How To Tap On The Guitar | Free Lesson

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How To “Tap” On The Guitar

Guitar Technique Lessons

What is Tapping?

Tapping techniques are used across many styles of music and in many different ways. Tapping is essentially using hammer-on and pull-off technique with your picking hand to make notes, rather than picking or strumming. Double tapping is using both hands to perform those hammer-ons and pull-off techniques simultaneously. 

It's used in everything from the rock styling of greats like Eddie Van Halen and Angus Young, to the acoustic styling of Andy McKee and Mike Dawes, to the modern prog styles of Tosin Abasi and Sarah Longfield.

Musical Example:

Using an example that wasn’t eruption by Eddie Van Halen would feel wrong. Watch him perform it live with his double tapping technique. 

There are three common categories:

  • Single Tapping
  • Double Tapping
  • Multi-finger Tapping


Featured Lesson

Ben Eller breaks down each part of learning how to tap in this lesson -- an oldie but a goodie:


Important takeaways from the lesson are:

  • What bad tapping sounds like (0:00)
  • Description of the motions needed for finger tapping (1:10)
  • What to do with your “picking” hand (1:24)
  • Any techniques that don’t work with your fretting hand won’t work with your picking hand. Tap down hard, and pull-off hard! (1:45)
  • Pull-off technique in picking hand (2:45)
  • Demonstration of tapping without proper muting (4:10)
  • Picking hand placement and muting techniques (4:20)
  • Mute every string above the one you are tapping (5:10)
  • Left hand muting on lower strings to clean up noise (6:47)


Multi-Finger Tapping

Not only can you tap with one finger on your picking hand, but you can use multiple fingers. Check out this advanced level lesson by Joel Hoekstra on multi-finger tapping. 

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