The lure of technique – tapping licks

I don’t know about you other guitar players, but I feel constantly compelled to work on my technique and to learn fast flashy stuff that will impress the pants (or knickers) off people. So while I should be diligently learning the Cycle of 5ths (and 4ths) or mapping out the arpeggios of G7 or analyzing the notes of the 7th mode of the ascending Melodic Minor (the Super Locrian/Altered Scale) against the root of the current chord in the name of trying to learn to be musical, instead, I get easily distracted by yet another article on How to Shred (even though I can already shred) or how to do some outlandish tapping exercise, an example of which I succumbed to this week.

You see, flippin’ Guitar Techniques magazine is too frickin’ awesome. And its contributors are too frickin’ awesome. I bought last month’s issue (“Acoustic Issue!”) because I had dusted off my Baby Taylor, grown my fingernails a little and wanted to get down some Beatles fingerpickin’ licks. Instead, I’m confronted by an article by the superb (and now clean shaven) Martin Goulding on doing two-handed tapping ala Nuno Bettencourt on He-Man Woman Hater (Pornograffiti).

Anyway, I spent about an hour with a metronome practicing these licks and aside from some muting flubs where I can’t get the 3rd string to stop ringing (or I mute it too hard and too early resulting in a muffled note) and by the end of the practice session was getting prettttyyy good at it. I cheated though and tied a cloth round the neck to stop notes ringing.

Anyway, here’s a C major 7 that I ended up practicing. I think the notes are right, but I’m away from my guitar right now. The key new technique for me is the left hand tapping, i.e. ‘hammering on from nowhere’ as we ascend to start up each string ringing.  Slurs are not indicated, but obviously, there’s no picking – it’s all hammers, taps and pulls.


Beatles licks have still not yet been attempted as Shredding trumps Beatles fingerpicky parts any day in my book.


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