TWO-HANDED TAP­PING Up­tempo Texas blues

Tap­ping a Texas blues? A digit too far, surely? Paul Biela­tow­icz begs to dif­fer as he taps his way through a 12-bar to make SRV smile!

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Some­thing you won’t have been ex­pect­ing: Carl Palmer’s gui­tarist Paul Biela­tow­icz taps out a Ste­vie Ray-style up­tempo Texas blues!

This month we con­tinue our se­ries on two-handed tap­ping with a blues piece. As I write this, I’m pic­tur­ing dozens of blues purists shak­ing their heads in dis­ap­proval, but bear with me. While tap­ping isn’t usu­ally a tech­nique as­so­ci­ated with the blues, I hope you’ll agree there are plenty of cre­ative op­por­tu­ni­ties wait­ing to be ex­plored by adding an ex­tra digit here and there.

Gui­tarists of all styles and gen­res have been us­ing dig­its on both hands for years, and not just to play rock mu­sic. Al­lan Holdsworth used tap­ping to add ex­tra notes to his im­pos­si­bly stretchy chords, Vit­to­rio Ca­mardese pi­o­neered the tech­nique in the 60s with his ny­lon acous­tic mas­tery (check him out on YouTube), and Steve Hack­ett daz­zled 70s prog rock au­di­ences with his in­no­va­tive two-handed re­peated blues licks.

In this les­son we’ll be tack­ling a blues piece that uses noth­ing but tap­ping – not a pick in sight. Ob­vi­ously this is an extreme ex­am­ple of what you can do us­ing both hands in a fast blues style. We’ll be tap­ping runs and chords with ease, prov­ing that two hands can be bet­ter than one! The two-handed tap­ping tech­nique lends it­self per­fectly to play­ing arpeg­gios – the oth­er­wise tricky wide in­ter­vals fall naturally un­der the tap­ping fingers, open­ing up a world of new sonic pos­si­bil­i­ties.

Many gui­tarists can re­mem­ber the first time they heard Ste­vie Ray Vaughan’s blis­ter­ing piece Scut­tle But­tin’ – those light­ning fast open­ing runs set a new bench­mark among blues gui­tarists, and many of us prac­tised for hours un­til we could come close to mim­ick­ing them. But what would hap­pen if we de­cided to use two hands to achieve a sim­i­lar ef­fect? Surely us­ing two hands would be eas­ier than do­ing the same thing with just one, right? Why not share the work be­tween both hands? Ladies and Gentle­men, we give you “Scut­tle Tap­pin’”!

Paul Biela­tow­icz blows down to Texas for an SRV-type blues, two­hand tap­ping style!

Tap­ping has no bound­aries says Paul B as he pow­ers through a speedy Texas blues piece

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