2 handed tapping like Steve Vai part 2

Steve Vai’s tapping technique is quite fun, but can be difficult to execute. If you have not read the first article on Steve’s 2 handed tapping click here to review it. Steve Vai’s tapping style can be taken much more in-depth than just the top 3 strings. In this lesson I am going to show you how you can switch string like Steve Vai. You will still be using the shapes like we talked about in lesson 1. I will leave these shapes up to you to find. There are so many possibilities that you can come up with for the shapes.  This article is going to concentrate on becoming more advanced with your right hand. You will learn switching to lower strings and higher strings.

Before we discussed how you tap with your ring finger on the high E string and the middle finger on the B and G string played in a downward motion. This is the same concept that will be used in switching strings except you will have to alter tap. You will either add 1 extra tap or subtract one. However, you will be focusing on the 3 string pattern. This 3 string pattern is what gives you the sound of Steve Vai.

When you want to go down a string and use the B, G and D strings you will need to add 1 extra tap with your middle finger. You tap the high E string with your ring finger, and then tap the B G and D with your middle finger. After you have successfully switched strings you continue with the same tapping pattern as before with the ring finger on the B string instead of the E. You can use that add note to go down as many strings as you want to the E string.

When your goal is to switch to higher strings you need to use 1 less tap with your right hand. Let’s say we are playing on the B, G and D strings and you want to go back to the high E string. You tap with your ring finger on the B string and then middle finger on the G string. Now you tap your ring finger on the high E string and you have successfully switched back to the 3 highest strings. You can use these string switching techniques to run scales as well. Or you can stick to creating interesting sounding shapes to get the sound you want.

Steve Vai’s tapping is an interesting approach to 2 handed tapping that if you want to switch strings you need to add 1 extra tap with the right hand or take away 1. Doing this technique has a very cool, unique sound. It can be difficult to perfect, but once you do, the sky is your limit. Have fun tapping away!

2 handed tapping like Steve Vai

Steve vai has a unique style of guitar tapping. In this lesson you will learn an approach that Steve Vai uses to do 2 handed tapping. This is an advanced 2 handed tapping lesson, if you have not yet mastered the basics of 2 handed tapping, check out the link here. In this lesson you are going to learn the approach Steve Vai uses. Doing this you will learn how to use 2 fingers on your right hand to tap. You will also learn some of what he does with his left hand. Of course, this will not cover everything that Steve vai does when he taps, but this will provide you with a foundation of what he does. Let’s jump in to it.

Steve Vai uses 2 notes per string shapes with his left hand. He makes a box with his left and taps using this shape. There are many possibilities of box shapes that you could play. Steve Vai doesn’t stick to one of these shapes for a long time. You can hear that when he taps he isn’t repeating an idea. He is constantly moving through these shapes. If you want to learn to tap more like Steve Vai learn as many shapes as you can come up with. Learn them well though; you will progress faster if you learn a few things well rather than a bunch of things poorly. Here are a few example shapes he uses with his left hand.

2 handed tapping left hand boxes

There are 3 left hand boxes here. The blue box, the red box and the box with the “/”. Make your own shapes similar to these to use with this 2 handed tapping technique.

With his right hand Steve Vai uses 1 note per string shapes. Of course these shapes are constantly changing in Steve Vai’s playing as well. So come up with your own shapes for your right hand as well. Here are some example shapes Steve Vai uses for his right hand.

2 handed tapping right hand shapes

These are shapes you can use with the right hand to tap while 2 handed tapping. The purple note belongs to both shapes.

The hard part about the right hand is getting the correct tapping. This will be challenging with just 1 finger, so Steve uses 2 fingers. He uses the middle finger and the Ring finger. To be able to play like this you must pull your fingers downward. Use your ring finger on the high E string, and on the B string and G string use your middle finger. Switching string with this technique will be covered in a future blog post.

When you play these shapes you need to play them in the correct order. Tap first on the right hand, pull off to the note highest on the string, pull off and to the lower note on the string. You will be playing these shapes as if they are descending scales. You play the E string first, then B string, then G string in that order.

2 handed tapping like Steve Vai is a fun thing to do, but it can be tricky. He uses 2 fingers on his right hand and he uses shapes on his left hand. These shapes used by both hands are always changing; this is what gives his tapping that constantly flowing sound. Work on this slowly and get it clean and smooth. You will soon be sounding like Steve Vai. To continue to part 2 of this article click here. Discuss below!

For an example of the tapping technique taught above view this video below. Start the video at 6:00 and end it at 6:54.

Introduction to guitar tapping part 2

By now you know the very basics of guitar tapping. I suggest you read the introduction to guitar tapping before moving on to this lesson. This post continues on exactly where the first post left off. In this lesson you will learn how to move your hands during 2 handed tapping and incorporating more notes in your left hand. Let’s dive in and get to the meat of it.

You are now playing one note of each hand. The next step is to add a second note on your left hand. Also keep in mind that you should be considering what notes belong to that key while practicing. Just picking random notes isn’t going to sound good. How you incorporate a second note in the left hand is by adding a hammer on. So you tapping with your right hand pull off to the first finger of your left hand and hammer on the third finger of your left hand, complete this with another tap. I will give a tab example to show you what this looks like.

guitar tapping

A guitar tapping lick in the key of G. Tap on the 7th fret, pull off to your first (index) finger on the third fret and hammer on your ring finger on the 5th fret.

After you are comfortable with adding the second note to your left hand you can add a third note. All you need to do is hammer on with your new finger and you note have 3 notes in your left hand. Typically when you hammer on 3 notes they are stretched out. Experiment and see what you can come up with.

How can you improve your right hand? You can start to move it around on the neck. Say you start tapping on the 7th fret. Next time you tap you can tap then 8th fret. Then you can tap the 10th fret. Keep your tapping in the key signature for now, but you can move the note to any note in the key of G. One of the great things about this technique is that it lets you hit some very wide intervals easily. So don’t be afraid to move your fingers up the neck as far as you want.

guitar tapping with a moving right hand

The same guitar tapping lick except you are moving your tapping hand around.

Take your time going through this material. Learning a few things well can take you a longer distance than learning a lot poorly. Now that you have the basics down you can start jumping into more advanced tapping techniques. You can start moving your left hand, and switching strings. There is a whole world of guitar tapping available to those who want it. Practice hard, but most importantly enjoy it.

Introduction to guitar tapping

Undoubtedly you have come across guitar tapping before. It is a pretty well-known technique especially in rock music, and it is fun to learn and play. In this lesson you will learn the basics of guitar tapping. Don’t get too freaked out, it isn’t that hard. After this lesson you will understand the basics of guitar tapping, and with a little practice you should be able to start incorporating it into your own playing. When we consider guitar tapping, most people think of the right hand part. In actuality there are 2 equal parts in guitar tapping. There is the right hand and the left hand. I am going to first going to explain how to use the right hand, and then I will explain how to use the left hand.

The easiest part of guitar tapping is the right hand. All you are doing is hammering on and pulling off. For this lesson I am going to assume you are using a pick. All you need to do with your right hand is tap your middle finger down on a note. Do this a few times to see how hard you need to press to make the note sound. Don’t do it too hard, this will slow you down and possibly start to hurt. Just do it hard enough to make noise. When you are comfortable with this you can either pull off upward or downward. I suggest you do it downward, because this will allow for more advanced tapping later on. This is all your right hand does is tap on and pull off.

What is so important about your left hand while tapping? This is easy, it takes 2 to tango. Your left hand is in control of the notes you play when your right hand pulls off. At first for a beginner to two-handed tapping I suggest you play 1 note at a time on the left hand. So what you are basically doing is tap, note, tap, note. Later on you will advance this to more difficult techniques, but for starting out this will take you far.

Combining the 2 hands in 2 handed tapping is a matter of coordination. This is true no matter how advanced you get. Once you get your hands moving in harmony with each other, your tapping will start to flow. Another thing to mention about the 2 hands is that both of them can move. They don’t have to start on 1 note. However for a beginner the less you move both hands the easier it is to play. Keep that in mind.

The very basics of guitar tapping are not hard, and it can be fun to play. If you play rock guitar this is an important skill to know how to use. All your right hand does is tap on with the middle finger and pull off. I suggest you pull off downward. Once you get your 2 hands moving in harmony together it will start to sound fluid and better. If you want to continue to part 2 of this click here.