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Tapping Introduction – 1 Fret Hand Finger

One technique that is often used is called tapping, while it is often used it is just as often abused. Sometimes players learn the technique but do not put the time into figuring out how to use it. When this happens is sounds like random notes that don’t fit anywhere. In this tutorial I will try to explain how I use it and my ideas around it.

Many players tap for the illusion of speed, and yes you can achieve that with tapping. I did that long when I first became interested in playing fast the fad passed as my picking technique improved and tapping didn’t seem all that fast anymore.

This lesson will deal with one finger tapping – I normally palm the pick and tap with my index, but sometimes I use my middle – however your comfortable, it is your choice.

I use tapping nowadays pretty sparingly but I use it when I am trying to achieve a smooth sounding arpeggio or sequence. Tapping becomes advantageous in situation where you fret hand just cannot make the stretch to the higher end of the fret board.

Ok – single string tapping

I try to tap intervals on single string that will form notes of a chord. For the purposes here I will demonstrate the major and minor intervals. These patterns are movable and fairly straightforward.

Exercise 1

F = fret hand
P = pick hand

A Minor

tapping 1

Notice the interval between the frets (empty frets between your fingers)

Minor 2 and 3, Major 3 and 2

These chords are very commonly used triads – there are many more chords and shapes, but come up with some on your own if you think it sounds good then your on the right track.

The technique :

Take your fret hand and do the first to notes legato (hammer on /pull off) Now take fret hand index finger and tap and release on the other fret. It may take a while to get coordinated, but soon the technique will become second hand(pardon the pun)

Exercise 2

Move your Fret hand tapping finger alternating between two frets (make sure timing stays correct)

For example let use the A minor pattern

tapping 2

Alternate between these two frets every other tap.

Doing this will allow you to play a bit more complex chords than just triads, now you can play dominant 7ths or any other one that needs that extra note to differentiate its self.

Another idea you can use is what would be called is a glissando (slide) , use either the fret or picking – depending on what you want to achieve, but it makes for an smoother sound between the notes. For this example I’ll focus in using the picking hand.

What you do is when you got the note tapped, hold it down and slide it to the note you want to let off on – this will allow a slur between the notes, you can make up some neat sounding passages with this techniques.

A minor

tapping 3

Well this is a quick primer on simple tapping techniques, there are many more methods to this that I will make lessons on in the near future.

Eight finger tapping, two handed chord extensions, piano tapping style, sweep to tap and more.

One other thing – you DO NOT NEED an electric guitar with all sorts of distortions and effects to tap with , I myself prefer to tap on an old steel string acoustic.


1) Tapping is commonly used, and just as often abused
2) Think about the patterns your going to tap , try to base them on chords shapes , and patterns – not random banging away.
3) It is important to get your timing in sync between the two hands
4) There are many methods of tapping.
5) You do not need distortion or effect, tapping can be done clean

In my mini website lesson series I will eventually touch on the other aspects of shred guitar. Tapping, sweeping, legato etc. Stay tuned and check in often you’ll never know what comes next

© Brad Corpus 2005

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