Out of all the techniques a guitarist can utilize, 8-finger tapping has been the only one to leave me in awe. It’s an area in guitar that takes dedication to perfect, and can expand your playing beyond your current limitations. There are a few things I want to cover before we get to any exercises.
The String Dampener
Most notably used by Michael Angelo Batio, it is an external item that can be attached to your guitar for use with tapping or legato playing. What does it do? It stops any unwanted string noise, and can make you sound better! Don’t be discouraged by the mass amount of people who claim it’s “cheating”. I highly recommend you use one for 8-finger tapping. You can buy one such as the official MAB String Dampener (90 USD), but something as simple as a sock will do. Personally, I use a bandana.
Using a String Dampener:
This is the easy part, take your bandana (or sock) and tie it around the nut of your guitar, make sure its tight enough to muffle the strings. Try messing around with it tied on and you’ll notice the effect it has on your sound.
In order to get good at this technique, you’ll have to practice. It takes more than chops to be able to sound good. I found knowing these three things, Modes, Extended Scales, and Arpeggios to be quite useful when it comes to 8-finger tapping.
The Picking Hand
Getting your picking hand use to tapping will take some time getting use to. Most of the time, guitarists will have trouble with their pinky, but with practice it won’t be much of a hassle.
The great thing about 8-finger tapping is that you can create unique sounds. Once you become familiar with it, you’ll be able to explore the possibilities.
In this part of the lesson, I’ll begin to show you exercises that will get your picking hand use to tapping. First off, take your picking hand and drape it over the top of your neck so your fingers point in the opposite direction of your fretting hand, but lay diagonally across your strings. Avoid curving your wrist too much.
Nothing to complicated about this exercise, just make sure you play it as slow as possible in order to correct mistakes. The great thing about this exercise it that it works two areas at once. Getting your picking hand stronger, and synchronizing both hands. The fingering is 1,4,2,3 but you can use 1,2,3,4 if you find this one to be too complex.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, you play every other set of four notes with your picking hand. I’ll leave you with a another exercise so you won’t get bored. This one is very basic but gets your picking hand better at tapping fast.
Just keep using these two exercises for now, and in the next lessons we’ll start to get musical with 8-finger tapping.