Monday, April 22, 2013

Doctrine of Woodshed 9: Two Tapping Licks

"Chico's Instrumental 2" features two separate two handed tapping licks that I have been working on recently.  I'm going to spend the next two Doctrine of Woodshed segments discussing these licks.  First up is the four finger tapping lick that happens around 1:10 in the video.

Doing four finger tapping is a little different from the typical tapping a'la Eddie van Halen, especially moving between as many strings as this lick requires.  The biggest issues is muting.  With a lick all on one string, like the tapping lick in "Eruption," you can pretty easily mute any unwanted strings.  One of the most common ways is to position the index finger of your left hand such that it touches the strings on either side, preventing them from sounding when you flick your other fingers for pull-offs.

In the video for "Chico's Instrumental 2" I was essentially using a variation on this technique.  Every time I changed strings, I had to carefully position my index finger to mute the adjacent strings.  However, it took me several takes to get that lick right on the video, so I do not recommend this.  I have since changed my technique for this type of lick.

Now I lay my index finger of my left hand across all the strings and do the tapping with my middle and pinky fingers.  This eliminates the noise problem, but creates a new one.  Luckily, this one is easier to fix.

Your middle and pinky fingers will likely be a weaker fingers that are not as used to working together compared to your index and middle.  The simple solution is to practice doing exactly that.  Here is an etude I wrote to prepare you for the lick proper.

Once you can play this up to speed, then we have to take a look at the right hand.  Typical tapping licks involve one finger on the right hand.  But this lick requires two fingers, and thus some thought.  You could stash your pick in your palm or on a stand, freeing your index and middle fingers for the job.  But I don't like the idea of not having my pick at the ready.  It makes me feel like tapping licks must be separated form the rest of the solo, and I want to be able to immediately transition to and from tapping.

So I keep my pick between my thumb and index fingers and do the tapping with my middle and ringer fingers.  Again, these fingers won't be as used to doing this, so try playing the above etude with your right hand.

Then the only hurdle left is coordination between the hands.  You know the drill by now - break out a metronome, start slow and make sure the notes are even.  You you may find a tendency rush the notes on each string and then leave a gap to line up with the next beat.  Make sure every note is the same length.  I'll leave you with a video of me playing the lick now, using my current technique.

Next week we'll tackle the lick that follows it.  It's a fun lick that sounds a lot harder than it really is.

Doctrine of Ethos - EP - Doctrine of Ethos    

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