Help I'm "Tapped" and I Can't Get Out #2
Welcome back!! In the last lesson we looked at combining two different pentatonic scales to create a tapping pattern. This time around we are going to look at the way I tend to practice developing the technique to create these type of lines. The process is really pretty basic and simple overall. So let's get started...
I like to view the guitar in segments of two string groups. I find this approach to be a benefit in simplifying the learning curve. I will give a great example of this at the end of this lesson. For now let's start with the first example. For all of the following examples I will be using the string group 3/4 (3rd string and 4th string). We will be exploring the E minor pentatonic scale for all examples as well.
Example #1 combines the first two box shapes of the E minor pentatonic scale. When looking at the FIG you should take note that the left had will play all of the notes in the box 1 shape (Blue dots) and that the right hand will tap the top two notes of the box two shape (red dotes). When tapping, try to use the index finger to tap the note on the 4th (D) string and the middle finger to tap the note on the 3rd (G) string. This technique does create an interesting situation as to where to keep your pick. This is when I like to throw the pick out to the audience...of course you do run the risk of that one person that will try to hand it back and say "Here dude, you dropped this"... (rock star dream instantly crushed)! But on a serious note, just tuck it away in your palm.
This process is identical for all of the remaining examples. By applying the same technique it allows your muscles to quickly develop memory coordination so that it becomes second nature just like any other lick you learn. Here are the diagrams for he remaining boxes on this string group.
FIG 2: Boxes 2/3
FIG 3: Boxes 3/4
FIG 4: Boxes 4/5
FIG 5: Boxes 5/1
Another great practice idea is to try switching your tapping fingers. Hold the pick with the thumb and index as normal and tap with fingers 3 and 4 and then with finger 4 and 5. This can prepare you for almost any situation. Also notice that all of the examples use 8th notes which displaces the rhythm of the notes since they are 3 note per string patterns. Tendency will be to play triplets or sextuplets because of the note groupings but trying to maintain a straight 8th or 16th notes subdivision can be a greater challenge.
So for the final example in this lesson I want to demonstrate why I focus on two string groups. The guitar is very symmetrical and most guitarist seem to learn best from a pattern system. That's just what we did in this lesson. Now that you know and can play these patterns they apply to all string sets in the exact same manner and fingering, regardless of key. With this knowledge it is easy to create a long sequence in multiple octaves almost without effort. Check out the final example where I will play a 3 octave sequence using the patterns from above for boxes 3/4 and 4/5. Notice the cool effect that is created by having a double note when moving up a pattern, yet the second note is tapped on the opposite string.
You can find a video example of FIG 6 at the following link:
As always, have fun and enjoy playing! Use a metronome or backing track to lock in your time. You'll find it very helpful especially while trying to work groups of four on a 3 note per string pattern.
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