Using tapping in your arpeggio playing. 

Tapping is a technique that divides the waters among guitarists so to speak. On the one hand there’s the players who love the technique and on the other hand there’s the people who associate the technique with Van Halen and the 80’s glam/hair metal scene. While I personally love Van Halen and glam metal most people don’t and it has caused the technique to get a bit of a bad reputation as something that is ONLY applicable to this style of music. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality tapping is can be used in all styles and genres and its actually just a way for the player to reach notes, that would otherwise be unreachable. In this lesson I am going to show you some ways to combine tapping and arpeggios in creative ways.

The value you will get out of this lesson does not consists of the actual licks or the arpeggios that I will be showing, but in you understanding the principles behind the licks and arpeggios. I will be explaining everything as I go along, but its your job to use and implement it in you own playing.


Lets begin

Arpeggios can be found all over the fretboard, but today we will be focussing on arpeggios on one string. If you are not familiar with the concepts of one string arpeggios, you can se a major and a minor arpeggio in the neck diagrams below.

These arpeggios can be played out in different voicing as you will see in this lick. In fact you can move between major and minor arpeggios moving only one finger. For an example of this watch this movie:

Video 1

These arpeggios seen above can also be expanded with other notes than the root, third and fifth, to give the sound more flavour. All you have to know is the extended notes relationship to the root note. In the lick we will be tapping through a major 7th arpeggio ascending up on one string. The major 7th note can always be found one half-step (one fret) below the rootnote as explained in the video below.


Tapping through arpeggios in three octaves.

A really cool way to expand upon the arpeggio ideas is to tap through arpeggios in three octaves. This will expand the sound and this will definitely not make you sound like van halen. Take a look at the neck diagram below. Here you have a major arpeggio outlined in three octaves starting on the low E-sting. This is the easiest 3 octave arpeggio to play as you play exactly the same on the low and the high E-string. You can also start the arpeggio on the fifth string, but the lick will be a little more technically challenging as you will see in the video below.




Your assignment is to not only learn these licks, but use the idea’s behind the licks in your own playing. This means expanding, developing, altering and adapting them to different styles and and arpeggios. Only by doing this will you have going the value, that you need from this lesson.



About the author: Janus Buch is the founder of the Bredballe Guitarskole in Vejle. Here he trains coaches and mentors his guitar students to become great guitarist no matter where they start. If you are in Vejle and looking for the best Rock guitar lessons in Rock the Guitar Academy is the place to go.