Ever since Edward Van Halen blew everyone’s minds back in 1978 with his fretboard tapping tour de force, “Eruption,” guitarists have looked to master and expound upon this trailblazing technique.
Tapping allows guitarists to play at breathtaking speeds and perform melodic phrases that would otherwise be impossible. This month, I’d like to expand on the basic fretboard tapping approach by utilizing multiple taps with different fingers of the pick hand.
A tap is performed by hammering onto a note with a fingertip of the pick hand, such as the index or middle finger. After the tap, the finger then “pushes off” of the string to sound a lower note, fretted conventionally.
In FIGURE 1, I begin by placing my pick-hand middle finger on the high E string’s 10th fret and using the finger to get the string ringing by pushing off and sounding an A note (this is known as a “silent tap/pull-off”), fretted at the fifth fret with the index finger of my fret hand. I then hammer my ring finger on to the C note at the eighth fret and reapply the 10th-fret tap, sounding the D note. The entire sequence then repeats. Instead of starting with the silent tap/pull-off, I can also sound the tap at the 10th fret as the first note in the sequence, as shown in FIGURE 2.
Another common version is one popularized by Randy Rhoads, wherein two taps are applied within the phrase, as demonstrated in FIGURE 3. The tap/release is performed twice, followed by the double pull-off from C at the eighth fret to A at the fifth fret.
One can expand on the standard tapping technique by using more than one tapping finger. In the next five examples, I