Skid Row Guitarist Explains What Made Eddie Van Halen So Special, Names Guitarist Who ’Does Everything Great’

In a new piece done by Guitar World, Skid Row guitarist Scotti Hill discussed guitar players who influenced him the most and helped him shape his sound. But before sharing a list of guitar players and explaining in more detail what he finds so great about them, Hill offered:

“My approach to the guitar is rooted in the music I love. I will always be rooted in my heroes; it’s what makes up my DNA. I’m not up there trying to reinvent the wheel.”

“But what’s nice about Skid Row these days is that Snake [Dave Sabo] and I have been playing together for so long, and that allows us to play off each other and accent our strengths. We each bring something to the table, and those things are part of what makes up the sound of Skid Row.”

For him, Jeff Beck is simply number one. Scotti offered:

“For me, number one has to be Jeff Beck. You might think it’s because he recently passed, but it’s not. Honestly, I love Jeff Beck for all of the obvious reasons: his style, the way it developed over the years, and the way he was able to develop that into something truly special. Jeff was one of the most unique players in history, in my opinion, and that has to count for something.”

“He started using a pick but wound up using his fingers, and he did so to perfection. And then he found the Stratocaster and wound up taking it to levels that nobody has ever taken. Jeff Beck will always be my number one across the board.”

The Best Live Perform Ever!!! Jeff Beck - Beck's Bolero | HD

“In my eyes, nobody will ever be able to do what he did, not anyway or anyhow. No-one did what Jeff Beck did for the guitar aside from Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen. He was one of a kind, man.”

Needless to say, Jimi Hendrix is one of his biggest influences with Scotti explaining:

“I have to slide Hendrix in at number two for some of the same reasons as Jeff Beck. When Hendrix came on the scene, it was fucking mind-blowing. The electric guitar’s state changed forever when those first chords rang out on ‘Foxey Lady,’ man.”

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Foxey Lady (Miami Pop 1968)

“Hendrix changed everything about guitar. Of course, other guys had their roles, but I don’t think things would have happened the way they did without Hendrix.”

“When people first heard Hendrix, it was like, ‘Shit, what the hell is he doing?’ It blew people away, and it took a minute for people to catch up, but it was explosive. Eddie Van Halen aside, I don’t think most people ever caught up to Hendrix, but we keep trying, and we’re slowly getting there. [Laughs]”

Of course, for someone like Scotti Hill, it’s only obvious that Eddie Van Halen would be on a top 10 list. Explaining how exactly Eddie inspired him, Scotti offered:

“It goes without saying that Eddie was a wizard the likes of which we’ve never seen. He did a lot of things that others had been working on, but he did them in a way that only he could do. And that tone, the ‘brown sound’ – you know it the second you hear it.

Eddie Van Halen Guitar Solo at Hollywood Bowl 10/2/2015

“I said before that most people never caught up to Hendrix, but Eddie Van Halen… yeah, he was one who I think did.

“They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and I think that Eddie is a prime example of that. He ushered in a whole era without even trying to. Few can claim to have done that.

“There are many great players out there, but I don’t think any of them could even try to do what he did. Eddie had these idiosyncrasies, from how he held the guitar to his chord voicings to how he fretted things; he was an animal completely unto himself.”

11 Iconic Eddie Van Halen Guitar Moments

Up next, Scotti also singled out Steve Lukather of Toto as one of the biggest influences. To him, Lukather is just one of those guitar players that’s great at every aspect of our favorite instrument. He said:

“I owe a lot to the amazing Steve Lukather. He’s just an example of a guitarist who does everything great. Steve plays with such feeling and emotion, and that vibrato… God, it’s over the top, isn’t it? His control over his instrument is incredible, and it’s a huge influence on how I personally approach the guitar.

“I will always put him up there with the greats for his vibrato and how he can take a melody and make it sound almost like a great singer. He puts these little magical Easter eggs within songs that are so much fun to look for, and his ability to craft a catchy solo is up there, too.”

Another interesting mention for Scotti Hill was Neal Schon of Journey who, according to the Skid Row guitarist, “never has any filler.” He said:

“His playing is so rich and never has any filler, which is a rarity if you think about it. He’s another one with a hell of a vibrato and an ear for melody like no other.

“Being able to hang in there with a vocalist like Steve Perry – that’s impressive. Neal is great at injecting soul into music, which is easy to hear when you listen to Journey.

Journey's Neal Schon performs the National Anthem during Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals | NBA on ESPN

“And then you’ve got his early Santana stuff, which is just as expressive. That’s something listeners need to go back to if they haven’t heard it. Neal’s playing always means something, like with the guitar breaks in Faithfully; they’re incredible and something I’ve always tried to emulate.”

As of this moment, Skid Row are promoting their newest album “The Gang’s All Here.” This marks the first record with the band’s new young vocalist Erik Grönwall who officially joined the lineup in 2022, replacing ZP Theart. Also, this marks the band’s first full-length studio album after 2006’s “Revolutions per Minute,” making this a 16-year gap between the two albums.

SKID ROW - The Gang's All Here (Official Video)

Photos: P. Schwichtenberg (Scotti Hill – Wacken Open Air 2014 05), Abby Gillardi (Van Halen-8597 (20643101375))


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.