Tapping On Bass Guitar. Part 7 - Ninth Right Hand Position

The interval of a fifth, which we considered last time, sounds weak when used extensively, so this week we'll examine how it can be combined with the fourth interval we've previously used to produce what is probably the most useful of all right hand tapping patterns.

8
Tapping on Bass Guitar Lesson #7 ================================ LESSON POINTS: Ninth Right Hand Position The interval of a fifth, which we considered last time, sounds weak when used extensively, so this week we'll examine how it can be combined with the fourth interval we've previously used to produce what is probably the most useful of all right hand tapping patterns. Play an A chord at the twelfth fret as usual, then follow it with a fifth based pattern similar to the one we looked at last time:
                                                             -O-
                                                  O
                                                 ---    ---  ---

                                            -O-  ---    -O-  ---

                                            ---  ---    ---  ---
                            __ 
                        |--/--\----------O------------O---------
                        |  \   | .  #                    
|-------14-------16-|   |------|--#-----------------------------
|----14-------14----|   |      / .         
|-12-------12-------|   |-----/---------------------------------
|-------------------|   |    /     #
     T  T     T  T      |---/-----------------------------------
                        |                 
                        |---------------------------------------
Now rather than keeping your fingers straight, play the fifth by hooking your third finger round behind your middle finger. With practise you should find a hand position which is a comfortable compromise between the the fourth and fifth hand positions you've been using previously. By using this hand position you can smoothly mix both fourths and fifths to provide passing notes:
                                                               /--\
                                                             -O-
                                                      O           O       O
                                                     ---     --- ---     ---

                                                 -O- --- -O- --- --- -O- ---

                                                 --- --- --- --- --- --- ---  
                                    __
                                |--/--\--------O----------------------------
                                |  \   | .  #                   
|---------14----16-14----14-|   |------|--#---------------------------------
|------14----14-------14----|   |      / .        
|---12----------------------|   |-----/-------------------------------------
|---------------------------|   |    /     #
       T1 T2 T1 T3 T2 T1 T2     |---/---------------------------------------
                                |
                                |-------------------------------------------
The B-A transition is a pull-off. You should be able to remove your third finger from the string cleanly enough to leave the A ringing, and to provide a smooth transition between the notes. Make sure your timing is tight on this example - in particular there should be no delay in shifting between hand positions. In fact there should be very little hand movement involved once you've found the correct technique. This fingering position is VERY important. It crops up everywhere, but its main uses (in terms of chord construction) are in resolving suspended fourths:
                                                       -O-
                                                  O
                                                 ---   --- 

                                            -O-  ---   ---

                                            ---  ---   ---
                            __
                        |--/--\--------------------------------
                        |  \   | .  #                    
|-----------14--16--|   |------|--#----------------------------
|-------14----------|   |      / .       O  
|-------------------|   |-----/------#-------------------------
|---12--------------|   |    /     #
        T   T   T       |---/----------------------------------
                        |
                        |--------------------------------------
                                         Root    Fourth
                                            Octave    Fifth


And outlining ninth chords:


                                                       -O-
                                                  O     
                                                 ---   --- 

                                            -O-  ---   ---

                                            ---  ---   ---
                            __
                        |--/--\----------O---------------------
                        |  \   | .  #                    
|-----------14--16--|   |------|--#----------------------------
|-------14----------|   |      / .         
|---12--------------|   |-----/--------------------------------
|-------------------|   |    /     #
        T   T   T       |---/----------------------------------
                        |
                        |--------------------------------------
                                         Root   Octave
                                            Fifth      Ninth
Ninth chords are very important on bass, as the large intervals involved prevent the sound from being muddy, while still providing a complex sound. I hope to cover them in more detail in a later lesson. To avoid confusion with fourth and fifth hand positions, I'll probably refer to this hand position as a ninth position, regardless of the harmonic role it's playing. OK, time for the examples. The first example is a pattern I sometimes use for the middle section of "Panama" (Van Halen). The section is pretty quiet, and can sometimes drag - depending on the atmosphere, this riff can pick things up nicely and fill in the gap.
|-----21----21----23-21---21-|-21----21----23-21----21--|
|o-------21----21-------21---|----21----21-------21-----|
|o----7----------------------|-------------5------------|
|----------------------------|----------------------8---|
                           \___/                    \___

|-----21----21----23-21---21-|-21----21----23-21----21--|
|--------21----21-------21---|----21----21-------21----o|
|----------------------------|-------------5--------8--o|
|-----8----------------------|--------------------------|
  ___/                     \___/                    \___
The final example this week is an all time fave of mine - Stu Hamm's "Kings of Sleep". This makes repeated use of the ninth position, while the left hand plays the bass line. Note how the same right hand notes play different roles within the chord depending on the bass note. This version is written for a standard bass - those with Kubicki's can use the extender, and drop some of the notes down one octave to be consistant with the record. Alternatively non-kubicki users could raise everything one tone.
                                                                  Repeat
|---14----16-----|----14--------|---14----16---------|---14-------------|
|------14--------|-------14-----|------14------------|------14----------|
|-------------4--|--------------|-5------------7-/9--|-7---------7-9-7--|
|-5--------------|-2------------|--------------------|------------------|
  H T  T  T   H  | H  T  T      | H T  T  T    H  S  | P T  T    H H P  |


                                                                      DC
|---14----16-----|---14--------------|---14----16------|---14-----------|
|------14-----11-|------14--------11-|------14-----11--|------14--------|
|-9--------------|-9--------11-12----|-9---------------|-9--------------|
|----------------|-------------------|-----------------|----------------|
  H T  T  T   H  | H  T  T  H  H  H  | H T  T  T   H   | H T  T  H H  P |
Enjoy... Ian.

16 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    doormatt
    woa what a lack of comments.... well, this is a very useful lesson, 5 stars.
    Kissmu89
    thanks, these lessons really helped me i hope u continue making lessons
    Bu||eT
    thanks dude. thanks to you i finally can tap a bit. i will now continue learning more thanks
    Ouch_needles
    This whole series of lessons is great, really helped my understanding of tapping, and has helped me progress loads, even if major 3rd stops are still a bitch to play lol
    milldog
    thanks alot Ian, these lessons on tapping helped a great bit. the only problem i could see is that my bass only has 22 frets not 23
    sadsadtoaster
    This whole series was great, very helpful. I'm very glad you took the time to write it, as I know I wouldn't be that patient, so major props to ya. But I don't know why people are wondering why no more lessons, it's not like you're gonna throw in the 10(maj or min), 11, or 13 unless you plan on playing jazz, at which point you'd be able to figure those out anyway. But great lessons.
    marcusmassacre
    well i didn't learn much from these lessons, but i know that a lot of others did. your a great guy for doing all of this. the one thing i'll always remember form these lessons is making my metal band: D.R.O.W. play "Panama"just so i could show off. my guitarists were pissed =]. Drummer seemed happy though. thank you very much on the behalf of everyone who reads these. your contributions are life savers. -Marcus
    zurokiea
    nestorplaysbass wrote: someone knows a song I could learn with tapping?
    Yeah Victor Wooten has some tapping lessons on Youtube, its pretty cool. The first tapping i learnt. It goes like this ----- -----16--18----- -----16--18----- -----14----- ----14----- --12----- -12----- ----- L1 L2 L3 R L1 L2 L3 R Then he adds in slides which makes it a bit harder and the selection of the righthand finger more important. -21/20----- -----16--18----- Try and hold the 20th -----14----- fret throughout the -----12----- piece L1 L2 L3 R -20/18-----16--18--- As both notes (held 18 -----14----- and 16) cant be -----12----- held at the same time ----- You need to lift of L1 L2 L3 R 18 and immediately tap the 16. I hope thats not too confusing.
    zurokiea
    Yeah Victor Wooten has some tapping lessons on Youtube, its pretty cool. The first tapping i learnt. It goes like this ----- -----16--18-- -----16--18-- -----14----- -----14----- --12----- -12----- ----- L1 L2 L3 R L1 L2 L3 R Then he adds in slides which makes it a bit harder and the selection of the righthand finger more important. -21/20----- -----16--18-- Try and hold the 20th -----14----- fret throughout the -----12----- piece L1 L2 L3 R -20/18-----16--18-- As both notes (held 18 -----14----- and 16) cant be -----12----- held at the same time ----- You need to lift of L1 L2 L3 R 18 and immediately tap the 16. I hope thats not too confusing.