Finger Tapping

Want to know how to finger tap but cant get round those tricky riffs, here i will break them down and give tips along the way.

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Probably the second hardest technique on guitar, only just losing to Sweep Picking. Well in my opinion anyway. So lets focus on different styles of fingertapping for example, 1 handed fingertapping ( or hammer-on as it is commonly known).

1 Handed Fingertapping (Hammer-on)

I doubt any of you reading this will not know what a hammer on is but ill cover it anyway. Here is a simple, or very simple for some of you just to run over this.
e||--------------------------------2h4h5-------------------------------||
B||--------------------------2h4h5-------2h4h5-------------------------||
G||--------------------2h4h5-------------------2h4h5-------------------||
D||--------------2h4h5-------------------------------2h4h5-------------||
A||--------2h4h5-------------------------------------------2h4h5-------||
E||--2h4h5-------------------------------------------------------2h4h5-||
Even if you can do this perfectly still run over it as it can also be used as a warm up or used to strengthen your fingers.

2 Handed Fingertapping

This is a very hard technique to master but once you do, the skies the limit. The first thing you should master is getting your hands to work together in time. Hears a simple one from the beggining of the solo of Metallica-One. Keep you first finger on the 12 fret, use your right hand to tap the 19 fret, then your third finger on your left hand to hammer on.
e||--19p12h15-19p12h15-19p12h15-19p12h15--||
B||---------------------------------------||
G||---------------------------------------||

e||--20p12h15-20p12h15-20p12h15-20p12h15--||
B||---------------------------------------||
G||---------------------------------------||

e||---------------------------------------||
B||--19p12h15-19p12h15-19p12h15-19p12h15--||
G||---------------------------------------||

e||---------------------------------------||
B||--20p12h15-20p12h15-20p12h15-20p12h15--||
G||---------------------------------------||
It takes a while to be able to play synchronised with both hands, so I actually mean it when I say Practise makes perfect. Once you can play it, try to build up the speed until you can play along with the song. don't get disheartened however as it will take time and this is one of the techniques that, after about a week of practise, it will suddenly come to you.

Harder Things

Lets try something harder, that requires you tapping different strings instead of just the one. Many probably may know this, and it is a medium one, but a good song to start up with. The Tapping intro to Roses for the dead by Funeral for a Friend. Use your left hand to tap the 9 & 7, 3 & 5 and the 5 & 7.
e||---------------------------------||
B||---------------------12----------||
G||------12---11-------------11>12--||
D||----7-----------12---------------||
A||--9------9----9----9----9--------||
E||---------------------------------|| X2

e||---------------------------------||
B||---------------------12----------||
G||------12---11-------------11>12--||
D||----5-----------12---------------||
A||--3------3----3----3----3--------||
E||---------------------------------||

e||---------------------------------||
B||---------------------12----------||
G||------12---11-------------11>12--||
D||----7-----------11---------------||
A||--5------5----5----5----5--------||
E||---------------------------------||
Again it will take a while to be able to play this without hitting two notes together as you need to work on synchronising your hands. Another tip is to practise stricking strings with your fingers to get used to the feel of it and to strengthen your fingers.

Harder Still

Harder Still? Yes. Crack this and you can safely say that you've pretty much cracked finger tapping, however I will cover some more aspects after. Again most of you will know this tapping riff. Buckethead-Jordan. There are two riffs. Riff one: Use your left hand only, essential if you want to play it properly as you will need to use a kill switch. Riff Two: use your first and second fingers on your left hand for the first two strings and whatever finger on your right. Riff One
e||--------------------------------------||
B||--------------------------------------||
G||--------------------------------------||
D||--------------------------------------||
A||----------------------------10-12-10--||
E||--12p0-12p0-12p0-12p0-10-12-----------||
Riff Two
e||------------------------16----17----------18--------||
B||------------------16--15----16------17--17------18--||
G||------------16--15--14----15------16--16------17----||
D||------16--15--14----------------15----------16------||
A||----15--14------------------------------------------||
E||--14------------------------------------------------||
 
e||------------------------19----20----------21--------||
B||------------------19--18----19------20--20------21--||
G||------------19--18--17----18------19--19------20----||
D||------19--18--17----------------18----------19------||
A||----18--17------------------------------------------||
E||--17------------------------------------------------||
     | | |
     1 2 X
1 - first finger left hand 2 - second finger left hand X - Whatever finger right hand

Cross Hand Tapping

Not a concept I focus on too much so I don't know much about it, only the basics. It is done by barreing your right hand accros the strings behind your left hand and then tapping with your left hand. The onlt artist I can think of who uses this concept is john 5 so check out some of his songs. Example-My own Composition
e||--2-------------------------------------------------------------------||
B||--2-------------------------------------------------------------------||
G||--2------8-----8---------8-----8---------6-----6---------6-----6------||
D||--2----9-----9-----9---9-----9-----9---7-----7-----7---7-----7-----7--||
A||--2--7-----7-----7---7-----7-----7---5-----5-----5---5-----5-----5----||
E||--2-------------------------------------------------------------------||
     |
     Hold you right hand accross second fret

Sweep Picking Tapping

Very hard because you need to master sweep picking first, which is hard enough without mastering tapping. This also requires a lot of speed so it's best to try this once you have mastered this and most other techniques.
e||-----------------12H17P12-----------------||
b||--------------14----------14--------------||
g||-----------14----------------14-----------||
d||--------14----------------------14--------||
a||--12H16----------------------------16P12--||
E||------------------------------------------||
Use your right hand to tap the seventeenth fret inbetween playing.

Simple Exercises

Here are a few simple riffs I have made up for the lesson, your welcome to use them however you wish. Although I doubt you will as there not the best.
e||--9p7h10p7h9p7h10p7h9p10h12p10p7h9h10h12p10p7h9p7~--||
B||----------------------------------------------------||
G||----------------------------------------------------||
Uses your first finger to hold down on the seventh fret and your second and third to hammer-on and pull-off, and your right hand to tap the twelth fret.
e||-------------------------------------------------------------------||
B||--7p4-7p4-7p4-7p4-8p4-8p4-8p4-8p4-7p4-7p4-7p4-7p4-8p4-8p4-8p4-8p4--||
G||-------------------------------------------------------------------||

e||---------------------------------------------------------------------------||
B||--10p5-10p5-10p5-10p5-8p5-8p5-8p5-8p5-10p5-10p5-10p5-10p5-8p5-8p5-8p5-8p5--||
G||---------------------------------------------------------------------------||
Use your first finger on your left hand to hold down either the fourth or fifth fret and your right hand to tap either the seventh, eigth and tenth frets. Well, I Think you can safely say your now pretty good at tapping if you've got this far so well done. Keep Tapping.

38 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    jhonny 1082
    i dont thhink im doin it right,wen i tap i can barley hear it(and yes i have my amp on,i have it on 2)
    ultrasonic
    youll need to give it some distortion though, turn on full gain, full treble, and overdrive, best way to start, as you dont need to tap hard to hear it, but be careful when you turn on the amp, so dont have the volume anywhere near full, keep it at 0, turn on the amp, then move it up slowly, overwise it will break your ears
    derpdragon
    im kinda following this and all but im not quite getting how to tap with out a root note, i mean from the tapping definitions iv gotten its hammer ons and pull offs using your picking hand as well, but how do you only tap 1 note at a time?
    ultrasonic
    Er do you mean for example playign a riff, then tapping one note, or something else entirely?
    jhonny 1082
    im sorry i forgot to put i have it on full everything and overdrive and it still sounds like shit
    xXxblack_ninja
    Shread_6009 wrote: a band that uses loads of advanced tapping is "protest the hero", lots of "van halen" tapping as well as greg howe "hammerons from nowhere" stuff ( i.e. the "bridge" licks in "bloodmeat")
    they are such a sick band
    DimeOFlage420
    hey man looks like a sick ass lesson....cant check it out right now cause its like 230 in the morning but ill sure as hell do so tomorrow though...ive been playin for 7 years but mainly rhythm guitar...never any lead stuff soloing and whatnot...but i got my Dime-O-Flage back in October and started getting into that shit...today i was watching some Kirk Hammett videos on youtube and saw some bits of tapping and it reminded me how ****ing awesome he is and inspired me to plug in and try a little tapping...so i did and it was cool cause i actually did it...that led to me wanting to learn more about it and further my skills on my axe, so thanks a lot man...
    leonk70
    great lesson, cant play it right now cuz im at school but i will definitely be using this for practice.
    sanelli
    AMAZING TAB ive been playing for about 3 years and never done tapping before it was great help!!!! good work
    ultrasonic
    :| hmmmmm well if you have it on full everything you may need to turn the bass and middle very low, but high treble, have it on the bridge pickup, full tone and push the selector switch right down towards the bridge. ! If that doesnt work then im sorta stumped
    jhonny 1082
    OK,it probably was my guitar because i was using a strat but it sounds better on my paul,but u can here the first tap.is that normal or...
    colin09
    i dunno, im told the cheesewire o caster is the best in the buisness.
    ultrasonic
    Er...Good Question, Well You could use a pick but it would be very hard and you would have to have an extremely long and hard to play, hence why it is considered as tapping. As for playing it, you strike the note with your finger, you can pull off if you want ( on to open string ) or you can keep your finger on there till the next note change up to you.
    SpencerE20
    A really fun tapping song to learn is "Smile In Your Sleep" by Silverstein but yeah.. this was a pretty good lesson.. but i wished you would have put those (T)s in there for where you're supposed to tap or a (H) or somethin.. but its okay.. but thanks. peace
    mattmuffler
    so i'm kinda confused. with the roses for the dead one do you just hit the string with your finger. like in the tapping exercises that you had first, there was always something to pull or hammer onto. like 19p12h15 but with the roses one its like you could just pick it... help? but otherwise thanks heaps man, its pretty gud!!
    Madmage
    I really liked this lesson.I have been playing guitar for several years and i have "mastered" practically every sclae known to man,but i never got tapping till' now thanks alot man
    ultrasonic
    Are you sure, if you mean its played like this then you are wrong, listen to it and you will see e||-----| B||-----12-----| G||-----12-----11-----11 >12--| D||----7-----7-----7-12---7-----7-----| A||--9----- 9-----9-----9-----9-----| E||-----| you only play the seventh on the first one, this is wrong, that is right
    sy420
    a good lesson but i had some trouble a little bit but all and all it was good
    Shread_6009
    a band that uses loads of advanced tapping is "protest the hero", lots of "van halen" tapping as well as greg howe "hammerons from nowhere" stuff ( i.e. the "bridge" licks in "bloodmeat")
    colin09
    i can do the lot with my toes while handcuffed+blindfold!!! right ok enuf stupid comments for one day!
    colin09
    do not try this lesson, you are actually tapping in a code to activate a very nasty guitar trojan which is almost impossible to get rid of, it slows your performance considerably and no matter what you play the virus changes it too the "smoke on the water" riff, it has completly ****ed my brand new custom made squire cheesewire o caster.
    colin09
    gtosteve65 needs help to learn how to get an erection??? wrong site m8
    colin09
    i had nearly mastered the really hard tapping when my BRAND NEW axe started leakin green slime. DONT PLAY IT!!!!
    yaaarp
    You should have put a T above the right handed tapped notes to make it less confusing. Other than that, great lesson and fun exercises.
    gtosteve65
    if anyone can help me learn eruption in less than 6 months please tell me i dont want to shave my head and i have only been playin for a year so lots of help needed!!
    BodaciousBob
    Good lesson however i feel you really should have used the T above the tapped notes in the tabs to make it easier to follow as i had difficulty. Look at Michael Angel Batio for cross hand tapping. I feel you should have mentioned tapped harmonics maybe referencing people like Any McKee and Erik Mongrain. Also should have included Eruption.