Two Handed Tapping On Bass Guitar

author: Secondhandloser date: 07/01/2005 category: bass lessons
rating: 8 / votes: 44 
So maybe you've always been impressed by the way guys like Billy Sheehan play, or maybe you just saw this article and were like "Hey, I'd look really cool if I could tap on bass." Well, here's your chance to learn one of the most impressive techniques on bass, and not only is it impressive, very few people take the time to learn it right, so if you put yourself to it, you'll be one step ahead of the rest. So, for starters, do an open hammer on on your G string. Good job, you tapped your first note. Now practice making it sound clear and defined, and get used to stopping the note. Now, since everybody has a different right hand approach, I'll give you mine and with time you will develop your own. I usually wear my bass low, but when it comes time to tap, the strap goes up. Not super high, just a comfortable high. Now position your right arm almost parrallel to the strings, and find a position where you will note be muting them. Go ahead and tap the 12th fret on the G string, and practice starting, holding, and ending the note properly. It should be as clear and controlled as note played conventionally. Take the time to make sure you have this down, most players skip this part and then never learn to tap correctly. This part is crucial, so if it takes you a week to get it perfect, practice for two before moving on. So now you've got that, and you have a real impressive sounding riff that goes like this:
G--12---12---12--12--|
D--------------------|
A--------------------|
E--------------------|
That's mad there. Probably the technique most used in tapping is a pull-off. RIght now you're going "I already know how to do a pull-off, I'll just skip this." Well, you can if you want to, but you will be a little lost later on, because pulling off from a tapped note is a lot different than pulling off a fretted note. When you pull off a tapped note, you want to slide the tapping finger (RH) off the string, in order to give the note more volume. So practice catching pull-offs, and the finger slide (the 15 is right hand, 12 is left hand):
G--15p12-15p12-15p12--|
D---------------------|
A---------------------|
E---------------------|
Again, seemingly simple, but crucial if you want to tap. Let's go ahead and bring some hammer-ons into that riff, try this:
G--15p12h14p12-15p12h14p12--|
D---------------------------|
A---------------------------|
E---------------------------|
Again, really simple, but that riff right there will be impressive once you get it up to speed, and will provide a basis for you to get your own riffs going. Practice really is key to getting tapping down, just like you had to build up muscles to slap, and even play fingerstyle, your hands have to get used to tapping. Eventually, you will find it coming naturally, and after that your playing ability will multiply. Hope this was helpful ( 1st artice by the way, all for you Dan). One more thing, once you get tapping down, and I don't recomend this while learning because it will hide your mistakes, is turning on some distortion, nothing comletes a tapping line like some fuzz to blend it all together. I personally prefer to set my EQ flat, with a moderate amount of disortion of fuzz, and tap away. Have fun. One more line...
G--------14p12h14-14p12h14p10------15p12h14p1215121412--|
D-------------------------------------------------------|
A--10--------------------------------------12-----------|x2
E-------------------------------------------------------|

G--19p14-19p14p12--17p14-17p14p12-15p12-15p12h14--------|
D-------------------------------------------------------|
A-------------------------------------------------------|x2
E-------------------------------------------------------|

G--12p0-7h8-12p0-7h8-12p0-7h8-12p0-7h8------------------|
D-------------------------------------------------------|
A-------------------------------------------------------|
E-------------------------------------------------------|

G--12p0-9h10-12p0-9h10-12p0-9h10-12p0-9h10--------------|
D-------------------------------------------------------|
A-------------------------------------------------------|
E-------------------------------------------------------|

G--12p0-5h6-12p0-5h6-12p0-5h6-12p0-5h6------------------|
D-------------------------------------------------------|
A-------------------------------------------------------|
E-------------------------------------------------------|

G--12p0-7h8-12p0-7h8-12p0-7h8-12p0-7h8------------------|
D-------------------------------------------------------|
A-------------------------------------------------------|
E-------------------------------------------------------|

G--19p14-19p14p12--17p14-17p14p12-15p12-15p12h14--------|
D-------------------------------------------------------|
A-------------------------------------------------------|
E-------------------------------------------------------|


G--19p14-19p14p12--17p14-17p14p12-15p12h14p12-15--------|
D-------------------------------------------------------|
A-------------------------------------------------------|x2
E-------------------------------------------------------|

G--15p12h14p12h15p12h14p12--|
D---------------------------|
A---------------------------|
E---------------------------|
Play double the speed of the rest of the piece and use it to impress people. All right, enjoy. BTW, I tabbed this line out without my bass, not sure if all the notes are right, I just wrote a few minutes ago and can't remember the whole thing.

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