** As featured in issue 43 **
Welcome to the third instalment of my extreme shred column for guitar interactive magazine. In this column we are going to dive right into some two finger tapping or as I have seen it called before ‘bi-dextral’ tapping. Of course we could give it many names, but the main aim here is to add another finger to the tapping hand in order to add some extra notes to the 3-1-3 licks we have been working on in the last couple of issues.
If you have been following along with this series of columns then please feel free to dive right in with the video, write up and tab that accompanies this lesson. However, if you are new here I would thoroughly recommend looking back at the last two issues columns to get a foundational understanding of what I am aiming to share with you in this column. Like I have mentioned before, this column series is very technique based, I am not going to be going over foundational technique approach or delving too deep into the theoretical aspects of note choice. So please use your knowledge alongside the transcription of this lesson and video to gain greater understanding of the licks I am teaching here. And of course like always be sure to forget these licks as quickly as possible! “What!?” you may exclaim. What I mean by this is that I really feel it’s best for you to take away ‘concepts’ from technical ideas rather than taking them away verbatim (note for note) this way you can add your own personality to these ideas and with that mantra in mind, develop them into your own unique style that hopefully separates you from all the thousands of guitarists out there!
I understand some readers may have not tried doing two finger tapping before, so let’s take a quick look at what it means. I like to tap with my middle (rude) finger. Tapping this way means I can keep the pick between my thumb and index finger. This makes it easier to integrate tapping with other techniques that are pick or hybrid picking orientated. To do a double tap I simply use my ring (wedding) finger, I tuck it behind the middle finger so the lower bone/knuckle area acts as a support to the third finger. As you can see in the video, I demonstrate this position as a ‘karate kick’ motion. You can either flick the third finger towards the floor (which as I write, that’s what I do now) or flick it up towards the inside of your palm to get the pull off (what I do in the video)…I am changing this technique as I go. Flicking up towards the palm kinda makes sense as it’s a mirror of the same direction your fretting hand would go with a pull-off. However this can disturb other strings, so flicking away (a la Guthrie Govan) gives a cleaner sound when executed properly. At the end of the day it’s up to you! No real right or wrong, just what feels good…Start slow however and make sure you are keeping the timing even as I explain in the clip.
This example is based around an Amaj9 arpeggio, except it’s not…as we are adding more notes with the two finger tapping. The Amaj9 as I mentioned is more related to what’s happening with the 3-1-3 pattern in the left hand. The tapping hand is adding more extensions to these tones, diatonic to the key of A major/F# minor. We end the lick on the note F# to end a lick that actually after all this time was really implying an F#m11 arpeggio, what a twisted world we live in!
This example follows in much the same footsteps as example 1, however this time we are using a cool slide technique within the right hands two finger tapping sequence. We are now tapping with the middle finger, sliding up to the next note (in this case the next diatonic note in the key of F#m) and then letting the third finger tap another note. Effectively we end up with a three note pattern in the right hand leading to what you could call a 6-1 pattern…but knowing how we are naming patterns now it gets a bit crazy, and remember it’s about the actual musical value of this technique at the end of the day. Try it out with this lick and then be quick to experiment with it to work out how it can work for you in your own playing.
Ok so that brings me to the end of this column. I hope you dig some of the ideas that I am going through here. At this level of technique it really becomes a matter of taste and style. So like I mentioned before be sure to apply these licks into your playing in a way that suits your personal playing style and direction. I am playing these licks as fast phrases but there is no reason for them not to be slow phrases, played with a clean tone with chords etc. The world is your oyster…or something like that, I have never really understood that phrase…but you are free to do what you want with the concepts that I have shared with you this issue. Please be sure to tune into the next issue of Guitar Interactive Magazine for even more terrifying extreme shred chops!