SHREDDED METAL

FIVE FINGER TAPPING!

So much has been done on the guitar over the years that it can be very difficult to create something new and different. The following is a tapping technique I came up with involving fretting notes with all five fingers of your right hand. Although this quite possibly could have been done before, I’ve personally never seen it.

EXERCISE 1

The idea for this arose from the fact that I also play piano. When you perform an arpeggio on keyboards, you usually start by playing the first note with your thumb. I thought it would be cool to try and simulate that on the guitar. This involves muting the strings with your left hand (to prevent unwanted string noise) and using over-the-neck tapping to fret notes with your right hand thumb and other four fingers.

I’ve used this technique to come up with arpeggios over a Im-VII-VI-V chord progression in E minor (Em-D-C-B). The basic idea is that you tap a note on the sixth string with your thumb, followed by tapping notes on the top three strings with your other fingers. Each arpeggio is repeated four times (three for the B major). You will need to bring the neck quite close to your body for this, and ample amounts of distortion will help. The end result is a legato-style arpeggio line that wouldn’t be possible if performed in any other way.

Although still tapping the notes of the chords, the first note you tap with your thumb won’t be the root note. If the bass (lowest) note is still a part of the triad, but not the root, it means the arpeggio is in a different inversion. The arpeggios here are all in first inversion, meaning the second note of the triad is the lowest. On guitar, inversions are written as ‘slash’ chords. For example, the first arpeggio here would be Em/G – you play the notes of an E minor chord (E G B), but the lowest note is G. The full arpeggio sequence will be Em/G-D/F#-C/E-B/D#.

Hear Exercise 1

EXERCISE 2

The second exercise remains basically the same as the first, only this time for every third arpeggio out of the four we add an extra tapped note with our right hand pinky finger. This is going to be quite difficult, and you can be forgiven if you don’t hit the exact fret every time! Adding in this extra note will change the overall arpeggio. Over the E minor you tap the 22nd fret (D) which will outline an Em7/G. For the D major, you tap the 20th fret (C) which spells out a D7/F# chord. You tap the 17th fret (A) over the C chord to create a C6/E arpeggio (since A is the sixth note of a C major scale). The B/D# arpeggio remains the same as the first exercise though. The sequence is resolved by moving your thumb from the 11th fret up to the E root note.

Hear Exercise 2

EXERCISE 3

Exercise three just involves joining these licks together to form the one fluid arpeggio progression. I’ve recorded it with a backing track so you can hear what it sounds like in a more musical context.

Hear Exercise 3

Since this is quite an unusual technique, here's a video of the full lick so you can see how it’s performed:

Even if this technical stuff isn’t your thing, more important is the idea that no matter what level of guitar you’re at, you should strive to be different and unique.

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