Lesson 13 – 12 Notes: Tapping Basics


This was originally posted on ”12 notes”, a page on this website dedicated to guitar music and lessons.  So, for the more musically inclined, here is my thirteenth guitar lesson to you:   Tapping basics.  If you run into any problems, drop me a line and let me know, and thanks for reading! 

Enjoy!

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Lesson 13:  Tapping basics.  Tapping, two handed tapping, is a great way to augment a solo, create some great music, and it makes you sound like you’re playing at a billion miles an hour, and dammit, that is fun.  Let’s go over the basics. 

A tip: You can tap these single note lines with any finger.  If you are trying to play a solo and are using a pick, there are a few things you can do.  One is hold the pick the way you normally do, and when you go to tap pull your thumb and index finger up and tap a single note line with your middle finger.  Another way to do it is to switch up your index and middle fingers on the pick and tap with your index finger.  There is no right way to do it, whatever works is the right way to think about it.Experiment with it and find what works best for you.  You may end up finding a better and completely different way of doing it.

Place your picking hand on the neck, for the sake of this exercise at the 12th fret, we’ll start off with a simple 2 string exercise.  Anything in Bold is played with your picking hand.

-5 –12 -7 –12 -5 –12 – – – – – – – – –12 -5 –12 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –12 -8 –12 – – – – – – – – –12 -6 –12 -5 –12 – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

It is kind of monotonous to tap just one fret,  and the exercise is kinda short, but it is a good place to start.   The next exercise wont have that problem.  A simple arpeggiated sequence next.  The pick hand taps A and B minor sequences, while the other hammers a D and E minor sequence.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –10 -3 –12 -5 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – –9 -2 – – – – – – – – – – –11 -4 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – –10 -3 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –12 -5 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
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– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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A Video for you:  A two handed tapping legend, Stanley Jordan here plays the Led Zep tune Stairway to heaven at the Montreaux Jazz festival.   What he is doing there is clearly light years ahead of anything going on in this beginner tapping lesson.  Watch and be inspired!

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Next up, a simple double stop tapping exercise.  When doing this exercise, and you move your pick hand from the 7-7 position to the 7-6, to get your hand into position you should move your entire arm parallel to the neck, otherwise you will have a hard time getting your pick hand into position

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
0 -2 –7 -0 -2 –7 -0 -2 –7 -0 -2 –7 -0 -2 –6 -0 -2 –6 -0 -2 –6 -0 -2 –6
0- 2- 7– 0- 2- 7– 0- 2- 7-0 -2 –7 -0 -2 –7 -0 -2 –7 -0 -2 –7 -0 -2 –7
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Sometimes, timing between the two hands can really create some interesting and intricate sounding riffs. For the final exercise of the night, a simple but beautiful sounding timing exercise. Played properly, this exercise should have a triplet feel to it.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – 7-10 – – – – -7 – – – – – – – – 7-10 – – – – – 7- – – -0 -5 – – – 9– 0- 5- – – – –
-0 -5 – – – – – -0 -5 – – –10 -0 -5 – – – – – -0 -5 – – –10 – – – – – 7- – – – – – -7 –10
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
-0 -5 – – –9 -0 -5 – – – – – –12 -0 – – – 9- – – – – – – -9 –12 – – – – -9 – – – – – – –
– – – – -7 – – – – – – -7 –10 – – – – – -7 – – –12 -0 -7 – – – – -0 -7 – – –12
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

If I knew a way to put in a repeat sign in tablature form, I would place it at the end of each of these pieces.  I have really only scratched the surface as far as the possibilities of two handed tapping is concerned.  For those interested in hearing the possibilities of two handed tapping there are a number of truly great musicians who have done amazing things with the technique.  My personal favorites are Eddie Van Halen, the progenitor of the technique in modern music, and Stanley Jordan. 

There is much more to cover here, so you can be certain that I will be revisiting this with some more advanced exercises at some point.  If you see anything that throws you off, or you don’t understand something, drop me a line and let me know. 

Thanks much for stopping by!

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