Paul Gilbert tapping masterclass

A guest video lesson on fret-tapping from the shred legend

Image 1 of 2 Paul Gilbert tapping masterclass
When it comes to fast tapping, it's more a case of co-ordination than speed as Gilbert explains
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To make your fret hand shifts easy, use your first finger to slide to the note you have just vacated. You should be able to see this from the side without looking away from your tapping finger. Also note that your fretting hand doesn't move as soon as you change shape - all it does is tap the same fret as the highest note in the previous shape.

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In this video lesson, Paul Gilbert shows you his approach to fret-tapping, the technique popularised by Eddie Van Halen during the 1980s. You'll need to already be able to tap before tackling Paul's lick here, so check out our guitar basics video lesson on tapping to brush up on your technique if your basic tapping needs work.

Paul prefers to use his index finger to tap, favouring an upward flick to produce the initial pull-off. Experiment with your index or middle finger, using either an upward or downward flick.

The first example below uses an upward and downward arpeggio in the same lick. The second example sees Paul introducing his unique 'Gilbertism' of tapping the 4th and 5th frets. This has an audible doubling effect on the B note and is something Paul uses to great effect in many of his fastest sounding solos.

When Paul breaks it down, you will see that this is mainly down to co-ordination rather than ridiculously fast fingers.

Paul uses exactly the same formula on each of the three-note shapes, so you should see the potential of using this idea on different strings and scales.

The final (tabbed) example takes this idea and applies pentatonic theory to make it sound more bluesy or rock based. Since the shapes are bigger there will be more movement between both hands, so start off by learning two or three shapes in the first instance, preferably at a slower speed.

Click here for full-sized tab. For more information on Paul visit the official Paul Gilbert website.

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