All About Tapping. Part1: Legato Training

Lesson to teach you all the legato training you need for tapping. No Actual tapping riffs in this lesson, it's more of a preparation for All About Tapping Pt.2

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Okay, so you want to learn tapping?, or you want to improve your tapping. I wrote this for anyone, from the early stages of tapping to the really awesome. Tapping consists of using your a finger(or more than one) to play a note higher up on the fretboard than your fingering hand alone could do fluently. This technique was revolutionized by Eddy Van Halen and from there on molded into a lot of different styles. Best to practice tapping on an electric guitar. First Things First! First you have to become good at legato playing. Legato playing is used by us guitarists by sounding a note without picking it. And the most common techniques used are: Hammer-on's and pull off's. Here are some exercised to better understand.. Practice these well!
e|----------------------------------------------------------|
B|-5-6----------5-7-------5-8------6-7-----6-8-----7-8------|
G|----------------------------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------|
   1 21 3  1 4   2 3   2 4   3 4
These are Hammer-On's.Pick the first note, then use the finger indicated on the bottom(from the same hand) and pres into the second note indicated, you should hear the second note pretty much just as loud as the first one if you do it right.
e|----------------------------------------------------------|
B|-6-5----------7-5-------8-5------7-6-----8-6-----8-7------|
G|----------------------------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------|
   2 13 1  4 1   3 2   4 2   4 3
These, on the other hand, are called Pull-off's, they are considered the opposite of hammer-ons. You pick the higher note then pull the finger downward off of the string causing extra vibrations and so sounding the lower note. Be careful not to bend the note causing it to go sharp. Always have your finger on the fret that will sound the note after the pull-off. Continue to practice those, when you can hammer on the note and pull it off quickly and perfectly you use a technique known as a Trill. thrills are a fantastic workout for strength, finger independence and control. Perfect thrills are hard to accomplish so don't stay to fixated on those. Some more legato exercises:
h = Hammer on
p = Pull off
s = slide
u = Upstroke
d = Downsroke
Timing is very important with these exercises, use a metronome and start slow if you have one handy.
Single string Legato:
  #1                  #2         #3
e|-------------------|------------------|---------------------|
B|-5-6-5-7-5-8-5-7---|-6-5-7-5-8-5-7-5--|-7-6-8-6-7-6-8-6-----|
G|-------------------|------------------|---------------------|
D|-------------------|------------------|---------------------|
A|-------------------|------------------|---------------------|
E|-------------------|------------------|---------------------|
   d h p h p h p h     d p h p h p h p    d p h p h p h p

Multiple string legato:

e|-----5-6-6-5------|-------5-6-7-7-6-5----------------------|
B|-5-6---------6-5--|-5-6-7-------------7-6-5----------------|
G|------------------|----------------------------------------|
D|------------------|----------------------------------------|
A|------------------|----------------------------------------|
E|------------------|----------------------------------------|
   d h d h u p u p    d h h d h h u p p u p p

e|---------5-6-7-8-8-7-6-5----------------------------------|
B|-5-6-7-8-----------------8-7-6-5--------------------------|
G|----------------------------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------|
   d h h h d h h h u p p p u p p p

Practice Hammering on some ascending scales e.g

e|--------------------------------5-7-8---------------------|
B|--------------------------5-6-8---------------------------|
G|-------------------4-5-7----------------------------------|
D|-------------3-5-7----------------------------------------|
A|-------3-5-7----------------------------------------------|
E|-3-5-7----------------------------------------------------|
   d h h d h h d h h d h h  d h h d h h
Now that we've got that under the knee let's look at a more advanced version of hammer-on's These can be referred to hammering on from nowhere. this will come in handy for some styles of tapping.
e|----------------------------------------------------------|
B|----------------------------------------------------------|
G|--------------------------9-----10------------------------|
D|-----9-----10------12---7-----9------and so on until------|
A|---7-----9------10----5-----7--------top------------------|
E|-5-----7------8-------------------------------------------|
   h h h h h h  h h  h  h h h h h  h
   1 2 4 1 2 4  1 2  4  1 2 4 1 2  4
I know what you're thinking: "I want to tap, That's why I'm reading this lesson" I'm going to start writing the part 2 now. Just put it in parts to make it simpler to learn one technique at a time.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    mity88
    Cool,keep em coming,im interested in actualy learning to tap properly!
    Thomas Vela
    wow your article is flawless. that was great, except for the van halen part. tapping started far before then. but he did popularize it. thanks for the help, ima read your other ones too
    slz.mtarek
    Thanks for the lesson, easy and fun to practice, i do something and i don't know if it's right or not, when i descend a scale pulling notes offs, i prefer to pull off upwards so it helps me reaching the upward string fast in no time, you think this is right ??