Tapping A Different Approach. Pt 1

author: p6667 date: 09/23/2008 category: guitar techniques
rating: 10 / votes: 11 
It is currently 1:29 AM here in Florida and I can't sleep without posting my first lesson here at Ultimate-Guitar.com, and let me say this is a wonderful forum! I will impart as much as I can to all of you out there trying to get the satisfying sound of a well practiced technique. Let's jump right into it, shall we? I'm going to make the assumption you are familiar with tapping, otherwise look at a few other lessons on UG, they've got the basics covered. Here is the most commonly used tapped arpeggio out there:
e|---t12--p8--p5--t12--p8--p5--t12--p8--p5--
b|------------------------------------------
g|------------------------------------------
D|------------------------------------------
A|------------------------------------------
E|------------------------------------------
This is an A minor triad! If you haven't tried it I would recommend it. This was the gateway drug into shredding for me; whereas before, I just felt that some power chords and some melodies would get me by when my band was playing lighter rock, now we're metalcore/hardcore/rock... go figure:P. Anyway, I whipped out my 2001 Model Peavey Raptor and tapped this one out on some crappy portable amp distortion at lunch time during school and the guys were just amazed! This anecdote just goes to show you that there are really easy ways to start. What is so rewarding about this is that it takes so little effort to just spew out these notes so rapidly. The technique relies on three fingers (two separate appendages controlling them) to do this and rather than operating two hands simultaneously as you would when you play a scale (picking and fretting at the same time), the three fingers alternate---comparable to the way cylinders fire one at a time in an engine creating several thousand revolutions per minute. This triad would be a three cylinder engine, reving 10-11 notes per second at a novice level (that's 600-650 notes per minute, the engine in your car idles at 750 rpm, you could easily rev up to that! ). Novices: a little problem I hear with this basic technique is imbalance. A lot of the time the guitarist will tap too hard leaving the hammered notes relatively hushed. At higher gain levels this isn't a problem, but my Peavey Strat knockoff had a single coil at the bridge and my practice amp had vintage OD on it. It can be done on an acoustic, really. Drifting by Andy Mckee, YouTube it. Let's reintroduce the Am triad:
e|---t12--p8--p5--t12--p8--p5--t12--p8--p5--
b|------------------------------------------
g|------------------------------------------
D|------------------------------------------
A|------------------------------------------
E|------------------------------------------
On the tapped 12th, when releasing, you can keep your finger pressed but a mute may occur if you lazily take it off and the pulled-off 8th will sound dull. Fix this by removing more crisply, OR remove it in a downward motion off the fretboard as though you were plucking the string on your way out. The same goes with pulling off of 8th into 5th, remove the finger and redisturb the string at though it were replucked again, as though the string caught on to your finger on it's way out, this will compensate the strong retap of the 12th again making the triad more crisp and clear. But hey, if you want the 12th to dominate you can make a great triplet phrasing with the 12th as an accent note. Depends on your style. Let's graduate a bit. Continuing the engine metaphor, here is a 4-cylinder:
e|---t12--p8--p7--p5--t12--p8--p7--p5--t12--p8--p7--p5--
b|------------------------------------------------------
g|------------------------------------------------------
D|------------------------------------------------------
A|------------------------------------------------------
E|------------------------------------------------------
This time we're introducing another intermediate finger on the left hand we have E, C, B, A, E, C, B, A, etc. It's now a AmAdd9 (A minor additional 9th) arpeggio! For those of you who aren't theory oriented, the additional 9th (9th numerically refers to the position of the note in the scale of A, NOT the fret number! ) would be the B (7th fret) ADDed (Add9) into the chord we've formed here. Be sure to intently pull-off with the left hand, you have to maintain the vibrational energy in the high-e during two left-handed pull-offs now. Don't mute that 8th or 7th! Also, as a side note, timing is everything! Practice with a metronome or at a really slow pace and keep each note equally spaced from the last (or at least for the sake of this lesson; ) ) You can count:
 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 1 and 2 and... 
e|---t12--p8--p7--p5--t12--p8--p7--p5--t12--p8--p7--p5--
OR
 1 ee and a 2 ee and a 3 ee and a
e|---t12--p8--p7--p5--t12--p8--p7--p5--t12--p8--p7--p5--
depending on how fast your tapping is accurately produced. Alternatively tap and rise (the reverse now) with this arrangement creates more tension:
e|---t12--p5--h7--h9--t12--p5--h7--h9--t12--p5--h7--h9--
b|------------------------------------------------------
g|------------------------------------------------------
D|------------------------------------------------------
A|------------------------------------------------------
E|------------------------------------------------------
Hammering readily adds vibrational energy to the string so this shouldn't be too hard. Now with open string high-e:
e|---t12--p0--h5--h8--t12--p0--h5--h8--t12--p0--p5--p8--
b|------------------------------------------------------
g|------------------------------------------------------
D|------------------------------------------------------
A|------------------------------------------------------
E|------------------------------------------------------
Be careful. You could mute the open string if you don't move that fretting hand pointer (5th fret) out of the way quick enough. A lot of players just squeeze this finger the whole time, never having to remove it for arpeggios like we've seen before. Your left hand fretting motion moves from a hinge rooted on the fretboard, to a wave motion. This is definitely harder, don't underestimate this one. This is also a great versatility excercise pulling the reliance of your clamped finger and thumb away from playing dynamics. This will pay! Even as this lesson progresses. Don't forget, there are many ways to alternate on the e-string alone! Tap, Down, Open, Tap, Down, Open
e|---t12--p8--p5--p0--t12--p8--p5--p0--t12--p8--p5--p0---
Tap, Down, Up, Tap, Down, Up
e|---t12--p8--p5--h8--t12--p8--p5--h8--t12--p8--p5--h8---
Now with 4...
e|---t12--p8--p7--p5--h7--h8--t12--p8--p7--p5--h7--h8--
Tap, Trill, Down
e|---t12--p8--p7--h8--p7--p5--t12--p8--p7--h8--p7--p5---
Tap, Flutter Down, Open, Flutter Up (this one takes up a whole 1, 2, 3, 4 count with 16th notes). You can tap entire phrases!!!
e|-t12-p8-p7-h8-p7-p5-h7-p5-p0-h5-h7-p5-h7-h8-p7-h8-t12...
Now let's add a melodic line with the tapping finger.
e|---t12--p8--p5--t13--p8--p5--t15--p8--p5--t13--p8--p5--t12...
Don't be afraid to move that tapping finger around! The same goes for the fretting hand, at some pointin Van Halen's Eruption he moves his left hand each tap like so:
e|--t12--p5--h8--t12--p4--h7--t12--p5--h8--t12--p4--h7--
It alternates between E, A, C (Am) and E, Ab, B (Emaj), very classical sounding! Don't be afraid to move that tapping hand. If you're having trouble with this one, it's probably because you're still relying on the hinging motion of your fretting hand as you tap (the hinge being your squeezed pointer and thumb) the tapping excercises involving the open string should solve this if you practice them. Feel Confident? Here's a classical-style jingle on the high-e string, Each note should be a sixteenth note at 150-160bpm as I'm imagining it:
e|-t12--p8--p5--h8--t11--p8--p5--h8--t12--p8--p5--h8--t13--p8--p5--h8
b|-------------------------------------------------------------------
g|-------------------------------------------------------------------
D|-------------------------------------------------------------------
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------

e|-t12--p7--p4--h7--t11--p7--p4--h7--t12--p7--p4--h7--t13--p7--p4--p7
b|-------------------------------------------------------------------
g|-------------------------------------------------------------------
D|-------------------------------------------------------------------
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------

e|-t17--p8--p7--p5--t15--p5--h7--h8--t13--p8--p7--p5--t12--p5--p7--p8
b|-------------------------------------------------------------------
g|-------------------------------------------------------------------
D|-------------------------------------------------------------------
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------

e|-t12--p4--h7--h8--t10--p8--p7--h8--p5------------------------------
b|-------------------------------------------------------------------
g|-------------------------------------------------------------------
D|-------------------------------------------------------------------
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------
Your tapping hand creates the melody line, while your fretting hand carries most of the arpeggio and thusly the background chords. Enjoy!
More p6667 lessons:
+ Tapping A Different Approach. Pt 2 Guitar Techniques 09/23/2008
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