Clean Chord Tapping

By using both hands on the neck you can play two parts at the same time. It's a great way to accompany yourself. You can play a bassline with your left hand by hammering on and play the chords and a melody with your right hand by tapping the notes. This way you can compose beautiful solo pieces with a clean electric guitar sound. Check out the tabulature below.


The left hand hammers the root and fifth of an Emajor-chord while the right hand taps an inversion of the same chord in the twelvth position. (Photo 1)


As with any exercise, start very slowly and build up speed gradually. You might also find you have to cut your fingernails because they get in the way of your tapping. To avoid noises between the nut and the tapped note you should tie a rag or a (clean) sock around the neck at the first fret. (Photo 2)


To get the best sound with this technique, it is important to tap on very accurately and hard enough. This way the volume of all notes will be even and you will have a good attack. It is also important to rest your right hand thumb on the side of the neck to have a "guideline"; this is more accurate than doing it free-hand.


Once you have Example 1 under your fingertips, try "Cool Wind In My Hair".

MP3 - "Cool Wind In My Hair"


This solo piece is from my first record "Keeping The Balance". I used the chord progression from one of my favorite songs "Hotel California" from the Eagles and outlined the chords:

Bm    F#7    A    Eadd9    G    D    Em     F#7

The double stops in measures five and six are played with the index and middle fingers. I support them with my thumb, so here we have an exception where you don't have to rest it on the side of the neck.


If this technique is new for you, do not practice too long at first. Give your right hand fingertips enough time to get used to their new task.

I wish you all the best for your musical progress. Please check out the soundclips of my solo CDs "Law Of The Jungle" and "Keeping The Balance" and visit my homepage Don't hesitate to contact me by e-mail with any questions or comments.

Martin Behr is a guitarist from Germany who has studied at M.G.I. (Munich's Guitar Institute), released two solo CDs, and stays busy with studio sessions.

His latest CD is entitled "Law Of The Jungle", which documents his command of many musical styles, his great technique, his tone and feel.

Martin Behr