Com­bine string bend­ing and tap­ping to cre­ate some fresh ideas and some cool re­peat­ing licks. Char­lie Grif­fiths is your Mr Fin­ger­tip!

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Char­lie Grif­fiths says pre­pare to aim a tap­ping finger with deadly accuracy, as he ex­pores the art of adding taps to string bends.

Com­bin­ing taps and bends is a great way to cre­ate smooth lines, which can sound quite atyp­i­cal for the gui­tar and are more akin to a pitch bend of a synth. To make your licks sound as great as pos­si­ble, they need to sound in tune so bend­ing accuracy is the most im­por­tant el­e­ment to get right here, so be aware of the size of the bend you are go­ing for. In the fol­low­ing ex­am­ples there are a mix­ture of tone bends and semi­tone bends. This re­quires a com­bi­na­tion of well con­trolled bend­ing tech­nique and and good ears.

Play­ers like Steve Vai, Ed­die Van Halen and Steve Lukather are well known for adding tapped notes to bends. It’s a great way to add ex­tra melody notes to your licks. Try hold­ing a bend, then tap­ping on to any fret above the one you’re bend­ing. The im­por­tant thing to re­mem­ber is that the pitch of the re­sult­ing tapped note de­pends on the amount the string has pre­vi­ously been bent. If you are bend­ing a tone with your fret­ting hand, then the tapped note will sound two frets higher than usual. If you have bent a semi­tone, then the tapped note will sound a fret higher than it usu­ally would.

A dis­torted tone is re­quired to al­low the notes to sing and sus­tain, but don’t be tempted to overdo the gain as this can sound messy. In any case you will need to use mut­ing to si­lence the un­used strings. Typ­i­cally, you can rest the side of your pick­ing-hand palm on the lower strings to keep them muted; lightly touch­ing the tre­ble strings with the un­der­side of your fret­ting fin­gers should keep them un­der control too.

To open up all of your tapped note op­tions, you will ben­e­fit greatly from learn­ing your scales along the string, rather than in the typ­i­cal scale po­si­tions. Ex­am­ple 3 uses var­i­ous notes from the A Ma­jor scale, all played on the sec­ond string whereas Ex 4 is an ex­am­ple of D Mixoly­dian (D-E-F#-G-A-B-C) played along the length of the third string. There are a cou­ple of ways you can go about this. The first one is to learn the notes of the scale – for ex­am­ple A ma­jor (A-B-C#-D-EF#-G#) – and find those notes on the string. This is a great way of im­prov­ing your fret­board and scale knowl­edge. An­other op­tion is to look at the scale in terms of tones and semi­tones. For ex­am­ple, the Ma­jor scale is a se­quence of: tone-tone-semi­tone-tone­tone-tone-semi­tone. This op­tion makes sense when adding taps to pre-bent strings as keep­ing track of the off­set note names can be­come a lit­tle con­fus­ing.

Play through each ex­am­ple slowly and fo­cus on mak­ing the notes all sound nice and even; the tapped notes and fret­ted notes should all be the same vol­ume. Tim­ing is also im­por­tant and can be­come un­even when com­bin­ing both hands. Once you are com­fort­able, you can grad­u­ally speed up with the help of a metronome.


NEXT MONTH Char­lie in­ves­ti­gates odd me­tres and shows how to Solo in 7/8 time

Us­ing your pick­ing hand’s sec­ond finger is very pop­u­lar when tap­ping

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