Easy to learn Van Halen style tapping lick
Eddie Van Halen is often credited with being the most significant guitar player since Jimmy Hendrix. If this is true or not, is not the object of this article, but what is undeniably true is that he introduced the world to the fantastic technique of guitar tapping. He is credited with inventing this technique and even though this might not be totally true, he did popularise it and pioneered the technique for a long time. In this lesson I am going to show you an easy tapping lick, that will give you a better understanding of the fretboard, the theory behind the triads AND make you sound like Eddie Van Halen in the process. But before going into the actual lick, we need to get the basic techniques and elements of tapping down first.
When doing tapping on guitar both hands has to be involved in the process of muting. The fretting hand is muting the strings above the string you are tapping on and the picking hand on the other hand has to mute the strings below the string you are tapping on. This fretting hand muting is done by placing your first finger over over the strings and the picking hand muting is done by resting part of your palm on the strings below your fretting hand. See the movie below for specific details.
Hammer on’s and pull off’s
Hammer on’s and pull off’s or legato techniques as it is often called is applied by both hands in this specific lick. Ideally you should be able to do this with all fingers on both hands, but we will start with the little finger on you fretting hand and the second finger on your picking hand. Van Halen uses his first finger on his picking hand to do the actual tapping, but I find that for most people, the second finger is usually the strongest and most people are already using the thumb and first finger to hold the pick. Some people also store their guitarpick on the inside of their index finger while tapping. See video below for the actual technique.
Now for the actual lick.
The lick consists of two arpeggios. The first arpeggio is a minor arpeggio in first position (root note first) and the second one is a major arpeggio in second position (the third first). The idea is to change the arpeggio from majer to a major by moving one note only. This can then be moved all over the fretboard. On this picture I have outlined an E minor arpeggio consisting of E-G-B starting on the fifth fret on the B-string. By moving the tapping finger from the 12th fret to the 13th we get a C-major arpeggio in stead. This is outline in the second picture. The idea heres to move this chromatically up and down the fretboard. Listen to the lick played here:
The tapping technique takes a little time getting use to and at first it will feel like you are totally out of your element. It does take a little patience to really get this down, but once your hands get used to the movements being able to do it fast is not that hard. In order to really get it fast focus on moving your hands less and more effective. Fon’t focus on moving your hands fast as there is a natural limit to the speeds that this will give you. Before you know it, you will be tapping like Van Halen himself.
About the author: Janus Buch is a professional guitar teacher, trainer and coach who runs the Guitar Academy of Vejle, Denmark. If you are serious about your guitar playing progress and searching for the best value for money check Guitarlektioner Vejle .