Guitar Technique: Tapping

April 17, 2009 at 11:44 pm (Music)

Edward Van Halen
Hey gang, welcome to another “Guitar Technique” post (maybe I should turn it into a series?)…The main topic of this paticular episode is Tapping or using your strumming hand to fret. With both hands fretting at the same time, the speed at which you can play is absolutley amazing. This technique was made popular by the legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen in the 80’s with songs like “Hot for Teacher” and “Eruption.” Although tapping started previously (used by guys like Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath), Eddie turned it into an art form, taking guitar speed to a whole new level.They’re are several different types or methods of tapping, each of which I will describe below.

Guitar Tapping Methods:

  • “Open Ended Tapping”- This technique works when both hands are fretting notes on an open string…When each note is un-fretted the base note of the string is heard resulting in a smooth overall sound. Here is an example: Open Ended.
  • “Contained Tapping”- This method is similar to the “open ended” method, but is choked off at a paticular point (determined by the pointer finger on your fretting hand)…the sound is thus “contained” to a paticular set of notes. Here is an example: Contained Tapping.
  • “Pick Tapping”- This is something I have only recently experimented with. You use the edge of your pick to fret different notes well tapping with your fretting hand. The pick produces a small but sharp sound which sounds interesting. Here is an example: Pick Tapping.
  • “Tap-Strumming”- This is not traditional tapping…rather its a fusion of a gallop strum with triplets mixed in (with no regard to beat or timing). I strum quickly on the base string will anchoring my fretting hand on a note and hammering on the three next notes. I change octaves at the end, and the quality is pretty shotty, but here is my example: Tap-Strumming.

I hope this post was helpful to all you guitarists out there learning how to play “Eruption”…man that song is difficult!

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1 Comment

  1. Chris said,

    tap tap tapero

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