A Dorian Tapping Lick

learn this excellent tapping lick across the neck using the dorian mode

This week on ‘Learn a Lick’ we’re doing some two-handed tapping ideas in the A dorian mode. I say the ‘A dorian mode’, because that’s a scale that all of these notes happen to be in. What’s really happening is: I’m playing one shape that I’m moving across the strings.

So, in practice we’re tapping across each string on the 12th fret, and then hammering on from fret 5 to fret 7. So, we’re using the pattern ’12, 5, 7′ across the neck, and then ending with a divebomb on the low E string.

Here is the tab:

Tapping lick using shapes across the neck

Playing the Lick

This lick is actually easier to play than it sounds, and- once you’ve practised- will make you sound faster than you are. Two handed tapping is great for this! Take something simple like the three note pattern in this lick, and then use both hands to sound much more impressive!

For example, the first note in the lick- the 12th fret on the B string- is the same note as the 7th fret on the high E. This means that you could play the first part with alternate picking- but I bet you’ll never get it as fast!

Music isn’t always about speed, but sometimes it definitely helps…

The Pattern

As I explain in the video, this is just a three note pattern across the strings. Start by tapping a finger from your picking hand on the note at the 12th fret, B string. You have to tap it hard enough so that the note sounds.

Also, you shouldn’t be tapping directly onto the fret. This would cause more of a harmonic. The kind of tapping you need is more like a hammer-on coming from your other hand. Therefore you should be tapping just about where you would normally fret the note at the 12th fret.

Then, pull-off using the same finger that you just tapped with. You can use any finger you like to tap with. I prefer my first or second finger- the first having a bit more power, but the second is good for when you’re holding a pick!

When you pull off of the 12th fret, you should already be fretting the 5th fret on the B with your first finger. This is the next note. Then, you hammer-on with your third finger on the 7th fret of the B string.

This is the basic pattern that we’re going to take across each string. It’s a good idea just to start with this as an exercise, and try to speed it up. Make sure each note is sounding clear before moving up to the next speed!

Taking It Across the Strings

Once you’re happy with the basic pattern, try moving on to the next string. While a higher gain setting on your amp can help, you’ll really notice here if you’re not muting properly! Unwanted string noise is your enemy when playing things like this. Make sure you have your fretting hand muting the thinner strings, and your picking hand muting those thicker than what you’re playing.

Once you’ve successfully crossed to the next string in the pattern (without suffering from ‘guitar falling down stairs’ noises) just repeat the pattern.

This lick uses a fairly common and very straightforward tapping pattern. It shouldn’t take too long to get the hang of, with lots of practise! It’s the part where you change strings that’ll most likely trip you up.

The Dive-Bomb Ending

I end this lick with the classic dive-bomb technique. This is where you depress the whammy bar so that the note drops in pitch. You can read more about this (and similar) techniques in my whammy bar lesson.

The difficult part here is how to get from the tapping pattern on the A string, to the open low E. At first, both of your hands are busy- either tapping, or hammering on. So where can you go?

For this last part, I’ve altered the pattern. Instead of “12, 5, 7”, you play “12, 7, 5, 0”. This takes us down to the open A string. I then use my third finger to ‘flick’ the low E string before grabbing the whammy-bar.

You could play this note with a pick, but then it makes it a bit more difficult to go for the whammy-bar. It’s up to you.

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