Shred Guitar Lesson 09. Computer Tapping

I will explain to you what computer tapping is. I will also give you examples of how build strength in the fingers on your picking hand in order to perform this technique. No scale in this lesson.

Ultimate Guitar
Hey guys and gals. In this lesson I will explain to you what computer tapping is and how you can apply to arpeggios and inside scales. It is a precursor to eight finger tapping, which we will cover in the next lesson. There will be no scale in this lesson, because I feel like the last scale would be suited for eight finger tapping more instead of computer tapping. I hope you enjoy this lesson and learn a little something. Let's get right into it. Ok. Computer tapping. What is it? No, it's not where you "type" randomly on the fretboard to make weird sounds, as a fellow UG member asked me. Computer tapping is where you use two fingers on your picking hand to tap on the fretboard. Usually it is used to skip over a string or wide interval. Some of you may be asking "So, it's just 6-finger tapping?" Not really. Because of the wide interval skips, computer tapping is more about the sound rather then the technique, but I thought I should share it with you anyway. The way I perform the technique is to mute the other strings with my palm and use my palm as a type of anchoring point. I find it easier to perform the technique than just holding your hand over the strings. I picked up the technique from a guitarist named Paul Wardingham. He has a lesson on YouTube called "Future Metal Shred." It is a great lesson. Go check it out. In that lesson he explains a little about the sound of computer tapping. It sounds futuristic if used in the right context. You may perform the technique with or without a pick, but I will show you the tabs without the use of a pick to prepare you for eight finger tapping. The first thing I will do is give you a simple exercise you can use to build strength in your picking hand fingers. It will technically be eight finger tapping, but I thought you guys could get a head start on the strength needed to perform eight finger tapping. You're not going to use any fingers on your fretboard hand. I will put the fingers you use for this exercise below the line of tab. It will be a pedal note lick, just to be simple. Here it is: I=Index finger M=Middle finger R=Ring finger P=Pinky finger Ex. 1
   I  M  I  R  M  P  R  M  I  P  
I realize that the tab may be slightly difficult to read due to all the "T"'s, but hopefully you can read it. Also work on that stretch between your picking hand fingers. It will help in the long run. Next, one of the most obvious things to do would be to add in fingers on your other hand. This is going to use the more traditional computer tapping technique of using just two fingers on your picking hand. This exercise is to get used to coordination between left hand and right hand tapping. It will force your hand to go into a more linear position on the fretboard. It will use four fingers in all and it will be more of an arpeggio. Here it is: Ex. 2
         I  P  I        
It might be short, but it will help coordination and strengthen the way you hold your picking hand when computer tapping. Every time I play this example my hand naturally goes into the metal devil horns, so that's a bonus. \m/ In the next exercise I will give you an example of a string skipped type of arpeggio that will get you used to the more traditional way of computer tapping. It will be like a 5th interval arpeggio I discussed in "Creative Shred Ideas 03. Putting It All Together" lesson. Here it is: Ex. 3
         I  R  I        
Now, those first three exercises were just to get used to the technique. Since computer tapping is mostly about the sound of the technique here is an example that uses computer tapping to really drive the sound home. Ex. 4
         I  R  P  R  I         I  P  M  
That's the sound I usually like to get whenever I use computer tapping. As a little side note: I sometimes use computer tapping whenever I have a tap-slide. My reasoning behind this is that I tend to release pressure on the string whenever I slide so it sounds muffled. I'm sure many of you might have this problem, so that's just a bit of advice if you have trouble with a tap-slide. Anyway, back to the original info. I look up to Paul Wardingham so I really love his sound style when using computer tapping, but I evolved the technique to fit my own style. You can use whatever type of sound when doing this. I tend to go for more of an "arpeggio-skippy" kind of sound. I can't believe that's how I described it. Paul has a tendency to use it in an "arpeggio all-over-the-place-spacey" kind of sound. This last example is a lick I wrote in the style of Paul Wardingham that encompasses his style. I was originally going to use it in one of my songs, but I wanted to evolve my own sound instead of copying what he does. This lick might be a bit long, but I still enjoy playing it. There is no picking at all in this lick. It is all hammer-ons and pull-offs. Here you go: Ex. 5
         I  R        I        I  R        I        I  R       I      

   I  R      I  
At that point I just like to repeat the lick. I hope you have an understanding of how to perform the technique as well as to know the type of sound it should create. In the next lesson I will cover full on eight finger tapping. I will also show you the last scale in our key of E minor. I've strayed a bit from the key of E minor, but it will be back in the next lesson. Make sure you play the notes clearly and evenly when computer tapping. Make sure you get the handle of moving your fingers like this as they are not used to moving like that. Also I highly recommend you check out Paul Wardingham's album "Assimilate Regenerate." It is a futuristic shred masterpiece. Don't forget to rate and comment on this lesson and check out my demo of "Red Skies." Until the monster of a next lesson, see ya.

42 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I can't believe you just made a "computer tapping" lesson without even mentioning BUCKETHEAD!
    1:41 - the one and only "computer tapping".
    Wow. I've never actually watched a Buckethead video or seen him play before. I'm really glad I clicked on this lesson now, that was awesome.
    God, that was terrible! to quote Bob Brozman (rip) "if you wanna attract men, practice speed, if you wanna attract women, practice rythm", good night
    His playing on this video was better than ever, too bad that the low sound quality spoils everything...
    I don't fully agree with that quote but after finally watching Buckethead I'm massively disappointed
    Buckethead is a good example but im not that big of a fan of his.
    It doesn't really matter if you're not a fan. Buckethead, along with Shawn Lane, really helped with developing and popularizing this technique in a big way. Not mentioning them would be like writing about two handed tapping without Eddie Van Halen, use of Wah pedal without mentioning Jimi Hendrix, black metal without Mayhem, melodic style banjo playing without mentioning Bill Keith, dunking from the foul line without mentioning Julius Erving, evolution without Charles Darwin, the American Revolution without George Washington, modern communism without Karl Marx, etc just because you aren't big fans of them, would you? No, you certainly wouldn't. Also: -Emmett Chapman should have definitely been mentioned for his role in the development of this technique. Actually, there was absolutely no mention of anyone other than that one guy you kept talking about. -Video or audio examples should have also been included, even if it was just a goofy sounding MIDI file. -There is also no mention of what you are doing in terms of theory. You really should mention what sort of chords, chords, keys, etc you are outlining or utilizing with each example. Simply pointing out that there is a use of a fifth at one point is not adequate. You really shouldn't have a lesson on any sort of technique, genre, etc without those three things.
    You know, you CAN write an article about something without mentioning every single person that was ever involved in it. He wrote an article about Paul Wardingham's style, it doesn't matter who Wardingham was influenced by as long as he gets the point across. By your logic every single article about any style of music should reference J.S. Bach since he laid most of the groundwork of Western music. Also, he mentioned the technique simply involves wide intervals, so why does he NEED to include the theory? If the only prerequisite for computer tapping is wide intervals, then what does it matter in which key they are in? Also, what kind of guitarist can't figure out the chords and intervals outlined on their own? Why should anyone need to tell you what the notes are if theory is not the point of the technique? Stop being an elitist prick.
    How is mentioning several people that were instrumental (no pun intended) in the development of something "mentioning every single person involved in it" exactly? Again (again) read that ridiculous list of examples. Only mentioning some guy from Youtube that isn't even particularly well known (and doesn't have any historical contributions to the subject matter) doesn't really cut it. You wouldn't write an article on sweep picking and only talk about JB Brubaker from August Burns Red just because you like his style. Your analogy is also horrendous because Bach was not be relevant to anything if he was not related to this specific area. If you were talking about the composition of fugues, than sure, he would be relevant. On the other hand, every name I have dropped has been highly important to that specific area. And you can't really justify by saying that it's about that one guys style since, again, he hasn't made major contributions to the technique and nothing in this lesson is particularly specific to him. It also doesn't mention anywhere that this lesson is specifically supposed to be about that guy's style. The whole point of using techniques in music is to... make music. Without explaining why you are doing what you are doing, it's simply using a technique to randomly play fast a bunch of fast notes, and there is almost no point in learning a technique if you can't apply it to anything other than just trying to play random notes for the sake of playing random notes. Theory is certainly relevant to any technique. There are plenty of guitarists that wouldn't be able to figure out the chords on their own. If you are expecting everybody to automatically know all of the theory, why not expect them to know about every technique as well? I mean, anybody can just decide to hammer-on notes on different strings with both hands. :rollesyes: There are also more complex things involved with this anyway. The idea of teaching a lesson is to help somebody that doesn't understand a concept to understand it. People aren't just going to magically know the author's intent by looking at a few examples. This is such a basic concept that I don't even know why I even have to point it out. I have never seen a single decent lesson that explains any sort of licks or techniques without at least a basic explanation of the theory involved. Just check out more or less any similar thing from any sort of guitar magazine, any major Youtube instruction channels, any videos from clinics, etc. Also that's a real nice ad hominem you have there. Why not just call me a stupid moron while you are at it? I mean, I could say. And I don't see how you can possibly justify making valid points about areas in which the article is lacking as making me "an elitist prick". Good day sir.
    Clinics and guitar magazines cost MONEY, so of COURSE they are going to have more content. This is s FREE article on the internet. It's nothing more than the equivalent to some guy walking into a room and going "hey, check out these licks" and showing you how to play them. He's not obliged to explain them since he's SHOWING YOU THEM FOR FREE. I swear, I don't even know how people DO free lessons when they have to deal with dicks like you. "OH, THIS IS NOT A GOOD ENOUGH FREE LESSON FOR ME, I DEMAND BETTER QUALITY IN MY FREE LESSONS." It's f*cking free, if you want to learn more about the technique or figure out the theory, do it your damn self or contact the lesson-giver and offer to pay him for a more in-depth lesson. Don't bitch at him that he's not following some unwritten rule of free internet journalism. Do you go to the supermarket and eat the free samples then bitch about how it was not a full meal? Poor Jacob goes out of his way to put out 9 free lessons, not even promoting himself or asking anything in return and what does he get for it? Bitched at by a bunch of angsty journalism majors? Why should he bother putting out free lessons then? People like you are the reason Tom Hess exists.
    Look mate, if you are just going to keep casually throwing ad hominems and flawed analogies around without even thinking twice about it, I'm not even going to bother responding to you. Your tone is completely unacceptable for any sort of civilized discussion. Maybe you should go to your room (if you aren't already there) and think about what you've done and return later when you are ready to not be so hostile.
    The point of this 9 lessons so far is just to understand the technique. Theory will be explained later. I will have an entire series dedicated to theory. If you want a bit more theory you can check out my "Creative Shred Ideas" series.
    well I would I include him if I don't really know much about him? If I don't want to write about him who are you to tell me I should?
    It's objectively important to the lesson to include him. Again, see that ridiculous list of people. You wouldn't just not include those people because "[you] don't want to write about [them]". And if you didn't know about him, you could research him perhaps. If you're going to put the effort into writing a lesson, article, etc, you should make sure to do it properly rather than just throwing a couple of examples with little-to-no information to accompany it.
    what the **** do I care who invented it. I just want to play the technique. OK great... some dude with a KFC bucket on his head and a white mask made the technique... if anything that makes me NOT want to learn it...
    I suppose I could research him, but as I said I don't really like his style of playing so why would I? He's not a bad guitarist. He's just not my cup of tea. Plus I picked up the technique from Paul, so I wrote it about him. I shall take your lesson opinions into account however. Thank you for the feedback.
    On the VH song, Judgement Day I believe, Ed uses the computer tapping technique. Plus he had his patented guitar rest to have the guitar lay flat in front of him. Was a good start to this technique becoming usable in many ways.
    mfw Theo gets hate when he's correct. If you're going to write something up, be cohesive and actually make it worth reading.
    couldnt agree more, theo is absolutely correct, also glad to see someone knows something about valid arguements and or not, dont waste your time, and ours, writing a LESSON that provides no content about the topic of the lesson
    The topic is about the technique and the sound of it. I think i got that across pretty well. And if u didnt like te lesson then thts fine but im not forcing u to read so im not wasting your time. And i love writing lessons even if they happen to b not exactly wat u wanted so i dont think im wasting my time. Im sure someone found it to b informational.
    Keep it up fella , don't let the titheads grind you down , I've been playing for 25 years , will never master computer tapping (can't be arsed really) , I read what lessons I can and pick up what I can for fun because you can't teach an old dog new tricks . Don't worry about the critics , these guys do 2 things in life . 1. practice guitar in their bedroom till they are hot as shit . 2. Wank over crappy porn , the guitar playing just fills the gaps while they build up the next load . Now if they could get laid , or find a meaning in life .....
    I find it hard to believe that you have been playing for 25 years when your post reads like a 12 year old wrote it. Like I told that other rude guy, people aren't going to want to discuss if you're not going to behave like an adult.
    You know, theogonia777 did make some valid points and you should take them into consideration. Even if you're doing lessons for free, being able to get better at teaching will not only benefit the readers but yourself as well
    She did make some. And i said i will consider them. Its just more the way she presented her points that did it.
    Ohh the sad case bites , couldn't give a monkey's testicle if it reads like a 12 year old wrote it . I wasn't involved in any disscussion , just giving some moral support to a guy getting heckled for giving his time to something he enjoys . But hey , I can't match your long winded typing so you win the internet . And shhh .... tell your mom you spilled juice on your pillow , not jizz .
    me niether, but you have to admit his playing is impressive to say the least.. but ya i personally haven't heard any buckethead songs aside from nottingham lace that i like
    Am I going to be the first one here to say I genuinely disliked 80% of this video? I've always known OF buckethead and his KFC shit and all that. But can we be serious for a second? Most of what he's playing is absolutely horrible. Don't get me wrong ... his technique is well mastered ... but just cuz you know the technique doesn't make you good at composing music. I don't find him to be anything special at all (or atleast how special his reputation made him out to be). Also ... I can't get on board with a guy who has "KFC bucket" as something on his ryder.
    You obviously don't understand his style of playing then. He isn't a metal guitarist, he's experimental. Most of his music is supposed to sound incredibly bizarre and discomforting. He's much better at composing music than you realize, and it's probably because you've never heard of his more mellow songs. Try Golden Eyes or The Redeem Team for starters. Not everyone knows how to get into Buckethead's music.
    i like you theogonia777 your hardcore real. i thought about bucket head as son as i read the lesson title. rock n roll out there !
    change the name wheres the dam computer being tapped.last thing I tapped was a cheerleader