By Paul “TFO” Allen
Many techniques that are often used for flashy soloing, like sweeping or tapping, are generally lumped in the “shredding” category. A shred solo is certainly not the only setting for those techniques, though. Tapping, for instance, is just one of many tools that can be used to construct or perform a piece of music. Tapping can also be very useful for reaching chord extensions that are impossible with a single fretting hand. With that in mind, let’s look at how tapping chord shapes one note at a time can yield a unique approach to melodic playing.
In both of these examples, you’ll notice that I have included fingerings below the tablature. The numbers denote left-hand fingers, and I have employed the traditional classical notation of i, m, and a for the notes that you’ll tap with the fingers on your right hand. In Ex. 1, the notes are all played one at a time and maintain a consistent sixteenthnote rhythm. The pattern begins by outlining a Bm9 chord shape. In Ex. 2, you’ll notice that the first and the fifth notes both use the 2nd finger on the left hand. I point this out because many players have a tendency to leave their 2nd finger firmly planted on the first note for the duration of the measure, instead of lifting the finger off of the first note so it can get into position to play the fifth note. To play these exercises fluently, you will need to pay close attention to the fingerings. Have fun!
Paul “TFO” Allen is a multi-instrumentalist who has worked with Big & Rich, Adele, Sebastian Bach, and many others. He also has his own project called Ten Finger Orchestra, and can be reached at tenfingerorchestra.com.