How To Perform “Pick Tapping” For Electric Guitar
Are you tired of traditional two-hand tapping during your guitar solos? Would you like to learn a technique that is simple, easy to play, and sounds amazing?
If you answered, “Holy Cannoli, YES!” then you are in the right place.
I first discovered pick tapping while casually listening to every Joe Satriani album nonstop, all the time, for years on end. Here's how you do it:
Choose a note on one of the first three strings (unwound) for your fretting hand to hold.
Choose a note that is higher in pitch than the first note on the same string for your pick to tap.
With your fretting hand notes in place, turn your pick on its side, tense up your picking hand, and convulse your arm from your bicep and tricep through the forearm and your wrist as it violently attacks the string over and over.
Take a look at our first example, G Major Scale String 1. Your fretting hand will hold down the third fret, G (our root note), in place the entire time. You will tap-pick the note A on the fifth fret, then B on the seventh fret, etc., until you reach the octave at the 15th fret.
For G Major Scale String 2, we are going to do the exact same thing but with the fretting hand starting on the eighth fret, which is the same G pitch from the first string. Tap-pick A at the 10th fret, then B at the 12th fret, etc.
Finally, G Major Scale String 3 takes us down an octave to begin on the 12th fret of the third string. You will need 24 frets to successfully play this example. If you do not have that many frets, simply go as high as you can go. If you have 21 frets, go buy a guitar that has at least 22! Ok, just kidding (not really). While continuing to tap-pick on the 21st fret, bend the 10th fret that your fretting hand is holding up one whole step. This will simulate a tap-pick between the 23rd fret and the 12th fret. Then bend your 9th fret up one 1 1/2 steps to simulate a tap-pick between the 24th fret and the 12th fret. This will definitely require some practice, but the payoff is worth it!
About the Author: Eric Bourassa performs pick-tapping on the guitar way too frequently, especially when he's teaching guitar lessons at his Fort Worth guitar academy. His current obsession is getting guitar students to perfect their vibrato and bends before anything else.