The Two Handed Tapping Technique

Written by Rob in 'Techniques'

This week’s lesson is on two handed tapping, which is used by guitarists such as: Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen), Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne), Marty Friedman (Megadeth) or Steve Hackett (Genesis).

This technique can sound very impressive and fast when done correctly but really it’s nowhere near as difficult as it sounds!

How to Tap

This technique essentially requires you to hammer-on “from nowhere” with both hands, so it would be very useful if you’re already fairly good with fretting hand hammer-ons.

First, practise simply tapping a note with your picking hand. The same rules apply as for a hammer-on, but with the other hand: you should tap the string just behind (head-side) of the fret so that it reverberates off of the fret-wire.

Once you can get this to make a clear note try either pulling your finger into your hand (what I recommend), or flicking your finger away to pluck the string. This will then sound any note that you have fretting on the same string, but a lower fret (or the open string if you’re fretting none).

This technique can now be used in combination with fretting-hand legato techniques, a I demonstrate in the video.

Creating Chords

The very first shapes I suggest you try are the major and minor wide stretch with your fretting hand, but they will enable you to play along to chords.

Here is the major shape:

A –3–7–10–

This is a C major chord on the A string. The lowest note is the root note (a ‘C’), the next is the third, and the last is the fifth. This creates a C major chord, just along only one string.

If you want a C minor chord, just flatten the third (second note in our example). You’ll end up with this:

A –3–6–10–

If you remember the shapes along one string, you can move them to other frets or strings to create other major or minor chords.

For example, this now starts on a G note (3rd fret E string), and so creates a G major chord:

E –3–7–10–

Example Piece

For the example piece, I have taken this concept a little further. The fretting hand is hammering-on chord shapes, while the picking hand is tapping a melody to go along with it.

Also, I’m playing this without, but some people prefer to use a hairband or some kind of mute to stop random open strings from ringing out when doing this technique.

In case you’re interested, the chord progression is: Dm A7 Dm C F C Dm A7 Dm A7 Dm C F C Dm A7 D

two handed tapping guitar lesson

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