Tapping? Going beyond the old one string arpeggios


Tapping seems like a really interesting thing to include in the arsenal of ‘ways to play the next note.’ Some people do some pretty interesting things with multiple fingers from the right hand.

It’s not a technique I’ve really dug into aside from the old Van Halen one string arpeggio blast kind of thing.

Anybody here make use of tapping much?

Could point to any interesting resources on the subject to go beyond the standard techniques?

I’m thinking mainly for single note lines, although people like Yvette Young and Sarah Longfield do some pretty interesting chordal things with tapping. And there’s the whole acoustic polyphony thing, but that’s definitely a different ballgame.

Daniele Gottardo seems to do some interesting things with tapping and has some instructional material on it, maybe I’ll look into him more.


I got thinking about this because I transcribed this short Sarah Longfield lick here:

I think she says she does the two finger tapping thing because her pinky is super short and she just never got comfortable using it in runs.

My pinky is fine and I’m not that used to the two finger thing, so I re-arranged it for ‘one finger’ tapping, and otherwise hammer/pull and striking notes with normal fingerstyle in right hand. I also transposed it down a whole step so I could play it on my strat, which only has 21 frets.


In my early years I got into tapping as a result of major problems with picking. First time I ever saw tapping using more than one finger was in this MI ad in a Hot guitarist video. This single lick opened up a world of new ideas.

I was especially interested in the big arpeggios, chromatics and pentatonics that this technique enabled. This is an example of what I used to do.

(I already posted this video in another thread. Hope I’m not boring anyone.)


I’m not huge into tapping but I dabble once in a while. I like Michael Romeo’s tapping lines, he does a lot of 7th chords that require string skipping and he developed more chromaticism later on.


Good, do you also have a fast version? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Face melted!


Great playing @qwertygitarr!
I love tapping. My interest in 19th century piano music has inspired me to find more unorthodox fretboard shapes. Scott Mishoe is a real master of this, and I’d recommend buying both his tapping lesson packs (contact him through facebook!)
I have a love of writing lines WITHOUT a guitar. So I decide on the pattern I want, then write it into guitar pro in notation, then work out the fretboard positioning. It’s lead to some pretty crazy stuff. This is probably my favourite I’ve come up with.

I decided to add it to a song at 160bpm with 16th note triplets… that took a fair amount of practice!


I really like the way Herman Li combines sweeps with taps to extend the range of arpeggios, sounds like an 80s synth arpeggiator when you play it right.

It starts at about 3:20 in this song

Doing bends with taps like Vito Bratta is super cool as well
Uncle Ben has a really good lesson on this solo

Reb Beach does a lot of cool stuff with tapping as well


Reb Beach and Michael Romeo are my favourite tappers for sure. Romeo in particular uses his left hand to hammer on from nowhere and it sounds so smooth. This is probably a result of his tuning, string gauge and some compression at work.

One of my other favourite tappers is TJ Helmerich.

A few years back I discovered a Japanese player called Akihiko Onji who uses 8 finger tapping exclusively.


Not boring at all, but cut that string at the headstock, it will take your eye out! :grin:


Are you playing straight into that Cube amp?


That’s right! Just the cube with a bit of delay.


Sounds good!

I tried playing that piece you shared the tab for, it’s very difficult. If I had my guitar tuned down a whole step I would probably find it a bit easier.


Thank you!
Yeah I took MANY MANY hours getting this down. I just took it in 4 note chunks (see, I did listen to Troy! Haha!) I also wrote it deliberately with no open strings so I could use a hairband. I don’t want to worry about muting as WELL as all that tapping nonsense!


I don’t do a ton of tapping in my own stuff but I just remembered doing this little string skipper towards the end of one of my solos from the upcoming Gatekeeper record. I took this video the week before recording it last year. Nothing crazy but I was stoked that I was able to pull it off at all since it’s outside of my usual bag.


Yikes, took me a while to get back to this thread, but thanks for the cool links and resources.

@qwertygitarr that was a pretty killer clip, very clean and yeah the technique gives you smooth access to some much bigger intervals

@TheCount also very cool. I too like to pop things into GP and start moving note locations around to see what is playable in different ways…you can really utilize your strengths doing this.

@Dissonant_Timbres oooo yeah good old Dragonforce, haha! I don’t hear much about them these days. But I did always think they did a good job of putting shred stuff into fun, accessible music. That Vito Bratta solo is great, cool that it seems to be using tapping much more to get a certain articulation with larger intervals rather than just building speed on a fast run.

@aliendough that fusion stuff is cool too. You can get some really interesting, wide interval jazz type vocabulary going.

I can’t help but think that I big reason some of this tapping stuff isn’t more popular is just because of how it looks, hah. There’s something sort of counter-triumphant about the way the physical movement comes across in a performance, and I think the association with the hair metal stuff is hard to shake.

Anyway, inspiring stuff all, thank you. There’s a definitely a whole world in here. I also really like the idea that tapping even just a note here or there can help problem solve the arrangement of a line that is difficult to play or pick.

I arranged this keyboard part from Anomalie Beats for guitar and found tapping to be the most logical approach given the wide range and speed of the line.


Hi Jake, I’m late to the thread, but I’ll add that I find it interesting that for many of us, the “wow” of two-handed tapping hid the immediate utility of left-hand-only tapping as an alternative to other techniques. Your question is an interesting one as it begs the question, when is two handed musically essential? Thanks for exploring it.


I think tapping in conjunction with bending is super underrated. It’s a great effect because it can be used so subtly. One of my favorites is the little lick at the end of the Larry Carlton’s solo in Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne” at about 3:05.


Just getting into this Tapping technique- I’ve known it has existed for a long time but have just never attempted it. I love the liquid like Sound (much like a saxophone) that it produces- a nice contrast to the machine gun tone of Picking everything.

I’m starting with those Single String Triads/Arpeggios just using my middle finger to tap (currently tucking my pick in my index finger leaving the other 3 for available legato use).

Are there any technical videos or Instructionals (for purchase?) you guys have that show the proper hand/arm position when tapping (single and multi finger tapping)?

I’m aware that the actual technique is just Hammer Ons (from Nowhere) and Pull Offs (although there seem to be two approaches to Tapping Pull Offs, some do the standard method of curling the finger in, while others extend their finger and actually flick)


Here’s a great course from someone who uses tapping in a very unique way. I got this a while back it’s very well structured, almost like learning drum rudiments, it starts really simple and gets very complex. Recommended.


… and here’s a video showing him using the techinques in his own music, love this stuff, like Danny Elfman on guitar :slight_smile: