Last updated on October 7, 2020
The music world lost a legendary guitarist earlier this week, when Eddie Van Halen lost his battle with cancer. One of, if not the, most interesting tribute made following the guitar god’s passing, is a tweet recognizing a patent issued to Van Halen for his invention.
News producer Timothy Burke tweeted a link to Google’s patent archive with the caption, “Many more eloquent than me will discuss his musical achievements, so I’ll just note that he was owner and inventor of the patent with the baddest-ass diagram in the history of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.” Burke’s tweet resulted in a flurry of commentary on Twitter and the patent’s existence was covered by a number of media outlets.
So, what’s this patent for? Eddie’s patent, which was filed in 1985 is for a unique “musical instrument support.” US Patent US4656917A was described as:
A supporting device for stringed musical instruments, for example, guitars, banjos, mandolins and the like, is disclosed. The supporting device is constructed and arranged for supporting the musical instrument on the player to permit total freedom of the player’s hands to play the instrument in a completely new way, thus allowing the player to create new techniques and sounds previously unknown to any player. The device, when in its operational position, has a plate which rests upon the player’s leg leaving both hands free to explore the musical instrument as never before. Because the musical instrument is arranged perpendicular to the player’s body, the player has maximum visibility of the instrument’s entire playing surface.
All we have to say is that we want to party with whoever did the drawings for this patent.