Wondering how to implement two handed guitar tapping? Read our beginners guide to guitar tapping and start two hand tapping in (just over) 5 minutes.
The guitar tapping technique, and especially the two handed guitar tapping technique has been used by famous guitarists like Eddie van Halen, Randy Rhoads and many more incredible guitarists. It's a cool guitar trick, and once you get it right, can add some really great dynamics and interesting sounds to your playing.
The two handed guitar tapping technique looks harder than it actually is. This is a fun and showy technique that you can learn and throw into your solos to give them some Eddie Van Halen style flair.
We've teamed up with Leigh Fuge to show us a quick guide to easy guitar tapping technique. Watch the video and get tapping in 3 easy licks. But first a few FAQs.
Guitar Tapping FAQs
Is guitar tapping easy?
Guitar tapping is not hard to learn, it's just a little challenging to master. In a nutshell, guitar tapping is easy enough to get the basics down. However, making it sound good is entirely up to you and depends on how much you practice. Just like any other aspect of guitar, it's as easy as the amount of time you put into it.
Can you tap on an acoustic guitar?
Yes! you absolutely can tap on an acoustic guitar. It won't sound as loud as an electric, but if you hit a bit harder and ideally use an eletro acoustic plugged into an amplifier you can make some incredible sounds by tapping on an acoustic guitar!
How do you get good at tapping on guitar?
Practice! Watching the right lessons and following the tapping technique closely is the best way to get the basics. We recommend practcing for 20 mins a day, every day (where possible) as this will help you nail the guitar tapping technique. Again, it's up to you how fast you learn guitar tapping as you get out what you put in!
Watch our video guide to guitar tapping
Here's how you can start tapping on guitar:
Think of two hand tapping as an extended hammer on or pull off phrase, except you’re using both hands. It doesn’t have to be a big undertaking to learn this technique using the scale below.
All the tapping licks in this lesson are using notes from the A Minor Pentatonic scale above.
We recommend checking out the video on the PMTVUK Youtube channel (above) for some insight in how to get started with the technique before you dive into the licks.
Guitar Tapping Lesson Lick #1
This first guitar tapping lick is a great one to start with. With your picking hand, you are tapping the 12th fret of the B string. Before you do this, you should place your index finger on your fretting hand on the 5th fret ready.
Once you tap the 12th fret and lift that finger, you will notice it function as a pull off back to the 5th fret. Once you hear the 5th fret, with your fretting hand, hammer onto the 8th fret.
Count this as a triplet. 1 & a 2 & a 3 & a 4 & a.
Repeat this for all four beats in the bar. In the second bar, move your tapping finger up to the 13th fret.
Moving the Tapped Note
When you are tapping, you are using scale notes. This means you can use other notes in the scale too. You don’t have to stick to the form of the first lick. This phrase uses the same fretting hand notes on the 5th and 8th fret, but the tapped note is moved to the 10th fret from the second shape of the minor pentatonic.
You could also use the 15th fret which is from the fourth shape of the minor pentatonic.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even tap a different note from multiple minor pentatonic scales across each beat like this.
You’ll notice the fretting hand isn’t moving but the tapped note changes each time.
Guitar Tapping Lesson Lick #2
This lick uses the same principles as the first but this time, instead of the fretting hand doing a hammer on, it’s doing a pull off instead. The only change here is that you have to position both fingers on the fretting hand ready for the pull off.
So, after you move the tapped note, you hear the 8th fret, which you then pull off to the 5th.
Like before, you can also move the tapped note across multiple scale shapes:
Combining Guitar Tapping and Bending
A great technique to grab some attention and to spice up your rock licks is a bend with a tap on the end.
Bend the 7th fret of the G up a full step and tap the 12th fret. Apply lots of vibrato to really make it sing.
Then tap a further 3 more pentatonic notes on the 14th, 17th and 19th frets.
You can pick the note you bend with your plectrum and tap the higher note with your middle finger if that’s easier. Most rock players would probably approach it this way.
This fits into rock licks great. Take this simple lick pattern:
We could spice that up by throwing some tapped notes after the bend:
This will really make your rock licks stand out from the crowd. This two handed tapping technique is also a lot of fun to play!
About the author
Leigh Fuge is a professional guitar player and tutor from Swansea in South Wales and a guitar writer having written and produced content for Guitar Magazine and many other high profile guitar publications and websites.
If you enjoyed this article and video about two handed tapping on guitar, don’t forget to check out PMTVUK on Youtube for more guitar lesson videos.
Professional guidance can make all the difference to your development. Head over to mgrmusic.com and find a great teacher in your local area today. We have a great network of teachers around your local PMT stores including the ones in London, Nottingham and Portsmouth.