1, we were introduced to the basic physical aspects
finger tapping (if you haven't taken that lesson, do so
you take this one!).
This lesson will still be a
very physical based lesson, because there's
still some essential tapping technique we need to be comfortable with
start getting our heads around the theoretical aspects, such as being
able to tap in a given scale, or tapping
Ok, let's get to it...
Getting comfortable with regular lead-tap changes
As a lead guitarist, you'll need to be confident with switching from
pick playing (e.g. alternate picking) to tapping phrases, sometimes
very quickly and seamlessly, depending
on the style of music.
This is more difficult than it
sounds. Firstly you have to move your picking hand from the guitar's
bridge position, where you ordinarily pick, and place it accurately
on that first tapped fret. It can be a large movement, so your
hand-eye co-ordination needs to be top notch. It just
takes... yep... practice!
Here's a little exercise to
help you out...
Play the below basic lead riff:
Click the diagram to
Now we're going to spice it up
a bit with a tapping phrase. What I've done in the example below is
have a little tap on the G string
from where the tab above ends. So our index finger should be in place,
ready on the G string at the 2nd fret, then we can add any extra
into the tapping phrase we wish (part 1 covered these basics)...
You'll need to be quick and
accurate when moving that tapping finger
down to the appropriate fret, however, some guitarists prepare for this
switch by actually picking down nearer the fretboard as you get close
to the tapping moment, rather than wait for it at the usual position
near the bridge.
Start off slow using a metronome
and speed up gradually
with your experimentations!
Adding more pull-offs and hammer-ons to the fretting
Great tapping phrases can be made using two notes on the fret hand
and a single tapped note. However, you can obviously add more notes to
sequence and "say" a lot more.
Again, you need to have at least
taken the lesson in part 1 to be confident with pull-offs in finger
There are many ways to arrange
the sequence of notes in the tapping phrase. One way is to use a
repetitive sequence of pull-offs as follows...
Obviously I can't over every
possible combination or sequence, but when
you get around to learning your scales, it's really just a case
of playing out a sequence like you would normally with your fret
fingers and adding those taps in appropriately.
When writing a tapping solo, I
always start with the
fret hand, sort those movements out first, then weave
the taps into the sequence.
Don't just tap-tap-tap on one
fret either - your tapping finger can
create its own little melody while the fretting fingers focus on theirs!
Using more than one string in your finger tapping
To be honest, most tapping phrases I hear (mostly in heavy metal guitar
solos) are only done on one string for a few seconds. However, by using
more than one string, you can jump around a given scale more easily.
Just like if you were picking normally, you can play a fuller
expression of the scale, and span more octaves if you play it across
all 6 strings.
So if you want your tapping to
sweep through a scale, you'll need to
get comfortable switching strings smoothly, in rhythm and in sync with
your tapping finger.
Take a look at the exercise
below (F =
fret hand finger, T
= tapping finger)...
(Click the diagram to hear
That's a simple minor scale
phrase across 4 strings. What you do with
your tapping finger is up to you - either keep it in a fixed spot for
each string, or move it around a bit which will require more
Also, play around with those
fret hand intervals. Either use a repetitive, descending sequence like
we looked at above, or "see-saw" between them. Come up with
your own way to weave them into the tapping sequence.
You don't always need to tap more than one string!
In some cases, you may find the backing music you're playing over
allows you to simply slide a particular phrase or interval movement up
down the fretboard on a single string.
So it's not the actual fret position that's fixed, it's just the
interval used on your fret hand fingers that gets shifted up and down
Take a look and listen below
to see what I mean. Notice how the interval on the fret hand
remains the same, it just descends as one block down the fretboard. In
the example, I "see-saw" between those two fretted notes on the left
using the hammer-on and pull-off techniques we've looked at before (I
use my index and pinky finger).
You can keep the tapping
finger on the same fret throughout, as the
fretting interval descends, or try, like I do in the audio clip, to
descend it following the fretted phrase...
Try your own patterns using
this fixed-interval technique.
This lesson, along with part
1, should have helped you to get physically
confident with the basic finger tapping technique. You're now ready to
merge your knowledge of scales and create your own tapping phrases,
based on this
physical foundation. More help on this soon...