Learn Tapping Techniques Pt. 1

If you want to impress some non-guitarists with your playing, one of the best ways to do that is by breaking out with a crazy tapping lick.  Though tapping looks and sounds flashy, I think it is actually one of the easier of the main virtuoso techniques (Alternate Picking, Sweep Picking, Legato, Tapping).  This is the first part of my soon to be multi-part series on tapping. 

Tapping is a technique that many guitarists employ, where they use their picking hand to fret notes on the fretboard.  Many people like to think of it as an extension of the legato technique. There are a couple different ways that people tap.  You can use your index finger of your picking hand, your middle finger, your pick, or later on, multiple fingers of you picking hand. I personally use my middle finger because that way I do not need to switch the position of my pick, as you would if you used your index finger.  I think this make for easier transitions between picking and tapping. 

Lets jump right into some examples.  The normal way to start tapping is by learning some Van Halen licks.  I can’t say this isn’t a good way to go, because that is how I learned.  But before we head to EVH, let’s take a quick look at a great beginner tapping lick from Joe Satriani.

Always with Me, Always with YouJoe Satriani

This is a great passage to learn how to tap.  It starts at 1:53 into the video.


Watch the video to see how Joe taps. He uses his index finger. I still recommend that you however, use your middle finger. Every time that you see a 12 in the tab, you will tap it with your picking hand middle finger. I will walk you through the first couple notes step by step: 1)hammer on 11 with your fretting hand. 2) reach over and tap 12 with your picking hand. 3) pull off the 12 with your picking hand to the open string. 4) hammer on 9 with your fretting had. 5) reach over and tap 12 with your picking hand. 6) pull off the 12 with your picking hand to the open string. ETC……. Notice the repeating pattern in the passage: X note, tap 12, open, X note, tap 12, open.  If your having trouble, watch Joe in the video, and make sure you are pulling off strongly so the open string rings clearly.

Part 2 of Learn Tapping Technique is complete. Check it out.

If you have any questions or comments please email me at mdguitarteacher@gmail.com.

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One Response

  1. Great lesson. I learned a lot going through the tab and breaking down the triads and inversions. Then checking for the right “answer” on this lesson. Have you thought about breaking down the rest?

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