"Eruption" is an instrumental by Van Halen from their first album, Van Halen. Written and performed by Eddie Van Halen, this electric guitar solo is considered one of the most influential rock instrumentals of all time, appearing on many 'greatest guitar solos' lists, including a recent Guitar World poll.
Eruption starts with a short accompanied introduction with brother Alex Van Halen on drums and Michael Anthony on bass. The highlight of the solo is the use of fretboard tapping. Eruption was played on the Frankenstrat and a phaser. A 1960s Marshall tube amp, an Echoplex, a Univox echo box, and studio plate reverb helped define the distinctive tone of the track. The Frankenstrat was tuned a 1/2-step down from regular guitar tuning. Eruption begins in the key of A flat and ends on a E flat note that is a twelfth fret, 6th string harmonic processed through a Univox echo box effect and lowered an octave by an Echoplex.
The Eruption introduction is based on "Let Me Swim" by Cactus . Later in the introduction, an E-flat major quotation of the Etude No. 2 by Rodolphe Kreutzer is heard. Eruption or what would later be named Eruption had existed as part of Van Halen's stage act at least as far back as 1976. The 1976 version of what would later be called Eruption on Van Halen's first album features no tapping. Eruption popularized the guitar tapping trend of the 1980s. Although tapping had been previously done by many guitarists, Van Halen introduced tapping to the mainstream popular rock audience. The main tapping part of Eruption uses a chord structure and style similar to Baroque Music. Similarly, Baroque-like tapping had been recorded by Steve Hackett of Genesis in 1971/1972.
As noted above, Eruption was a guitar solo featured in Van Halen's live performances and producer Ted Templeman heard it and asked him to record it. Spanish Fly, an acoustic instrumental on Van Halen II, can be viewed as somewhat of a nylon-string version of Eruption, expanding on similar techniques. Similarly, it was suggested by Templeman for inclusion on the album after he heard Eddie Van Halen playing a classical guitar. In March 2005, Q magazine placed "Eruption" at number 29 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. "Eruption" has also been named the 2nd greatest guitar solo by Guitar World magazine.