Chuck Schuldiner Project

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Back to the Basics: 5 Finger Tapping

So I have been looking at various tapping articles to improve my 8 finger and, though there's not a lot out there, the little out has helped. But it's also had me realize I don't have it down enough to teach it, so what I've decided to do is go back and teach how to do basic 5 and 6 finger tapping and 7 finger in a lesson or two. Without further adieu, onto the lesson!

5 Finger Tapping
One Finger on the Picking Hand

5 Finger tapping is an elusive woman, easy to see all around you but hard to get. You can see her everywhere from certain touchstyle artists, modern Jazz soloists, to metal and all the way around. There are a bunch of different techniques that people have to do this, but I'm going to look at the two most prominent ones, only one today, and the other the next lesson:

1) Middle finger (a la any sweep tapping variation in most metal/-core bands)
2) Pointer finger (a la Michael Romeo)

1) Middle Finger
This one itself isn't too complicated and I, personally, don't use it too often, but it's good to know considering it's used in basically any sweep tapping lick in existence. Another place you'll find them is in thrash or speed metal solos post-Halen (like Metallica's "One", which I'll show later).

As for the actual technique it's pretty simple but it takes awhile to really master it or do it without notes ringing out, but the basics of it are pretty easy. The hardest part is learning to mute with your right hand. I'm going to give you a quick tapping exercise that can be done at any tempo. The chords are going to be a basic Classical style progression: Dm - Bb - Edim - G - A - Dm (i - VI - iio - IV - V - i).

In this exercise all you have to do is tap the first note of every triplet sequence. I have it at 80 bpm just to hear what it sounds like, but you could easily get this up to a decent speed. The only hitch is that the last triplet of the first bar is a tap slide (that I forgot to add): tap the D (12), pull off to the F (3), tap the A (7) and slide to the Bb (8).

You could easily change keys by changing the string your playing on. I find that the lower strings tend to be slightly easier to to tap on just cause they're thicker and therefore take up more space and are easier to hit. They also have a warmer/thicker tone to them. At least on my guitar.

Once you get good at this you should try some sweep tapping. I'll give a couple examples and then I'll move on... it doesn't need to be too detailed as it's a pretty easy thing to pick up on:

There's quite a lot you can do with it once you begin to play around with it. It's pretty easy. Only problem you might run into is making sure you have properly muted all the strings you sweep once you start getting into the higher tempos. But the key I've found to making sure every note doesn't ring out is to start slow, and build up steadily. You could also use your picking arm forearm to help mute the strings, but if you're too rough with it you could run into problems with scraping against the strings and creating noise, but, again, that comes down to slowly practicing it.

I actually think this is enough for now, I can get into the finer, harder details at a later date. This will be good practice though. Just start slow and build up to whatever tempo you'd like! I'll have harder stuff next time.


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