Published at Friday, August 31st, 2018 - 21:00:21 PM. . By Zendaya Foust.
This effect is very sharp, with a distinct on-off sound. It is very different than trying to turn the volume knob quickly. You just won't get this effect that way. You need the help of the switch to get that sharp cut in and out of the sound. Eddie Van Halen was always cutting up and customizing guitars in the early Van Halen days (when this track was recorded). It's likely that he had only one pickup active at all: the bridge pickup. At the tail end of the guitar trick (at 1:42-1:43), he's switching the sound out very quickly. My guess is that he wired the "three way" pickup switch to be two-way. So he only had to flick the switch up one level rather than two to get the sound to completely cut out.
An acoustic guitar is so named because the hollow design of its body provides a natural means by which the acoustics can be optimized, so that the sound of the guitar is naturally amplified, and therefore needs no exterior or additional means of amplifying the sound. Electric guitars are quite different, and without an external, electrical amplifier, strumming or picking the strings will make almost no sound at all, and certainly nothing much more impressive than pinging a rubber band! It is for this reason that electric guitars do use external amplification, but there is a common misconception or misunderstanding as to what exactly the external amplification does.
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