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Two Hands Tapping

Hey, there! How you guys doing?
Before getting into the subject of this column, I´d like to comment two points of my last one.

When talking about the scales you can use over a C#m chord, I gave you 5 possibilities. The first of them was Bb
major. That´s wrong… the correct would be B. Although it was a simple mistyping,
I think I might correct that: it´s B major. (You can hear me playing B in the solo).

Many people e-mailed me saying “hey… it IS correct to say that the key is C#m”.

Sorry fellas, but IT IS NOT! Well, maybe it´s USUAL, but not CORRECT. The 7th in minor keys MUST be major.

Enough of that, let´s get into the new subject: TWO HANDS TAPPING!

Many people want to be able to use all of their fingers of the right hand, but most of them never acquire that. Here is how I think you must study:

  1. Before you use more than 1 finger at once, you have to be able to use all of them separately.
    (Believe me, you HAVE TO PRACTICE). So, take all that Van Halen stuff you got and play them with all of your
    fingers. Try to play Eruption with your 4th right hand finger and see what I´m talking about. Once
    you´re able to do that, go to the next step.

  2. I mean, remember those chromatic exercises? Ok… you will play them with your other hand. Can´t remember?
    No prob, here are the shapes:

    1234 2134 3124 4123
    1243 2143 3142 4132
    1324 2314 3214 4213
    1342 2341 3241 4231
    1342 2341 3241 4231
    1423 2413 3412 4312
    1432 2431 3421 4321

If you don´t know how to do it, each
number corresponds on a finger. Which means you must rest your hand on the neck
using your thumb as a pivot. Then you press each of the fingers at its time,
beginning in the 10th fret and going until the 17th. After
that, you can begin to practice scales, licks, etc… Of course you won´t be able
to play all of the licks you know with the right hand, but do your best. That
leads us to…

  • Combine both hands: Now it´s time use everything you acquired in both hands. Try to play a G major scale
    with both hands… like this:

    …or this:

    Use exactly the same finger positioning
    you´d use in the left hand for the right. Those are only suggestions, please
    don´t get bounded by these exercises. You can use it with every single scale and lick you know.

    So when you´re playing with the left hand, you´re using the right to
    And when you´re playing with the right, you use the left, like this.

    Now most of you guys must be rock/metal guitarists, which means you use a lot of distortion, right? That´s a problem
    when it comes to the study of tapping technique, but of course we can easily
    solve it: When you use distortion, the other strings will vibrate while you
    play. If you´re picking, that´s easy, you can use your picking hand´s palm to
    mute the strings you´re not playing. However, it´s impossible when you´re
    tapping. That´s why you have to use the hand you´re not playing. I mean, you´re
    not always playing BOTH hands at the same time, since the notes have to sound

    Notice I´m using mostly the first FINGER to mute the lower strings.

    Obviously, there will be times when you´ll be using both at the same time, but in 99% of the time, you won´t be using
    distortion, so don´t worry about that. Because of the vibrating strings problem,
    you´ll study the tapping technique differently from the picking. I mean, usually
    when you´re practicing picking, it´s better if you don´t use any distortion.
    However, in tapping, you MUST use lots of it, ´cause you have to make sure the
    other strings aren´t vibrating.

  • Play some piano stuff. Here is a little piano piece which a child who´s been studying piano for like 6
    months could easily play. That makes me wonder: Why couldn´t a professional
    guitarist? Here´s my suggestion for your first piano study:

    You might be asking: WHY THE PIANO? Well, it is an instrument which you use both hands to play the notes, and the tapping
    techniques tries to imitate a piano, that´s why. Also, you can use tapping to
    play some classical stuff. Try it with Bach´s Bourrée.

  • Create your own stuff. Now it´s time to CREATE. Since you´re using both of your hands, you can create some
    good counterpoints and play both voices. Also, you can play a song alone by
    yourself, like playing the harmony in the left hand and melody with the right.
    Check out some Stanley Jordan stuff (specially when he plays Stairway To Heaven,
    by Led Zeppelin) and see what I´m talking about. I´d like to hear what you did,
    so send me if you want.

  • Well, folks… that´s all for now. I´ll bring more complicated stuff in my next column. Feel free to contact me at

    Rock On!

    Bill Hudson plays guitar in The Supremacy (heavy metal/hard rock), teaches music and make clinics all around the world.
    Contacts: bill_hudsongtr@yahoo.com

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