Fret Tapping 101

Hey everyone, its time for some fret tapping… insane guitar style. But, first, before the cool stuff we have to touch the basics. So what is fret tapping some of;you may ask? Well, take your middle finger on your picking hand (you can use your index finger too, I just find the middle easier and more efficient) and hammer it on; to the 12th fret on the high E string. I bet you never even thought that you could do that right? That was my first reaction when my guitar teacher was playing a Van Halen solo for me and all of the sudden he whips his right hand up and starts doing all this crazy stuff with both hands. I’m going… wow, this is insane, I’ll never be able to do that. WRONG. Fret tapping is one of the easiest techniques and it is a lot of fun too.

OK, now you know sort of how to do it. We will start really simple. The “T” in the tablature means tap that note with your middle finger on your picking hand. Basically hammer the 12th fret hard with that middle finger, then give it a little jerk off the string to produce a pull off. Congratulations, your on you way to becoming a tapping mad man now.


Ok, now were going to up the ante. Its time to incorporate a little left hand work into tapping. Try this lick now.


Once you get licks like that up to speed you will be on your way. Now its time to incorporate some some different strings. Here’s a more advanced variation of that last lick.


Now here is a really cool tapping lick. This is a great example of how to incorporate tapping over cord progressions.


OK, now that you have the basics, its time to increase the skill. Remember, there are a million different ways and patterns for tapping. Experiment!! Now for the hard stuff. This next lick is a good example of adding slides into tapping.


Here is taking sliding to the extreme. 100% max speed on one string. Execute as fast as possible….and remember the 3 C’s… CLEAN! CLEAN! CLEAN!!


Now lets add more than one finger. Multiple finger tapping. Use what ever fingers work best for you, and remember, the thumb is fair game. This is a tapped pentatonic scale.


Time for a legato lick with tapping.


What? Did some one say it’s time for some sweeping sequenced arpeggios and; tapping? I think so. Check it. Start slow, work up to speed. This is a killer lick. One of my favorites. I conjured it up after listening to “Intro” off Michael Angelo’s “No Boundries” CD.


Did you like that? I hope so. If that lick doesn’t keep you up all night practicing, this next concept will. Throw out your pick. Were going 100% two handed. This is one pain in the you know what technique. The goal is to play cord progressions ( or walking jazz guitar lines ) with your left hand, and tear it up with your right hand soloing.

Unfortunately I’m not that great at this so I can’t tab anything out for you. I can only open your mind to the possibilities. I can kind of do this, but I am no expert. In the left you want to keep a solid type of progression going. This requires an ultra strong left hand. Hammering one whole barre cords is NOT EASY!!!! Especially trying to make EVERY NOTE come out strong. You can also do fragments of cords.

When trying jazz progressions, try hammering on Dominant triads (“Kernel Cords”) with passing tones, neighboring tones, etc. to transition you between cords. With your soloing hand you can do long legato runs, do arpeggios, hit double stops… etc. The possibilities are endless. To develop a strong right hand, Practice running up and down scales and arpeggios. It is hard to get a really solid right hand. It will take a long time, but after a while, you will be tearing it up! Have fun, I hope I’ve opened you up to something you never thought of.