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!
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