The last installment we talked about improving the synergy between the right and left hands in the context of traditional picking and fretting. This time I want to take it one step further and talk about some advanced tapping forms. I think the first time I heard two-handed tapping was when Eddie Van Halen used it in the beginning of "Mean Streets". I was blown away...I had absolutely no idea what he was doing. Now you hear many artists take advantage of this cool technique. Jeff Watson employs this technique in many of his solos. Greg Howe also uses it as an ingredient in his repertoire as well. Then you have Stanley Jordan, who took it many levels beyond what most rock guitarists have done.
I'm sure many of you can do the basic tapping moves so that's why I'm going to dive right into the more advanced stuff. I'm going to go over some cool tapped arpeggios, and also a bunch of two handed tapping exercises that have really helped me develop right and left hand independence.
The first three exercises are the tapped arpeggios. The left hand is fretting an arpeggio on a different part of the neck while the right hand taps (one finger) out the same arpeggio at a higher register. This technique is pretty hard in the beginning (at least is was for me) but when you get it clean and up to speed it'll sound great. I definitely advise the use of a metronome with these exercises to help mark progress and also for timing purposes.
(L=left hand, H=right hand, T=tap, P=pulloff)
These three exercises are sequences using both hands for tapping. All three essentially have the same tapping pattern but sound very different. The first being just a sequence in the key of G. The second is a cool contrapuntal exercise that is challenging because as the left hand is moving down the neck the right hand is moving up. The last one is a nice sounding diminished climb starting in Gmaj7. .
Finally for some more challenging technique, have a look at these three octave arpeggios. These can be a bit brutal at first, especially the Dim7 but they are a great way to quickly get up the neck and they sound pretty cool too.
When you get these patterns down, definitely go for three/four finger two hand tapping sequences. You can get some wild interval jumps and develop some unique phrasing. I hope you find these exercises helpful in your playing. Feel free to have a listen to a few clips off my CD "Wyrd" for examples of how to integrate these and previous exercises into your playing. Thanks for stopping by!
Greg Rapaport is a seven-string guitarist/bassist whose musical focus is a blend of instrumental progressive-metal and jazz-fusion. Greg has been on three tribute CDs (Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix - BHP Productions) and has released three critically acclaimed CDs. Greg is currently teaching in upper Westchester County NY.
His latest instrumental CD is entitled "Homunculus".
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