Right Hand Fret Tapping

author: fingersofflame date: 06/01/2006 category: guitar techniques
rating: 7.9 / votes: 50 
Fretboard tapping was a technique popularized in the eighties mainly by Van Halen. Basically what fret tapping is when you take your right hand, raise it to the fretboard, then choose a finger (I prefer the middle) and hit the fretboard with considerable force with the finger, which is usually followed by a series of pull offs. To understand what I mean, you may want try this excercise:
NOTE: "T" means tap

     T     T      T      T      
e|--12--8--12--8--12--8--12--8ZYABLA~HUYABLA|
b|------------------------------|
g|------------------------------|
d|------------------------------| 
a|------------------------------|
e|------------------------------|
  repeat...
At first it may seem hard, and your fingers may get raw easily, but just take it slow, trying it again and again until you feel comfortable, and eventually you will get a calous (sadly, I am unsure how to spell this) on that finger as well, and the tapping will be very easy. If you are still having a little bit of trouble, you may want to: 1. Go to a lighter gauge 2. Tune the guitar down a step Once you are comfortable with that excercise, try this:
    T   P   P  P   T  H  H  H   
e|--12--10--8--7--12--7--8--10--|
b|------------------------------|
g|------------------------------|
d|------------------------------|
a|------------------------------|
e|------------------------------|
  repeat 3 more times and then...

     T  P  P  P  T   H  H  H
e|--12--9--7--6--12--6--7--9--|
b|----------------------------|
g|----------------------------|
d|----------------------------|
a|----------------------------|
e|----------------------------|
  and keep moving the left hand down the fretboard until your index
  finger reaches the fourth fret, repeating the same pattern and then
  do this next pattern...basically what it does, is then takes your
  tapping hand one fret away from the pulloff pattern and then after
  that it brings you all the way back to the original starting postion

                   play each section four times
     T  P  P  P      T  P  P  P      T  P  P  P     T  P  P  P
e|--12--7--5--4--|--11--7--5--4--|--10--7--5--4--|--9--7--5--4--|
b|---------------|---------------|---------------|--------------|
g|---------------|---------------|---------------|--------------|
d|---------------|---------------|---------------|--------------|
a|---------------|---------------|---------------|--------------|
e|---------------|---------------|---------------|--------------|
  then...
                   play each secion four times
     T  P  P  P      T  P  P  P      T   P  P  P
e|--10--8--6--5--|--11--9--7--6--|--12--10--8--7--|
b|---------------|---------------|----------------|
g|---------------|---------------|----------------|
d|---------------|---------------|----------------|
a|---------------|---------------|----------------|
e|---------------|---------------|----------------|
  then, if you please, you can start the whole thing over again and then
  you can pretty much apply that to everything.
I know that that may seem like a lot to take in, but it really isn't all that difficult. It is basically a descending and then ascending pattern. At first it might be best if you take the excercise slow, and then play it faster; you will surprised at how many people will be amazed. There is also something simple that you can do with that very same excercise, and that is when you get to the final part of the first few phases that look like this:
    T   P   P  P   T  H  H  H   
e|--12--10--8--7--12--7--8--10--|
b|------------------------------|
g|------------------------------|
d|------------------------------|
a|------------------------------|
e|------------------------------|
simply take your tapping hand and
slide it between the 12th and 13th
frets,

like this:
     T         P   T
e|--12/13/12--10--12--|
b|--------------------|
g|--------------------|
d|--------------------|
a|--------------------|
e|--------------------|
just a note though, if you are on a
lower phase, like the phase "9--7--6"
then the lick would look

like this:
     T        P   T
e|--12/13/12--9--12--|
b|-------------------|
g|-------------------|
d|-------------------|
a|-------------------|
e|-------------------|
Get it? Another cool trick with tapping is when you are playing an ascending pattern like:
e|------------7--9--10b11r10--9--7--| 
b|--7--9--10------------------------|
g|----------------------------------|
d|----------------------------------|
a|----------------------------------|
e|----------------------------------|
Fairly simple, no? Nothing to flashy, but why don't we spice it up a little with some tapping? To do this may take some practice, but when you can, it is really cool/fun to do. What you do is, while the string is bent, you can either tap the fretboard, and then release the tap and then the bend, like below:
                           T                
e|------------7--9--10b11--14--11r10--9--7--|
b|--7--9--10--------------------------------|
g|------------------------------------------|
d|------------------------------------------|
a|------------------------------------------|
e|------------------------------------------|
Or another technique is also bending the tap, but I'm not gonna waste space to show you that. One other technique is that when the string is bent, rapidly tap the fretboard while gradually releasing the bend, and then continuing to play. An example of this can be heard during the solo in an Atreyu song "Right Side Of The Bed" which can be heard here. Anyway, I will try to show you an example of this tapping technique within a very simple solo.
  play this twice             then
e|----------------|----------------------|
b|----------------|----------------------|
g|--7b9r7--5------|--------7-----7b9r7--5|
d|------------7---|--5--7-----7----------|
a|----------------|----------------------|
e|----------------|----------------------|
play this whole phase twice and then...

e|----------------------5--7--8/10--10--9--7------------------------------------|
b|-------------5--7--8------------------------10--9--7--------------------------|
g|----5--7--8-------------------------------------------10--9--7--9b11--7--9--10|
d|------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
a|------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
e|------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

                                            If playing really fast then 
      (rapidly tap while releasing bend)   repeat each phase 8 times, else 4 
                            T   P  P  P        T  P  H      T   P  H
e|------------7--9--10b12--14--10--9--7--| |--14--7--10--|--14--6--9--|
b|--7--9--10-----------------------------| |-------------|------------|play
g|---------------------------------------| |-------------|------------|this
d|---------------------------------------| |-------------|------------|part
a|---------------------------------------| |-------------|------------|twice
e|---------------------------------------| |-------------|------------|

  play each phase 8 times     then only 4 time here   
     T  P  H      T  P  H      T  P  H   T P H    T P H   T  P H  
e|-12-5-8-|-12-4-7-|-12-6-9-|-14-7-10-|-12-6-9-|-14-5-8-|-12-4-7-|
b|--------|--------|--------|---------|--------|--------|--------|
g|--------|--------|--------|---------|--------|--------|--------|
d|--------|--------|--------|---------|--------|--------|--------|
a|--------|--------|--------|---------|--------|--------|--------|
e|--------|--------|--------|---------|--------|--------|--------|
I hope that you have learned a thing or two about fretboard tapping and that it will inspire your songs and solos.
More fingersofflame lessons:
+ Guide To Sweep Picking Guitar Techniques 05/16/2007
Comments
Your captcha is incorrect