Introduction To Tapping




Hammer-on and Pull-off Review

Tapping is really no more than consecutive hammer-ons and pull-offs using left and right hand fingers. As you know from previous lessons, a hammer-on is achieved by "hammering" one of the left-hand fingers onto the string causing it to sound with no assistance from the right hand. Conversely, a pull-off is achieved by actually "plucking" the string with your left hand finger causing a fingered note (or the open string) below it to sound.

Tapping introduces the use of the right hand for both pull-offs and hammer-ons! Tapping eliminates the use of a pick and focuses on using the right and left hand fingers to sound all the notes played using hammer-on's and pull-off's.


Part One

  • Place the 1st or 2nd finger of your right hand above the 1st string at the 5th fret.
  • place your left hand 1st finger above the 1st string at the 2nd fret.
  • Start by hammering the right hand finger down onto 1st string (right behind the 5th fret bar) and then do a pull-off of the same finger to sound the 1st string open. The pull-off is demonstrated in this lesson (right hand) using an upward movement (towards the 2nd string) to "pluck" the note. This is because a downward movement may be awkward since your finger has a tendance to "fall off" the edge of the neck. If you're comfortable doing it that way, go for it. We feel it's smoother to use an upward (toward the 2nd string) movement.

Further Explanation Of The Right Hand Finger Movement

Your right hand finger uses more of a sideways movement to hammer on and pull off. Don't come straight down onto the string and try to pull straight up. Instead, hammer on and then, applying a little bit of upward pressure on the string allow your finger to slip off the string causing it to "pluck" much like pulling back the string on a bow to shoot an arrow. Be careful not to pull it too far though. Doing so will slow you down. Tapping is most effective as a rapid "flurry" of notes.

Part Two

After executing the hammer-on and pull-off with your right hand finger, hammer on with your left-hand 1st finger (2nd fret) and then pull off to the open 1st string. Then repeat the pattern. Work on keeping it steady and staying relaxed! Speed up gradually. That's all there is to this tapping thing! There is a mountain of pretty easy to execute but really cool-sounding tapping patterns and sequences. Make up some of your own. There are no rules, just what your ear might like to hear!


We used the A, G and D chords for the background track. This tapping exercise uses the A, F# and E notes. These notes repeated in the exercise fit the A, G and D chords. When you play along with the Practice track don't worry about following the tempo of the track, just concentrate on keeping the pattern of the exercise steady. You can gradually speed up as you get it under your fingers. Don't push it though! STAY RELAXED! The speed will come.



No audio files available for this lesson.