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Youtube: I’ve done the majority of the first four albums on Youtube. Just write Doug Steele and whatever VH song off the first four albums, and something should appear.
I grew up in Fresno and San Jose, California. My teenage years (aside from my high school friends being there for me) was pretty shit. Lots of fighting in our household. Music was my escape. So a typical school day would be; come home, lock self in bedroom, do homework, come out to eat, go back in bedroom, play guitar between 2-4 hours a night. Every night. I tried to learn all the VH albums by ear. There’s no way my dad would let me get guitar lessons, so anything I learned would have to be from listening to it on a record player. I’d manually spin the record at a slower speed. Yeah, the notes would drop too, but at least I could figure out the order of the notes, which was invaluable. I did this with my VH and Dokken albums. Ed taught me that it’s okay to have fun and fuck up; Lynch taught me vibrato, which I think is a very IMPORTANT (and often ignored) technique.
Ed’s up top, mine on bottom. Thanks Vic!! Marvelous job.
I’ve added FRET FX fret lights
The first VH album I bought was II. I was 12 and living in Fresno California with my grandmother at the time. I remember hearing You’re No Good on the radio and saying to myself, “That solo is thee shit. What the fuck was that guy doing?” A day or two later I bought the album. Loved it. I like II and WACF probably most. But you really can’t go wrong with those first four albums. Diver Down has great songs like Hang ’em High and Secrets, I’m not too fond of all the cover shit. 1984 Ed changed his tone quite a bit, and aside from the main staples on there, I started getting into heavier stuff. I’m one of those guys.
This is metal…it ain’t fckn light rock” I could do a book of my favorite DougFCKNSteele quotes…you are the absolute best dude… every time I revisit one of your videos, not only to I learn something but I always leave with a smile on my face…thanks and keep rocking!!” – YouTube comment
I don’t know when I bought WACF. I do remember hearing Fools and going, “Yes!!! I love EVH!!” He had the tone, the looks, the cool guitars with the wacky paint jobs, this guy was on it! I love that he more or less used different painted guitars for each tour so you can kinda go, “Yeah, Charvel Star, that’s 1980 Invasion tour, right there!” I doubt he did it for that reason, but either way it worked out to be a very cool idea. I loved the striped guitars. I wanna buy some Jem bodies and do them up. I wanna buy an ML body and do it like the Star. So many ideas, so little money. ha ha ha!!
Fair Warning. Great album, lotsa overdubs. I saw a kid at Guitar Center play the beginning to Mean Street right in front of my face, and NAILED IT! He was about 14. I was about the same age. I was like, “Man, you’re fucked..” and he goes, “Check out Steve Morse.” I eventually got around to doing that, but I was pretty well under Edward’s spell. I think Van Halen had a very cool thing going; hard edged party songs, mad solos, sunshine backing vocals, insane frontman..Loved it. Until I heard Anthrax in 1987, ha ha!! Thrash is a whole ‘nother chapter in my life.
Watching a few of your vids, I like your style. I mean, many people forget the guitar is also an awesome toy to have FUN with. And if I defined your guitar playing in one word, it would be “Fun”. But that is barely above your other defining attribute “Shred master”. – YouTube comment
A lot of people think that I’ve been into Van Halen the whole time; not true I say!! From 88 to 2003 I didn’t listen to Van Halen at all. I was into Meshuggah, Strapping Young Lad, Racer X, Cacophony, Vicious Rumors, Forbidden, Vio-Lence, Pantera, that kinda business. It wasn’t until I had a back operation that I reacquainted myself with VH. I was about 35 and I had two weeks off work. I put on the first album and started going for it. Then II, then WACF, etc. YouTube was still a few years away. My newfound love with Van Halen for me is my midlife crisis. The guitars, clothes, shoes, I’m going to get striped tattoos down the track as well. I love it.
Awesome dude. You’re an excellent teacher. And I’ve had some GREAT teachers, and myself taught 40 students a week while I was in college, and you really do it well!! : ) -YouTube comment
YouTube hit, and I got an account. I was getting married and I asked my folks to get us a video camera for a wedding gift. They did, and I then started with the clips you see on YT today. I would looove to go back over the early ones and make them more streamlined, but they’re pretty popular, so I’ll just leave them be. I’ll be honest, I don’t like a lot of the people online who teach the VH stuff on youtube. They either get the feel wrong or they’re not playing it in a common sense sort of way. That’s half the reason I post the stuff. The other half is because I love playing it and I love sharing it. I doubt I’ll do anything after Fair Warning, 1984 at the very latest. But I’ll never say never.
Why do I love Ed in ’79 – ’80 so much? I love the Bumblebee and Star guitars so bad I had them made (my mid lifer), and I feel that era was Ed at his most ‘metal’. I’d see him pictures of him in magazines around that time and I was like, “whoa, that guy is very metal.” Especially the Star guitar. I mean, in ’80, that was definitely a one of a kind instrument in there. It still is now. I trip out that people want to own the Frankenstrat, which he did use a lot, but for me it was always the Star. I think it has to do with the mainstream as well. I like underdogs, and I hate mainstream. I consider the Star the underdog. And there’s probably fewer than 8 made in the world (Correction, not no more!!) I like that. I also like I was the first guy to do VH YouTube lesson vids with my Star. I LOVE THAT!!
Hey Doug, I want to thank you so much for teaching me the main opening riff to “Fools.” You’ve got it right and I have never in the past found a correct transcription for opening riff on the 6th string. Too cool, dude! Spot on. – YouTube comment
“Just wanted to take a minute to say “Thanks” to DougFuckin’Steele for the great VH video lessons.
I really appreciate them. I used to spend hours fumbling through pages of tab trying to figure out how to play certain licks and they never came out right. You’ve got me playing VH songs that I never thought I had a shot at learning. It has me motivated to play every day again (something that I lost for the better part of a year) and you’ve put some fire back into my playing as well.
I’m not a very good guitarist, and nowhere near a shredder, but it feels so good to learn to play this stuff, even at half speed and sloppy! Thanks again and keep the vids coming!” – YouTube comment
“Doug you have really brought my guitar playing up to par. Your teaching method is awsome. I have ADD and you keep me from becoming bored to tears and losing interest. All of your info is right on the money. You are quite the talented mother f*&#%+!!! Thanks Man!!!” -YouTube comment
From friend who went to NAMM 2013:
“There were 4 or 5 guys near the striped guitars. One was sitting on a stool strumming/admiring one of them without an amp while the rest of us waited for our turn to hold it. One of the EVH booth guys was there too answering our questions. We were all talking about the guitars being playable vs just “art” guitars. The EVH guy was telling us they were playable to Eddies specs, yada yada yada, and that he could play one in concert right out of the box…yada yada some more.
Our conversation then shifted to the three different stripe color schemes (black, white, yellow). We all agreed we liked the yellow (bumble bee) one best. One of the guys then mentioned that he had spent a ton of time building his own bumble bee. That’s when I thought about you and your bumble bee. I wondered to myself if they heard of you from your EVH instructional videos. I figured they MUST have because you have so many good ones with lots of insight into what’s going on in the riff.
I then said to the guys, “Hey! Have you guys seen that guy on YouTube that does all those instructional EVH solo videos? Doug F’ing Steele?”. They all, including the EVH guy, enthusiastically said they had and that you were spot on with them. I then made some kind of comment about you being the “one stop shop for learning EVH solos.”
That’s how the conversation went. You’re not surprised, are you? You have tons of great videos with many followers.”
I am surprised!!!