We’re keen to see those fin­gers strong and in com­mand, so this month Char­lie Grif­fiths works on the tap­ping strength of your three weak­est pick­ing-hand fin­gers.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Char­lie Grif­fiths taps with fin­gers 2,3 & 4

Most of us have dab­bled in the clas­sic Ed­die Van Halen tap­ping method, us­ing one of our pick­ing-hand fin­gers to ham­mer and pull off notes on the higher frets, es­sen­tially ex­tend­ing the le­gato tech­nique be­tween two hands to cre­ate licks that wouldn’t other­wise be pos­si­ble. Although EVH will al­ways re­main the king of tap­ping, the tech­nique has evolved over the decades to utilise more than one fin­ger from the pick­ing hand. Mul­ti­ple-fin­ger tap­pers such as Kiko Loureiro, Jen­nifer Bat­ten, TJ Helmerich, Chris Brod­er­ick and Ron Thal have used all eight dig­its to great ef­fect. This month’s ex­am­ples will work on strength­en­ing the stamina and im­prov­ing the ac­cu­racy of your pick­ing-hand fin­gers with five licks. The ex­am­ples start off rel­a­tively sim­ply, with an ex­er­cise to help build stamina in your sec­ond fin­ger and grad­u­ally in­tro­duces the third and fourth for some more chal­leng­ing licks.

A lot of pick­ing-hand tap­ping re­lies on good fret­ting-hand tap­ping and string mut­ing. This means ham­mer­ing on to a fresh string ‘from nowhere’ to ini­ti­ate the note. The lick shown in Ex­am­ple 3 uses this tech­nique and is based around the A mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic scale (A-C-D-E-G), which should be a fa­mil­iar shape to you de­spite the string-skipped ar­range­ment. First ham­mer-on to the 5th fret with your first fin­ger and simultaneously mute the other five strings with the un­der­side of your fin­ger and the side of your pick­ing hand. You can use any bit of fin­ger or hand you have in order to si­lence those idle strings, so ex­per­i­ment with what feels most com­fort­able. Once you have ef­fec­tive mut­ing in place, it makes adding those pick­ing-hand taps a lot eas­ier.

The first ex­am­ple is a sec­ond fin­ger tap, which is a good way of in­creas­ing stamina as it starts with a sin­gle tap and in­creases in rate with each re­peat. The tap­ping tech­nique is just the same as a fret­ting­hand ham­mer-on. When prac­tis­ing, fo­cus on ac­cu­racy to pro­duce a clear, crisp note rather than us­ing force as you will get tired quite quickly. Ex­am­ple 2 is our first in­tro­duc­tion of tap­ping with the third and fourth fin­gers. This may feel un­nat­u­ral at first but with prac­tise your fin­gers will learn where the string is. Ex­am­ples 3 and 4 are string-skipped licks us­ing the sec­ond, third and fourth fin­gers to tra­verse the fifth, third and first strings with­out hav­ing to move the whole hand. The tapped notes fit within the A mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic scale and are played an oc­tave higher than the fret­ting-hand notes. Ex­per­i­ment with mov­ing your tap­ping hand around the scale to cre­ate dif­fer­ent melodies.

The fi­nal ex­am­ple is the most chal­leng­ing as it in­volves two suc­ces­sive pick­ing hand ham­mer-ons per string. At first try tak­ing your fret­ting hand out of the equa­tion and fo­cus­ing on your tap­ping hand un­til your fin­gers can find the strings more nat­u­rally, then try com­bin­ing your two hands.

when prac­tis­ing, fo­cus on ac­cu­racy to pro­duce a clear note rather than us­ing force as you will get tired quite quickly

De­vel­op­ing strength in your weak­est tap­ping dig­its

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