ratings, to bring me more in line with everyone else?  Think about the cast and crew, who are probably devastated by my lack of support. It was my honest opinion, but what the hell, I just want to fit in. 

            Or, maybe we could buddy up.  Do you have a Netflix account?  I rated ‘Top of the Lake’ with five stars.  If you rated it lower, could you change your rating to five?  There were several teenagers in that movie and they gave some terrific performances and we don’t want them to think we’re not behind them all the way!   Some of them may hurt themselves if they can’t feel our love through those star ratings.  Think of the children.

          5. @welcomeabored:disqus I think you’ve totally lost sight of the argument and are now just typing to see your own words on the screen. Sigh.

          6. What derision and distaste?  By pointing out that the girl’s performing a “technical exercise” without being remotely invested in phrasing or whatever emotion Ed Van Halen typically put into the piece?  Thirty-five years ago, “Eruption” dropped jaws throughout the rock music scene worldwide, since nobody had ever heard anything like it.  For a while there it sent young guitarists to the woodshed to learn the piece, first to gain the technical skills to pull off the notes in the first place, and then again to try and get a grasp of the feel, the phrasing, the uncanny ability Eddie had to make his soloing sound laconic, effortless, like he had a cigarette butt hanging from his lip (or stuck ‘neath the strings on his headstock), drink in his hand, toes in the sand, and not a care in the whole damned world.

            Tina’s pulled off the first part, and that is a hell of an achievement for any guitarist, young or old.  So she hasn’t pulled off the second part yet… big deal.  That’s no poor reflection on her talent or her hard work.  If she truly loves playing Van Halen, she’ll get there.  As far as my eye could tell, she worked her butt off to get to this level but isn’t particularly into the song at all.  Looked for all the world like she couldn’t wait to get through it, like a high-level Halo player on a speedrun.  All about getting through the notes with nary a misstep, and not about rocking one’s way through those notes.

            But whatever.  She’s playing “Eruption,” she’s not pretending to be Edward Van Halen.  If she ever plays this song again in any context other than as YouTube prodigy parlor trick (by virtue of actually enjoying the song enough to want to play it for its own sake, which is a pretty fine distinction since the song is kinda custom designed to be a showoff piece anyway) then I’d feel pretty confident that someday Tina could surpass Van Halen in skill, if such a subjective thing could ever be quantified.

            I can understand why someone might be miffed if they perceive someone as saying, “well, it’s pretty good for a girl,” or “it’s pretty good for a fourteen-year-old.”  The thing is, welcomeabored neither said nor implied anything at all regarding Tina’s gender being any sort of factor of her playing.  (Jonny Lang came to mind, and I’ll bet all the guitars in my garage that he didn’t spring to mind just because he’s a guy, rather because he released his first record when he, too, was fourteen.)  And the thing about fourteen-year-olds is that they typically outgrow it.  Tina’s talent is already there, no question.  And soon enough she’ll probably grow into it.  But for the moment, she sounds exactly like what she is: a very, very talented kid who can play all the notes in “Eruption.”  She’s amazing enough just for that, and it does not diminish her achievement to point out that she at fourteen does not sound like Edward Van Halen at twenty-three.

    3.  Because talking shit about a 14 year old on the internet is way easier than realizing you’re not as good as a 14 year old?

      Just conjecture, mind you. It could also be because small penises.

    1. Only a teenage girl could manage to look so aloof.  She looks like she’s sitting in algebra class, while ripping out some amazing fretwork.

      If I were a 14 yo boy, I’d be hopelessly smitten.

    2.  Meh.  Classical guitarists regularly play equally challenging pieces without the need to make the “hot face”.  I don’t mind her lack of affect.

  4. Every boinger who’s ever worked in a music shop let out a simultaneous groan when this was posted, and everyone who heard it and has worked in a music shop knows what it means: another teenager playing Eruption.

      1. At least seven, by counting the likes.

        Not that those likes necessarily mean someone worked at a music shop, I guess…

        1. By golly, you’re right! I just clicked “like” on your comment and it’s like magic! Suddenly I can recognize a Wayne Henderson guitar at first glance, distinguish between an A and a G string by smell alone, and have an unreasoning dislike of Freebird and Stairway to Heaven!

          1. “Not that those likes necessarily mean someone worked at a music shop.” Reading comprehension makes the internet a lot easier, try it!

            Thanks for the like, though!

          2. Oh, I knew exactly what you wrote. But I’m serious — one click of a button and I have all this unused anger at musically-inclined teenagers all of a sudden, along with a bunch of really crumpled purchase orders from a Zildjian distributor…

    1.  ok, i’ll bite.  are you implying that eruption is so easy that many teenagers waltz into a music shop, pickup a guitar and play it?

      1. No, they cannot.  They might try, which would be irritating, but what you’re hearing here in this video is not what you’re going to hear at your local Guitar Center.

      2. Well, it was one of the pieces of choice for my friends and I trying out new gear when we were that age. Remember the “No Stairway” sign from Wayne’s World? It’s like that.

  5. really?   so much negative on a 3 day weekend?   she is FREAKIN AWESEOME!     hooray for kids doing anything other than playing video games!    Viva TINA!         Thanks Xeni for bringing the amazing once again!    hooray Boing Boing.

      1.  Even if that were true, troll, she still played the solo just fine.  HOW you learned is far less important than the fact that you DID learn.  Now try harder, your trollsauce is weak and flavorless.

  6. I think they both played extremely well, but I’m most mesmerized by Eddie’s overalls…

  7. Does anyone else thing that she LOOKS like Eddie from certain angles?  Maybe it’s inherited talent spawned during a particularly fuzzy night in Walla-Walla…

  8. i’m goddamned jealous, mostly because of the superb talent on display (even at my best I never had the patience to develop my skills to this level), but also a bit because of her youth. It’s hard to watch this knowing that the creeping onset of arthritis is slowly taking my ability to play like this away from me. WOE BETIDE THE SHREDDER WHO CRACKED THEIR KNUCKLES AGAINST THE ADVICE OF GRANDPARENTS WHO KNEW BETTER!!!!!

      1. I should have maybe indicated that was sarcasm. Of course the grandparents told me not to crack my knuckles. Of course I did anyway. Of course it may or may not have either prevented or encouraged an earlier onset of the condition which I was likely already genetically predetermined to have.

      1. I have ya beat by a few years. It’s….not cool at all. Gonna have to learn pedal steel, I think.

        1. Yeah, don’t try switching to bass. Requires even more left hand grip. I have found that a repetitive  stress injury in my right hand has slowed down my  fingers. Been learning slap and pop to give my fingers a rest.

          1. I actually blame 20 years of bass playing for the condition I’m in! the left hand has its good days and bad days.

  9. Oh please the “too boring, looked like a robot!” people. All right. Post YOUR much more awesome video of you doing this solo. When you were 14. Oh, don’t have one? Then maybe stop hating on a kid who has just kicked some serious ass. Jeez.

  10. I wonder if the first two comments will tear her d – OH WAIT OF COURSE THEY WILL. Predictable Internet is predictable.

    1. If “she did really well for covering someone else’s piece, but it’s still just covering someone else’s piece” is your idea of tearing someone down, I would love to know which internet you’ve been on.

      1. Dunno about Robin above, but yes, I do concider it tearing her down. Why the need to add “but it’s still just…”? She is freaking 14 years old???? What on earth did they expect? It says right in the header that she is doing a cover. I mean seriously… how many of you here who play music do only your own original stuff?

        I’m sure they post to videos posted by astronauts, that sure… that’s pretty impressive, but they are not the first ones in space. Sheesh!

        1. I’m a musician, and have been since before 14, and I love doing covers. Every other musician I’ve had the joy of playing with has the same mentality to covers as I do: if you’re going to play it in your bedroom for practice, it makes sense to try and make it as close to the original as possible. If you’re going to play it in public, try to make something original out of it. 

          To use your analogy, if we sent some astronauts to the moon to walk around, collect rocks, plant an American flag, and say “one giant leap,” I would absolutely say “great for those astronauts, but maybe something original for the rest of us?”

          1. I would but you’d have to show me the critique in your post above the one from “CH”

      2. Listen to it again. It’s right there, if it were conversation it’d be classic negging.

        A talented critique with no detraction is possible, here, I’ll say what you said without detraction.

        “She covered that very well.”

        There, I said what you said, without detraction.

        Did you think you had said more than what I said?

        Were you even aware that you had not critiqued her performance?

        1. Are you equating detraction with tearing down? Or treating detraction as something we’re not supposed to do to art? Man, I thought people were overly polite here in Minnesota, but you’d probably consider the Minnesotan “it’s, um, different” (euphemism for “bad”) as a soul-tearing act of dickbaggery.

          1. It’s a cover. It’s supposed to be, it even says so.

            You say it’s good, but (detraction) it’s still only a cover… 

            Not critique, without critique a detraction is intended to tear down. 

            Get over yourself, she’s not trying to be better than you, not deliberately.

    1. I loved this guy’s happy faces, man,  RIP.  Gone WAY too young.
      Anyone that doesn’t like this needs to leave planet earth right now –

    2. I enjoyed when Steve Vai played with Zappa. They would take turns and Frank would conduct while  Vai was goofing around with all the arena rock moves.  Eventually Frank was standing there smoking and waving his conductor baton while Steve played while flopping around on the floor  like he was having convulsions.  Good times. 

      1. I’ve been told my guitar face is similar to my “we’re having sex now” face. I guess Gene Simmons is just more patient.

    3. Robin Trower has/had a bodacious guitar face.  Live, it looked like his face was controlling the guitar play.  Either that, or he was being electrocuted as we watched.

      (Eruption was the first track on the first album I ever bought with my own hard-earned allowance.  I can still replay it start to finish in my head.  I’m lucky I can still hear.)

  11. No, ‘Eruption’ is the intro to Van Halen’s cover of “You Really Got Me” and every time I watch this video, I yearn for her to start playing that Kinks riff.

  12. I think we’re all missing the BIGGEST criticism of this girl’s performance versus Eddie’s: SHE was stone sober.

  13. OK, let’s turn the petty hatred up to 11:

    “You know she’d be pretty if she’d just lose 10 pounds.”

  14. guitar has been around for a while, so you’d think the abilities of artists would have just about saturated.  but just like other skills/sports/arts the next gen pushes it a bit further, i guess. 
    i was 14 before i could do a kickflip.  now 14 year olds are pros and doing kickflip bluntslides on long handrails.

    1. Oh, sure they may be doing kickflip bluntslides on long handrails, but it’s not like they are doing their own moves. They are just mimicing, and practicing it until they can do it perfectly.

      (Did I do it right? I think I may need to practice it some more…)

      1. You know, if playing guitar were a sport based almost entirely on technical skill you would have a point.

        So, yeah, practice not making false equivalencies.

    1. Oh, but she is performing it like a robot! (Hey, I’m getting the hang of this!)

      No, but for real… that is so cuuuuuuute!!!! (Apparently my defensive reaction to incredibly talented kids… hmm…) Oh… and then I found her band page with their videos: My mind is totally blown away!!! Thanks for the link! I really enjoyed watching!

  15. Nice chops.  I had a buddy in college who could play pretty much anything on guitar.  Very technically proficient, but he readily admitted that he couldn’t write at all, and that this would forever hold him back from being a successful musician.  I hope that Tina here can write, or will develop the skill to do so.

  16. She played fantastically.  14 or not.  When I was 14 the only thing I could play was the fool.

    It’s a reference performance, she’s basically demonstrating she can do it damn well, like a reference studio monitor.  She wants no argument with it.  Age 14, she’s a template gathering experiences, and given her ability to project insouciance and witty boredom, I’d say she’s got a lively mind in there that will cultivate those experiences into some amazing self-expression.  And she clearly has the self-discipline to improve.

    I mean fuck, it took me 40 years of living to unravel my emotions and be able to step back from memories emotionally, but invest my playing with them.  Can’t play the blues until you’ve had the blues.

    So *bravo* and may she prosper.

  17. Ugh, the comments on YouTube reminded me to use my Safari Extension to hide them again.  I’m beginning to wonder about some of these idiots commenting here in this bb thread too.

    Oh well, I guess there’s unhappy people everywhere who can’t or won’t simply enjoy things like a young girl playing guitar without having to regress into smarmy tripe on a comment board.

  18. I’m having trouble fathoming how so many people confuse focus for boredom.

    Let’s remember, she’s young, teens often don’t have the range of facial expression they will as an adult, sometimes as teens they have less than they did as a child.

    I would warrant that she is showcasing her guitar playing, which isn’t necessarily the same as guitar playing as performance.

    1. I agree.  People used to tell me I looked bored playing guitar as well, but I never was.  Well, hardly ever.

    2. Yes! I remember being bored while my brother messed about on his guitar – I’d spend ages trying to get his attention, but he’d have the same expression whilst being totally oblivious to irritating little brothers…

  19. Here’s the thing about music, it’s a language. It’s a means of expression. 

    Now, this girl is excellent at what she’s doing.  I’ve watched a few of her other videos and she’s got really good chops.  I look at this as her developing her vocabulary.  

    I can’t wait to hear what she tells us when she has something to say. 

  20. For those who think she is “bored,” take a look at her mouth muscles and lips, especially at 1:00 – 1:25.  She is WORKING IT!

  21. I was hoping that she’d go straight into Van Halen’s version of “You Really Got Me.”

  22. As a 43-year old who can only pull off Eruption at about half speed, I can’t say I’m not jealous. But Eruption isn’t a song so much as it is an unconnected series of guitar tricks. I’d love to hear her play something with a real melody.

  23. I was born in the early eighties, and never got into Van Halen other than what was played on the radio that much.

    I must be sheltered or something, because despite being into all kinds of obscure weird stuff, I never heard the famous “Eruption” solo. I totally get why some people think Van Halen is up there with Toni Iomi & Hendrix now, even if I don’t quite agree with it, I can see where that comes from. Holy crap what a face shredder.

    I intentionally played the EVH vid first, to see and hear the original in full. Wow. Then I saw the abbreviated version this girl played, and I was actually more impressed!

    I used to play the guitar, and never got beyond the basic Smoke On The Water riffs before I sold it and gave up. But I did play around with foot pedals, trying to play metal, and get just the right sound. I could never figure it out though, I never found “the sound” I was looking for.

    She found the sound I was looking for. I don’t know what setup created her particular sound, but it is the ideal tone for speed metal in my mind. Reminds me of Malmsteen.

    I will pay to see her play live someday! I’m glad she’s a girl. The world needs more women that can play like that- who knows, maybe she’ll be the lead guitarist for the next Girlschool.

    1. Wow!  Y’know, you may not realize how unusual (unheard-of, as far as my experience goes) it is to meet someone who first picked up a guitar during Van Halen’s working career, and is familiar with Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix, Girlschool, and even Yngwie Malmsteen, and somehow never happened to hear “Eruption.”  It’s not as if we’re talking about “316” or “Cathedral” or some deep cut of EVH’s that never got any radio airplay.

      This would be akin to a movie special effects technician who decided as a kid to make movies upon reaching adulthood after watching Planet of the Apes, Space:1999, and Battlestar Galactica as a kid… but who somehow never saw Star Wars.

      1. I picked up guitar before the internets took off, and I knew Malmsteen. At the time, I was a teenager, an it lasted for like a year. I only knew Metallica and stuff like that.

        Post internets, I got into stuff beyond the obvious, from Merzbow, Malmsteen, BoC, weird Mexican rap, everything. Hell, I even introduced my own mother to Gong a few weeks back, and she liked it! I’m in my twenties, and introduced my mom to a band that was big when she was in her twenties. The internet has helped make me a more well rounded person, because I used it to learn about the world beyond my suburban hell.  But yeah, there’s a limit to how much stuff a person can pick up along the way, I just never heard it before!

    2. How about instead, she becomes the lead guitarist for the next Led Zeppelin? Why can’t she be in a real band, not a ‘girl band’? Namban, that last sentence is way more sexist than you probably realize or can comprehend.

  24. I realize I may be the last person on earth to understand this – but my goodness, EVH was really something! I’m terribly impressed by her performance, but for me the takeaway is his mastery and artistry with the instrument. Like a child/genius playing with his favorite toy . . .

  25. Tinas playing in all her youtube videos is excellent though she never appears to be enjoying herself.  In 20 videos she doesn’t smile once.  I’d love to see a video of her playing something and having a good time as after all that’s a big reason for playing an instrument in the first place.

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