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.